Student Blog: Being a Missionary Kid at SEU

Just two years before beginning college, my family moved back to the United States from Mexico, where my parents had been serving as missionaries since I was 11. When I started at Southeastern University, I still felt very out of place in the U.S. I was fully out of touch with “pop” culture and struggled to reconcile my love for my “home” and the nationality everyone assumed I was.

To be very honest, my first semester was overwhelming, in large part because I was unaccustomed to being surrounded by so many Americans. But in the semesters that followed, I found out that Southeastern University was the exact place God wanted me to be to grow and develop into who He has called me to be. Let me share a bit about how Southeastern University has helped me as a missionary kid (MK).

A community that cares

First of all, at SEU, students are encouraged to share their stories and listen to the stories of others. If you are an MK, you know that topics to which you can relate might rarely be brought up in general conversation, so if no one asks you specifically, no one will hear your story. At SEU, for the first time in my life, I had people asking me about my story, and I began to realize that I had a unique voice that needed to be heard. I also heard many other stories and discovered that, although drastically different, our stories are all needed to tell God’s story.

Missional mindsets

Secondly, at SEU, missions efforts are respected and valued. In the world around us, sometimes what our parents did (or do) does not garner any understanding, much less respect. It can be hard for MKs to really make people understand what their parents do and why. At SEU, people immediately understand what your parents do (or what you want to do), and you never must defend or explain the reason why. Every year, SEU devotes a full week to our Exposure event, which is a time to showcase missions and encourage students to get involved. I find it uplifting to know that my whole university values missions that much.

A place to call home

Thirdly, at SEU, you belong. I belong at Southeastern University, and that is the first place in the United States that I have ever belonged. I know that I am needed here, even though sometimes I feel very “weird.” As I have gotten plugged in, I have found out that what I have to offer is uniquely needed, and I earnestly believe that everyone’s gifts, talents and skills are specifically needed at SEU — and, in a broader sense, in the Body of Christ. Finding your place might take some effort at first (it did for me), but if you follow God’s leading, I believe you also will find out that you belong at SEU.

Authentic connections

Lastly, among the faculty and other students at SEU, hundreds have been or are the children of career missionaries, and through SEU’s Destinations missions program, hundreds of students get to go on mission trips every year. I have had the incredible opportunity of having lunch or coffee with several faculty members and friends who “get” me on a whole new level. There are some things that those who have been only on short-term trips will never really understand, but when chatting with other MKs who have faced the same struggles, difficulties and joys, I find both encouragement and healing.

If you are an MK considering SEU or an MK who is already here, I know that at SEU, you will find a place where your story is cherished, where your calling is valued, where you belong and where you are understood. I hope that you find out that Southeastern University is the exact place God wants you to be to grow and develop into who He has called you to be.

Abigail Roe

ESE 4+1 program, Class of 2017
Lead facilitator at the Academic Center for Enrichment
Member of SEU Honors Program