By Avonlea Brown
On the outside, they look ordinary, but on the inside, they feel detached. They float from group to group and try to find a place where they belong but never truly find it.
Bryn Golson used those words to describe her experience as a child of missionaries.
When she was ten years old, Golson’s family packed their things, sold their house and moved to Knysna, South Africa.
“My parents were so excited and that perspective of this being an adventure was infectious,” Golson said. “It was still hard, but it was made easier by the excitement.”
Her parents dreamed of going to the mission field, and when a generous sponsor opened the door, they didn’t hesitate to go. Golson’s father began working as a music teacher in the local schools and her mother taught adults computer skills. Through their teaching, they made connections to the local community and began sharing the gospel.
Golson and her siblings attended school in Knysna, where they began to adapt to the culture. After eight years in Africa, Golson decided to apply for colleges back in the States despite knowing she would struggle to find belonging.
“Part of being a missionary kid is you don’t fit in anywhere,” Golson said. “You were raised in America for a little bit, your parents are American, so you are raised to think American. But then you move to a different country and you are raised to be South African or wherever you are, and you stick out like a sore thumb. But then you come back to America and you’re not really American anymore.”
When she arrived at Cedarville University as a freshman History major, Golson expected to feel isolated from her peers. She participated in the international orientation program that takes place the week before Getting Started Weekend, and there she met the students of MuKappa.
MuKappa’s mission is to serve children with cross-cultural experiences and help them to readapt to life in America. They create events that serve to connect people and combat the isolating feeling many missionary kids go through.
Golson immediately got involved. She attended the dinners, on-campus events and gatherings with other MuKappa chapters in Ohio.
“I think as missionary kids, you will always be torn,” Golson said. “But there is rest and community and joy in MuKappa.”
One year later, now a sophomore, Golson is the Vice President of MuKappa. She works with a team of eight officers and representatives to create the welcoming environment that she loved so much as a freshman.
“The beauty of MuKappa is finding somewhere that you actually belong. You can easily connect with students that lived across the world from you because they lived such similar lives,” Golson said. “They feel the same things you do. You don’t have to describe it, they already know. There is suddenly a whole group of people like you. And to me, that was the coolest thing in the world.”
Avonlea Brown is a junior Broadcasting, Digital Media, and Journalism major from a small town in Maine. She is the co-editor of Campus News for Cedars Student News and currently working towards going abroad to study international journalism. She likes reading, travel, and learning new things.