Growing Up as a Missionary Kid by Katelyn

As you may have heard, I graduated in May of this year from the local high school here in Aguada, Puerto Rica.  That completes my 12-year melting pot of education: private Catholic school, homeschooling, and public school in Louisiana, Kenya and Puerto Rico, with an ever-present sprinkling of unschooling to supplement whatever I happen to be learning at any given time.

One of the most valuable things I learned during all those years in all those different places was how to be a good student.  Regardless of the circumstances, I always figured out how to get done whatever needed to get done.  Senior year, when it came time for the College Board Test, which is the Puerto Rican equivalent to the SAT, I put those skills to use.  I didn't think I wanted to go to college in Puerto Rico, but I figured I should try my best anyway.  After I got my results I met with the school counselor who laughed when I told her that I was planning to take a gap year to figure things out.  She said that I should apply to the Puerto Rican colleges just to see what would happen.  

This is an aerial view of my campus.
After doing a bit of research I discovered that one of the top universities here in PR has the best communications program and is Catholic.  I applied and was accepted within a month.  I had to declare my major before starting because there are concentration classes in the first semester.  I chose International Studies and Global Communication with a minor in Human Diversity and Oppression.  After graduating I hope to work as an Interpreter.  

Here's a shot of the house I'm renting. I get the whole
second floor, which gives me plenty of space for 
the roommates I hope to find soon. 

Recently, the decision was made that the rest of my family will be moving to Costa Rica to help with the mission there.  When people found out that I would be here in Puerto Rico all by myself they got worried, but there's no reason to worry!  I’m happy to report that I've found an apartment that is a ten minute walk from my university and I'll be allowed to keep my 3 dogs there with me: Rice, Beans, and Nala.  I'll be completely moved in by the time my family heads out and I'm sure that everything will be fine.  Why am I so sure that I'll be OK?  Let me explain... 

I'm really thankful that my parents have
always allowed me to live in the world, but
taught me how to not be "of the world".

Six years as a foreign missionary has made me the person that I am.  Being confident to live on my own in a foreign country comes from living in so many different places and feeling at home in each of them.  We've been in Puerto Rico since August 2020, which has been enough time for me to learn what I need to about this culture not only to survive, but to thrive.  I'm aware of the norms and unspoken rules that keep this place running smoothly, and I've been able to change my accent so that I sound like a local.  I've been working for the past 7 months as a  hostess, waitress, and most recently a bartender at a marina beach club near our home on the west side of the island.  When I found out that my family would be leaving I started looking for a job in San Juan, which it seems I may have found.  I'm grateful for the time I've had at the beach club resort because I've learned more about the restaurant industry than I could have ever hoped to learn in an entry level position. The owners said that if I ever want to go back that the doors will always be open.  I think that means I did a good job!  

Some other things that have prepared me for this next big step are money and time management, both of which I learned from my parents.  Before missions we used the Dave Ramsey envelope system, so I learned how to live on a budget from a very young age.  Time management has been a crucial element of my homeschooling career and is also essential in missions.  So, I guess you could say that I've had a lot of opportunities to learn basic life management skills.  The way I look at it is like this -  unless I figure out everything that I need to do, get a general idea of what it's going to take to get it done, and then schedule time to do it, it won't happen.  I am forever grateful for all the lessons my parents have taught me over the years about living a healthy lifestyle regardless of the situation or location. Things like exercising, eating healthy, praying and going to church, playing in the rain and singing will all be part of my life going forward because of them.

P.S. - I cut my hair again
I feel a little weird writing this summary because I can't imagine anyone really cares, but my mom assured me that our mission partners want to know that I've turned out alright.  As we've moved from place to place and experienced all different crazy situations, it seems like everyone has always been "worried about the kids".  Well, as one of those kids, I'm here to say that growing up in missions was amazing.  It's definitely very different than growing up in the States and there are things about it that are really, really hard - BUT I wouldn't trade it for anything!  

I’m thankful to every single person that has helped to make these last 6 years of missions possible for my family and me.  I'm also really grateful for all of your prayers because I know that they got us through the really hard moments.  I ask that you continue to pray for me and I promise to keep praying for you.       Love, Katelyn

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