In Ghana, where I (Grace) have lived as a missionary kid since 2015, my family is working with the Rafiki Foundation, a non-profit organization, helping Africans: “know God and raise their standard of living” in 10 of the poorest English-speaking countries in Africa.
As a missionary kid, I see and experience a lot of things an average American teen might not experience. Some things are difficult about being an MK, but I want to highlight some blessings from this past year.
I am very thankful that God has blessed me with another year of life. We take life for granted so much of the time, but since I have been in Ghana, the fragility of life has never been clearer. I have, in fact, been to more funerals in Ghana than in the U.S. Funeral announcements for men and women in their 20s and 30s are everywhere. Headlines proclaim: “Gone too Soon” or the heartbreaking “What a Shock.” So many young influencers of the next generation die too young here in Ghana. Life is fleeting, and it is not to be taken for granted. James 4:14 reminds us: “Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time, and then vanishes.” This is a reminder of how temporary life is. Thankfully, for God’s children, heaven is waiting.
This past year, as I entered 10th grade, I clearly began to realize what a blessing quality education is. Driving around Ghana, I see many schools packed and overflowing with students. Entering a classroom, I notice how small the desks are, how few school supplies and resources there are, and the overall atmosphere: dull and dark. Unfortunately, so many schools in Africa and around the world are like this, but organizations like Rafiki Foundation are working to change the “norm” in third world countries by providing excellent curriculum along with well-trained African teachers.
For me, being homeschooled in Ghana has been hard at times. I miss my community of other homeschoolers in the U.S. As an extrovert, I thrive on being around people. Through the online classes I take with Schole Academy and Veritas Scholars Academy, I have a growing sense of community of like-minded students. The discussions and knowledge I am gaining through these online classes are great. And activities like the writing for Schole Academy’s newspaper or the Peer-to-Peer Discussion Boards provide me with a feeling of community. I am thankful for my amazing online classes. I am also thankful my parents are providing me with the best education possible while in Ghana.
Bible teaching and doctrine is another thing I am extremely grateful for. It is sad to see Africa overrun with the health and wealth gospel; it’s everywhere in Ghana. Twisted teachings which claim to be Christian infiltrate churches across Ghana. Some church sermons and events in Ghana sport titles like: “Fresh Oil for Overflow” or “How to Survive the End of the World.” These provide attendees with temporary hope and joy. Indeed, we don’t need physical anointment, for we already spiritually anointed by Christ. And why would Christians need to learn how to survive the end of the world when Christ will surely come a take us all away? His chosen ones will most assuredly join Him in heaven. True faith in Christ is all we need, but many have convoluted a simple concept by requiring congregants to pay and work for God’s goodness. Christ only requires repentance. This is the beauty of the gospel. Many churches make it look so complicated, when it’s not.
“True Faith in Christ is all we need” –Grace NelsonTweet
At the Rafiki Village, Bible study is a part of every day. In fact, every student, orphan, employee, and missionary studies the same passage of Scripture every week. My parents and other wise adults have showed me the Scriptures and taught me theological truths. Sound Bible teaching is such a gift. I am blessed to know that I am a child of God. I wish everyone had such joy.
As an MK, life is full of surprises and difficulties, but there is always much to be thankful for. When I start thinking about how I wish I was with my friends in the U.S., I try to remember the blessing of experiencing a new culture and its people. Or when I want to still live in the U.S., I think about how God surely has a plan for me, and this is plan for me right now. All in all, being an MK is great and full of blessings, despite the difficulties.
Grace Nelson is a 15-year-old tenth grader. She lives in Ghana, West Africa with her mom, dad, brother, and guard dog Black Beauty. Her family has been working with a non-profit organization called Rafiki Foundation since 2015. In her free time, she enjoys thinking about her future, reading, and writing an occasional poem. Her favorite subject in school is Biology, and she aspires to study nursing in college.
Read more about the Nelsons work by clicking here.
Check out some cool pictures and articles on my brother’s blog (Africa Boy’s sister blog) by clicking here.