Rendezvous provides support for Nazarene missionary kids through R Plus
Rendezvous Plus, an event that supports missionary kids who are leaving or recently left the missions field to return to their passport country, took place in late July.
Held in Alaska this year, the Rendezvous ministry hosted 20 missionary kids (MKs) between 17-26 years old in order to equip and challenge the participants as they navigate life beyond the missions field in real-time.
“Missionary kids, just like their parents, invest fully in a culture,” said William Turner, MK resourcing coordinator for Global Missions. “As they develop and build strong bonds, they become embedded there.”
The Rendezvous Plus event specifically targets young adults because of the unique circumstances MKs face during their transition to adulthood, careers, and for some, college.
“They’ll run into the challenge of answering the question, ‘Where are you from?’” Turner said. “Chances are they’ve served a few places, so what defines home at that point?”
Event leaders use their time to help encourage, challenge, and equip the MKs in their re-entry transition, emphasizing their identity in Christ and healthy relationships.
Turner categorizes Rendezvous Plus as an equipping event. In addition to utilizing the StrengthFinder test to help MKs find their strong suits, leaders integrate activities that stretch the participants mentally and physically.
“When they experience that same stress later, as they’re in their transitions, they remember back to those things (that they learned),” Turner said.
The event also includes workshops to build skills the MKs may not have experienced on the missions field. From building resumes to holding mock job interviews, leaders want to equip the MKs for the societies they are entering.
Part of the event focused on grief as the MKs say goodbye to the cultures and the day-to-day norms they’ve experienced in the missions field.
“We also wanted them to remember that God is with them, their church is with them, and that there are people to help them too,” Turner said.
The Rendezvous ministry started when Global Missions Director Verne Ward and his wife, Natalie, were in lay ministry prior to entering the missions field themselves. During that time, they came across a young MK who was having a hard time during his transition back to life in the United States.
The Wards saw that he was trying to cope with the drastic change in culture while he was grieving the loss of his home community. As the Wards assisted him, God called them to work specifically with missionary kids in Papua New Guinea.
Over the years, they encountered more and more missionary kids who experienced similar struggles. The burden they felt eventually led to the creation of the Rendezvous ministry.
“The hope, healing, and space this event gave us was so needed,” said one Rendezvous Plus attendee.
“This Rendezvous has been such a huge blessing for my life and for the way that I view myself,” another said. “I feel so blessed to have met other MKs that understand what life is like on the missions field and [who] can relate to my story.”