It is often said that the church planters of the future are those who already know more than one language, have cross-cultural experience, and have a firm foundation in the Word – in other words, the children of missionaries.
Teachers and staff at Evangelical Christian Academy, located just outside of Madrid, equip their MK (missionary kid) students for this future missions work by encouraging them to take what they’ve learned in the classroom out into the world.
“MKs do have the privilege of knowing two languages and knowing different cultures, and so they make really good missionary potential,” said Marie Blanchard, a TEAM missionary and teacher at ECA. Many of ECA’s older students participate in short-term missions trip during school breaks, and they sometimes go to places not associated with their parents’ ministries. “It’s really important for missionary kids to feel like they can do something on their own, for them to feel like they can participate; that they themselves can serve, not just their parents,” said Blanchard, who is a TEAM MK herself.
In the summer of 2012, Blanchard and two other ECA chaperones took a group of 14 students to Moldova, one of the poorest countries in Eastern Europe. The students served for a week with Christian Mission International Aid, who provide practical help to needy people and share the Gospel message through various activities such as Bible clubs for kids. It was an eye-opening experience for the MKs to spend time with Christians in a different culture, where they witnessed how the local people persevere in the face of their impoverished circumstances.
Blanchard also took students to work with TEAM’s ministry in Albertville, France, where her parents Tom and Lucy Blanchard serve. The students made lots of good connections, especially with their host families, and many of them kept in touch with new friends via social media. Two ECA students made a second trip to Albertville over the summer. Olivia and Sophie volunteered at a children’s program at the language center, where they met Pierre*, a non-believer from a household where his mother is a Christian but his father is not. Pierre was impressed with how Olivia and Sophie lived out their Christian faith in their daily lives, and he started talking to his mom about the Bible. Pierre recently gave his life to Christ and now attends a discipleship class taught by Blanchard’s father. “It’s really exciting to see the connection and how these Spanish MKs can encourage French youth,” Blanchard said.
While serving at the language center, Sophie met some missionaries from Chad, Africa, who work in a hospital. Sophie is interested in pursuing a medical career, so the missionaries invited her to their hospital where she served for four weeks. Now Sophie is considering if working as a missionary in a medical setting is something the Lord is calling her to do long-term. “It’s the most exciting and rewarding thing,” Blanchard said, “to see MKs use what they learn and use their experiences as an MK to then go share Jesus and serve others around the world.”
-Written by Lisa H. Renninger
-Photos provided by Marie Blanchard, TEAM missionary in Spain
*not his real name