You did it! You raised the money and went overseas, where you served and sweat and poured yourself out. Now you’re heading home. In the missions world we call this “re-entry” – and it’s not always easy! After going non-stop for days, getting home can feel a bit like the sudden, screeching halt of a roller coaster.
Want to ace the landing? Here are eight tips from our frequent fliers on making the transition well.
Getting home from a mission trip can feel like the sudden, screeching halt of a roller coaster.
You’re probably exhausted, and you need to catch up on some sleep.
But don’t confuse “resting” with “endless, mindless vegging out.” Reconnect with others – especially your family, your church, and those who supported you financially on your trip.
Most importantly, take time to connect with the Lord. Real rest comes from him.
Do you want to continue in the personal growth you saw on your mission trip? Do you want your compassion for others to remain strong? Maybe God challenged you to surrender something to him, and you want to resist the temptation to return to it now that you’re home.
Here’s the truth: you can’t.
What we mean is, you need help!
- You need God’s help to maintain – and move forward in – the good work he’s been doing in you.
- You also need the help of others – so share with someone you trust, a mature Christian who will be honest with you, and ask them for prayer and accountability.
And if God has called you to make a change in your life, don’t wait; act on it right away!
Don’t think you’ll be able to maintain the good work God has done without his help.
Do Your Laundry
And we mean do your own laundry, even if you’re accustomed to having someone else do it for you. While we’re at it, make your own sandwiches, wash your own dishes – maybe even wash someone else’s!
Our point? You may have learned a thing or two about serving while you were on your mission trip. Why should it stop now that you’re home? Continue to walk out what God has been challenging you to.
Tell ONE Story
Even if you were only gone a week, a whole lot happened in that week. So it’s hard to know how to respond when someone asks, “How was your trip?”
It’s helpful to have a story in mind already – something that honors God and sums up the experience. Keep these pointers in mind:
- Short and sweet is best.
- Less is more, so skip unnecessary details.
- Make it about what God did, not what you did.
When someone asks about your mission trip, tell them one story. Then ask them how they’re doing. If they want to know more about your trip, they’ll ask.
You Don’t Know Everything
We all know better than to say that we know everything. But sometimes the way we talk when we return from a mission trip makes it sound like that’s exactly what we think! No matter how much you fell in love with the country you visited, ten days (or even ten months!) is not enough to make you an expert on a rich culture with a long and nuanced history.
You saw a lot, learned a lot, and were used by God. Still, you’ve only caught a glimpse of what missions can look like. When you share, be sure to share as one who is still learning.
Mission trips change your perspective. Be grateful for what God has taught you, but be on guard against the temptation to judge people back home. Just because they didn’t experience what you experienced doesn’t mean that they’re materialistic or hard-hearted or apathetic Christians. A mission trip should make us more humble and open to learn from others, not less.
A mission trip should make us more humble, not less.
Make It About Jesus
That’s the point, right? As you report back, make sure that the main character in the story you’re telling is not yourself, not someone you ministered to, not even the need you’ve seen.
The main character is always Jesus.
Remember Who You Are
None of us got saved because God was so impressed by our acts of service and good work that he couldn’t wait to get us on his team. In fact, the Bible is pretty clear that not one of us is good enough on our own. We were saved because of his grace – period.
It’s tempting to think that doing something like a mission trip can score us points with God. We need to remember that his love for us is both massive and unconditional.
God’s love for us is massive and unconditional.
Breathe a big sigh of relief. God didn’t like you better on your mission trip. He doesn’t like you less now that you’re home.