Thursday, July 06, 2006

My Testimony – Act I – Missionary Kid (the first 10 years of my life)

I've been asked to share my testimony. I avoid long posts mainly because I am an awful writer. I try to write sentences the way I speak - jumbled, long run-on sentences, and with tons of punctuation! This makes it very hard to read what I write - but very entertaining - or should I say annoying? - for all the true writers out there. But, this will be my weak attempt at it.

I was an ordinary child of God living in an extra-ordinary situation. My parents moved to Central America shortly after I was born. That never really amazed me until I had children of my own. I now see the immense sacrifice and step of faith they were willing to take for the sake of furthering the Gospel. They were in their early 20s when they headed to Costa Rica with a 3 year old daughter and their newborn daughter (me!). After a year in Costa Rica they moved to Nicaragua for a year and then on to El Salvador for eight years. I, obviously, don’t remember much of our stay in Costa Rica or Nicaragua but my time in El Salvador is the root of my first memories as a child.

When I think of my childhood, now as a mother, I’m speechless. My parents managed to live in the midst of a country’s civil war (BY CHOICE!!!) and not once make me feel unsafe or like it wasn’t the norm. At a time when missionaries were heading back to America my parents desired to stay and show the Salvadorans who their real Savior was.

So, when I say I was an ordinary child – I truly feel like I had the normal experiences of most children. I played with Barbies, Atari, went to the movies (The Gods Must Be Crazy for some odd reason was one of my childhood favorites -although I can remember watching Star Wars when it first came out in E.S.), swimming, and all that other childhood fun. I also had the ‘normal’ experiences of children who live in El Salvador, making fun out of catching rats, fireworks at Christmas/New Years like you wouldn’t believe, buying food and snacks from street vendors, weekends at the beach, and so on. These are my stories that people find awfully entertaining.

I also have memories of the extra-ordinary situation I was in. I have memories of bombs shaking our house, bullets whizzing overhead (a few actually making it into the house or our car), earthquakes, and the not-so-fun-to-talk-about spiritual warfare. These are the stories that fascinate people, and sometimes shock them.

Hmm…I wonder if some of those stories could be individual posts? Aha! I’ve been inspired. Check back, I’ll think about that a bit more and let you know what I come up with. I’ve sidetracked…

I remember the night my parents sat us down and gave us the news that we were moving to Kansas City, we all cried. We moved back to the USA in 1984 when I was ten. It was culture shock for me. All I had known was El Salvador and to “return” was very overwhelming. It took several years before I felt comfortable in this country. I struggled with thinking in English, I remember one day walking into school with a friend and I just started talking, when I noticed she was giving me a strange look I paused and then I realized I had been telling my story in Spanish. As an adult I probably could have laughed it off, as an insecure child – it was humiliating. My clothes were different, my accent was different, my mannerisms were different, and I felt awkward. I went to the extreme of wanting to rip everything in my past away just so I could fit in. I refused to speak Spanish anymore with my parents, and I tried not to talk about my past. I thank God for my mother’s prayers, they protected far more than I can imagine. She prayed for me to gain friends, adjust and even prayed that I wouldn’t loose my Spanish – for which I am very thankful because that skill has afforded me many wonderful opportunities!

This, in a nut-shell, was my childhood as an MK.

Like I said, I'm not an eloquent writer - I'm a performer. Hmmm, maybe I should start a vlog instead??? (That's a video log for those of you scratching your head). Okay - so I have two great ideas from the post...hmmm?...stay tuned.

Name: Rebekah
Home: Kansas, United States
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