August - Debriefing

August 2004

"Man it feels great to be really out there, really living on the brink," you think as you board the 13-hour flight that will take you back to the states. Back to normal. Back to Starbucks and Sports Center. Back to cars driving on the right side of the road. What am I saying…back to roads! But will it really be "normal" ever again? In the past two months overseas you've shared the gospel with people whose faces you won't forget. You've experienced the reality and darkness that half the world lives in without Christ. You've lived on the brink of eternity in a way you never pictured and you don't want to go back to just normal ever again.

If you're returning home after a short-term mission trip or know someone who is, then you understand some of these feelings. The transition back into American culture from another can be a time full of heartache and even depression. It can also be a time of deep fellowship with God, refinement and life change. Here's a few ways you can grow as a World Christian if your experiencing this transition or know someone who is.

  • Keep the trip alive: Share your trip with friends, family and others who supported you as you went. Share stories of your trip with a Sunday school class. Take the time to think through your experience, organize the pictures and tell others about what God did. If you know someone who went overseas, make a point of asking about their trip and really listening to them describe their experience.
  • Don't Check it Off: There is a sad trend among Christians when it comes to short-term mission trips. Been there, done that. Missions is swept aside as another part of the "Christian experience" instead of central to God's purpose and plan for His Church. Don't let this happen to you. Start seeing your short-term trip as a bigger picture of what God is doing and direct your life towards this bigger picture. Let your mission experience filter into every aspect of your life. As you pray, as you read the Bible, while you watch the news, while you make future plans. Become global in your thinking and see your trip as part of the continuous journey that God has placed you on and not an isolated event in your life.
  • Find People Here: Chances are in your area there are Internationals from the country of your trip living in your city. Seek out relationships with these people and bring the trip home in a very real way! If your friend is struggling through the transition, go together to where people from other cultures hang out. Pursue Christ-like friendships with internationals together. Help your friend see that 2 months spent loving college students from Nigeria during the summer, should actually be a 12-month event.

Coming home can be tough. Living on the Brink may not always be easy, but it's always an adventure. For more info about the transition back home check out this link: Debriefing Your Missions Trip

by Felicity Smith