Missionary Kids

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Missionary Kids (or MKs) are the children of Western (mainly American) parents but were born and raised abroad (that is on the "mission field"). They are a subgroup of Third Culture Kids (TCKs). Some of the issues associated with Missionary Kids are common among second generation members of The Family International.

Generally, this term applies to fundamentalist Christians, however, it can be applied to any denomination of a religion.

The term is more specifically applied when these children return to their "home" country (the country of their citizenship) and often experience numerous problems identifying with fellow citizens. They often identify more with where they were raised (and this could be multiple cities, countries, or continents).

These children tend to be open-minded and tolerant of many diverse cultures. They often feel more at home in culturally rich environments and can be "homesick" for their foreign home. Their knowledge of a country and its culture exceeds language fluency. In many cases, these children know more about a particular country, its history, geography, politics, etc. than the nationals of that country. Upon returning to their home country, these children (or adults) will possess unique skills that can be helpful to academics and governments. However, some studies have shown that these governments rarely use this resource.

Some statistics put the attrition rate (those who fall away from the faith of their missionary parents) as high as 70-80%.

Related terms

  • Third Culture Kids (TCKs)
  • Foreign Service Dependents
  • Military brats
  • Global Nomads
  • Hidden Immigrants
  • Transnationals
  • Transculturals
  • Internationally Mobile Children


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  • Matthiessen, Peter (1991). At Play in the Fields of the Lord, Vintage. ISBN 0-6797-3741-3.
  • Godshalk, CS (1999). Kalimantaan, Owl Publishing Company. ISBN 0-8050-5534-7.
  • Pollock DC and Van Reken R (2001). Third Culture Kids. Nicholas Brealey Publishing/Intercultural Press. Yarmouth, Maine. ISBN 1-85788-295-4.
  • Parker E and Rumrill-Teece K (2001). Here Today There Tomorrow. Foreign Service Youth Foundation, Wash. D.C. ISBN 0-9658538-3-7.
  • Hess DJ (1994). The Whole World Guide to Culture Learning. Intercultural Press, Yarmouth, ME.
  • Kalb R and Welch P (1992). Moving Your Family Overseas. Intercultural Press, Yarmouth, ME.
  • Kohls RL (1996). Survival Kit for Overseas Living. Intercultural Press, Yarmouth, ME.
  • Pascoe R (1993). Culture Shock: Successful Living Abroad. Graphic Arts, Portland, OR.
  • Shames GW (1997). Transcultural Odysseys: The Evolving Global Consciousness. Intercultural Press, Yarmouth, ME.
  • Storti C (1997). The Art of Coming Home. Intercultural Press, Yarmouth, ME.

External links