While visiting the country of her childhood, Claire Martin was captured by an idea she had long ago dismissed, an idea that now would not let her go.
Claire’s parents met while serving at the Chateau of Saint-Albain, France. They were married in the States but always planned to return to the country where they fell in love. In 1992, they traveled back to France as long-term Encompass Global Workers with nine-month-old Claire in tow.
Though Claire loved growing up in France, the quest for self-discovery was hard.
She did not fully relate to the culture of her parents and she did not fully identify with the culture in which she was living. It was a place of in-between; a culture of her own.
Claire anchored herself in the reality of this “third-culture”. She was a missionary kid (MK). This was how she wanted the world to see her. This was how she wanted to see herself.
After embracing this, Claire grew to fully appreciate it. She lived in a beautiful country, she was well-traveled, and she was able to speak two languages. Having found peace in who she was, Claire built her whole world around her identity as an MK.
Then, on Easter Sunday when she was 16 years old, her world collapsed.
The Martins gathered Claire and her younger siblings into the living room for an important announcement. They were going to leave France and move back to the United States.
Claire’s heart sank. She would rather go live in a jungle or in a place where Christians are persecuted for their faith than move to the U.S. She would go anywhere where her parents would still be missionaries. She was a Missionary Kid. If they moved to America, what would that make her?
When the Martins moved to Colorado Springs, Claire became immensely depressed and also angry with God. Though she still had faith, it was hard to trust God fully after he had ripped everything away from her.
It took three years before that trust returned.
In her college years, Claire began to accept that God’s plans were better than hers. She came to believe that there was a reason God pulled her out of an identity that was becoming idolatrous. She realized that her identity needed to be built up in Christ.
Feeling like she never got the chance to say goodbye to France, Claire and a friend flew to Europe before their last year of college. One of the stops they made was the Chateau of Saint-Albain where her parents first met.
While staying at the Chateau, Claire had the opportunity to help out a little. It all came so easily for her. She knew the people, the culture, and the language. The moment she realized how natural it was for her to serve, Claire had a thought she never imagined she would have.
I could work here.
Though Claire loved being an MK, she had vowed to never become a missionary when she was young. At that time, her idea of missionary work was limited to church planting because that’s what her parents did. That kind of work was not the least bit interesting to a little girl.
But now, she was seeing a new kind of way to do missions in the work of the Chateau.
Back in the States, Claire had a job that she liked and friends she enjoyed. So, she wrestled with the idea. But, in the end, she couldn’t escape the fact that God had been preparing her for this ministry her whole life.
You see, God prepared Claire, broke her self-made identity, and put her together again for this specific work. How could she say no?
By God’s grace and direction, Claire ended up serving at the Chateau in an administrative role for a few years following her college graduation. Currently, with a renewed vision for ministry, Claire is planning to return to the Chateau with a special focus on youth ministry outreach.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” –Eph 2:10