A Retreat in the Woods

A Retreat in the Woods

Delicious international food, bonfires, games, “Chai Chat,” devotions, worship…these were sweet scenes of fellowship between 11 young adult missionary kids and four leaders (who also grew up as missionary kids), all enjoyed while nestled in the woods of Kentucky. 

Over Easter weekend, Mary Beth Bagley, missionary kid care specialist, led an Easter retreat for Global Partners (GP) adult missionary kids (MKs) to provide a unique opportunity for intentional connection and encouragement. 

As MKs enter adulthood, many will head to North America – either to attend college or begin working. While early adulthood feels pretty challenging to most, it’s potentially even more challenging to those who have spent their formative years in a different culture and are grieving the life and friends they left behind. 

In fact, Mary Beth said surveys of adult MKs have consistently found that this particular season is often rated as the most difficult of all their life experiences. 

“And, while many MKs push through and overcome these challenges exceptionally well, many others struggle deeply and may even walk away from a faith in God,” Mary Beth said. 

Her hope and prayer is that she would be able to help provide the support and mentorship adult MKs need in order to grow and thrive through whatever may arise, and live as the unique and incredible adults God created them to be. 

With a total of 25 GP young adult MKs (ages 18- 22) this year, opportunities for connection through retreats seem especially important and exciting. 

During this particular Easter retreat, Mary Beth said it was a joy to watch the MKs connect or reconnect with one another, as they shared life updates and many laughs. Most of them already had deep friendships with each other from previous mission events, but they don’t have the opportunity to connect in person very often. 

She added that each MK seemed to truly appreciate the balance of both the more serious discussion times, as well as the flexible free time options. While each devotion and discussion were impactful, Mary Beth said she felt especially encouraged on the final night around the bonfire, as the group openly shared how God has been and continues to be at work in their unique life journeys. 

“While each is at a different stage of discerning God’s will for their life, I was blessed to hear how many of them are already allowing Him to use both their great joys and great challenges for His glory in this current season,” she said. “They are truly an incredible group of young adults with a deep passion to serve wherever the Lord leads!” 

Other than occasional MK community events, Mary Beth also offers support to adult MKs through annual visits to their colleges, regular connections via text, opportunities to share and process their life experiences over coffee or a meal, connecting them with practical resources when needed (like a ride to the airport) and sending encouraging packages and cards. 

But most importantly, she also regularly prays for each MK by name, lifting up any concerns that have entrusted her with. “In this, it has been encouraging to see how God has answered in significant ways,” Mary Beth said.