ArticleMissionary Life

A Missionary Kid Comes Full Circle

Growing up as an MK, Joel never envisioned himself becoming full-time missionary—but God had other plans.
God used a whale to draw Jonah closer to him. Joel used whales to run away from God.

Joel’s parents have served with ABWE for nearly 30 years in Europe, where he grew up. Even though he wouldn’t trade his experience overseas, Joel learned firsthand the struggles that MKs experience living on the field.

For three years during and after college, Joel served on the MK Care Team at Cru’s headquarters, leading missions trips, conferences, and debriefs for MKs all over the world. When presented with an offer to work at SeaWorld Orlando, Joel jumped on the opportunity to help marine mammals and their caretakers. After four years, that childhood dream dwindled, and Joel was faced with the options of pursuing a career that made good money or stepping back into ministry.

Joel chose money—a life of financial stability and success. He worked in project implementation and management for technology groups for the next five years. In time, Joel again grew dissatisfied with his career and wandered to a different one. However, he discovered that the toxicity in the workplace was leading him to an unhealthy lifestyle. Physically exhausted, spiritually depleted, and mentally unwell, Joel left the workforce.

As Joel began to wonder about his next steps, the Lord kept bringing MK Care to his mind.

Until then, Joel’s excuse for not returning to ministry was seeing family members and his best friend being mistreated by others in various ministry positions. During the summer of 2019, he was challenged by his parents and a Cru staff member to consider serving in MK Care again.

“For about three weeks, I prayed and fasted over the choice,” Joel said.

Ultimately, in October 2019, Joel joined ABWE’s MK Ministries, coming full circle as a former MK himself. There, he is using his career experiences as a project manager and skills that were cultivated at Cru to create new standards and strategies to reach and engage MKs within the organization.


Learn more about Joel’s ministry here.

Could this be you? Take a step towards missions.

About the Author

Loren Skinker serves as a communication specialist with ABWE and managing editor for Message Magazine. He graduated from Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in communications and English.

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