CBU’s missionaries in residence live in a house on the edge of campus. For the time they are here, they’re working to help students from missionary families adjust and feel welcomed at CBU. Last Friday they hosted the first MK (missionary kid) barbecue event of the year, and I attended. That’s one thing you don’t know about me–I am also a missionary kid.

Just a quick explanation: I grew up in Lima, Peru, where my parents still work training and sending Latino missionaries to countries all around the world. When I was 15, my oldest brother started college at Azusa Pacific University, which resulted in my family moving to California for at least his first year. Since my other brother and I were finishing high school soon, my parents decided to keep us here until we graduated and started university as well. Needless to say, the culture shock was, well, shocking. I don’t think there is a more opposite comparison to Lima as south Orange County. It was my difficult experience in high school, however, that pushes me to be active in the MK group here at CBU.

I’ve lived in California long enough now to understand the culture and feel comfortable, but I know the new students who arrived this year will experience the same confusion I did four years ago. That’s why I walked over to the missionary’s house last week with my other MK friend, Scott Teichert, to meet some new faces. I’d been to one last year, but there wasn’t much of a turnout.

This year did not disappoint. The living room was packed with MKs from Turkey, England, South East Asia, Kenya, and more places than I can remember. There must have been at least 20 of us there, a much larger group than before. Although we all came from different cultures, we all knew how the other felt living in the U.S. for the first time. There is this mutual understanding that MKs have for each other that really brings us together. It’s hard to explain, but it’s there. As a FOCUS leader, I already met some of the MK freshmen and can’t wait to be involved with this group through the year. CBU really does welcome and help international students, which is support I wish I had when we first moved to the U.S. Now I can be a part of that, too.