When I was about four years old my dad went on a mission’s trip to Tanzania. Upon returning from that trip, and after discussing it with my mom of course, my daddy announced, “Guys, Your mom and I have been praying about this and we are moving to Africa!” He then filled my brother and me in on all the details of how we would soon be moving to Madagascar.
My Dad said that in Africa we would have: guards, a wall around our house, and maybe even lemurs. The gears in my head began to turn as I imagined what this could mean. Guards? The only guards I knew of were the ones that guarded the queen of England. Those Buckingham Palace guards, that dressed in red coats with big furry hats. Our house would have walls he had said? Maybe we would live in a hut inside a conservatory like the one at butterfly enclosures. Lemurs are like monkeys aren’t they? So that’s what my life would be? My family would be living in a hut in a conservatory with monkeys, and Buckingham Palace guards. What better adventure could there be?
Though the dreams I had of my future were a bit out of perspective, my actual life was filled with plenty of adventure. God has given me an abundance of opportunities to spread his glory as well as witness it. I’ve spent the last 10 years of my life in Madagascar and I wouldn’t change that for the world.
Leading a double life is often associated with the idea of spy life, civilian by day, spy by night. Though I am not a spy, the life I live is most certainly double. That is the way of it in the life of a missionary kid as well as the life of a boarding school student.
I began my double life when I first left America. I began to live a new sort of life that was entirely different than the one I’d come to know back in the U.S. However, I soon became flexible enough to jump back and forth between these two lives. When in America do as the Americans do. When in Madagascar, I do as the Vazaha do (Vazaha is the Malagasy word for foreigner pronounced VAH-ZAH). In America, I had blood relatives and ate “American” food, which in my mind consisted of fast food, Grandma’s cooking, and Reese’s peanut butter cups. In Madagascar, I had lots of missionary aunts, uncles, and cousins and ate “Malagasy food” which included rice and some sort of sauce. I became comfortable switching between my lives.
My second double life started at age 15 when I became a boarding student at Rift Valley Academy in Kenya. Once again I created a new life for myself, one in which 9 months of my year would be spent in Kenya. There I was a student at an American school, and 3 times a year, at term breaks, I would spend a month with my parents back at home in Madagascar. This was a pretty simple transition for me. At school I was Becca, the girl from Madagascar who likes Doctor Who and whistling. In Madagascar, I was the missionary’s daughter who smiled and politely shook everybody’s hand at church. It wasn’t long before I discovered my niche and was just as comfortable with this new double life as I was with the last.
However, it is time for me to leave all these double lives behind now to begin an entirely new one, the life of an American college student. This could prove to be one of the most interesting adventures of all.
This August, I will begin my new life in Springfield, Missouri at Evangel University. Though I will be leaving my big red island home in Madagascar, I trust that God is in control. The ISMK (International Society of Missionary Kids) symbol is a chameleon because they can change their colors to adapt to their environment. I believe that with God’s help that is exactly what I’ll do once again this summer. I will adapt again, because “This is it!” Now this week, my family and I are back in America once again and I can’t wait to see what God has in store in this new adventure.