Re-entry is Hard, Yet Worth Every Moment
A little over a week ago I was asked about how I handle re-entry after a mission trip.
I just returned from my latest mission, and I think I have an answer.
Re-entry is hard; I am not going to lie. I think almost anyone that has gone to serve in another country and allowed their hearts to be broken would agree.
It is not hard because of what you left behind in the country you helped, so much as what you are reintroduced to at home.
For me, it is the self-absorbed, technology driven, ‘all-about-me’ mentality that hurts upon re-entry.
When you spend time loving on people that simply want to be loved. People that accept you for who you are. Who welcome you with open arms like family. It is leaving them and coming back to the ‘real world’ that is hard.
I think God chooses people to go on mission trips for varied reasons. Everyone is different on the way they are impacted. If you allow the scales to fall from your eyes to see what God has in store for you. It is when you allow Him to soften your heart that you too will be forever changed and find re-entry just as hard.
Here are some ways I have found that help me cope with re-entry.
- Understanding that they don’t understand – As soon as you get home, you will get bombarded with questions from family and friends. Some want to know how your trip was, others well want the simple answer, not the details.
- Just because you are changed – Returning from a mission trip, your senses can be a bit heightened. Simple things that you took for granted no longer matter. However, the people you are surrounded by are still absorbed in the same things they were when you left. When they throw away enough leftovers that could feed a village, try not to yell at them about all the babies that are hungry.
- Take time to adjust – Every mission trip I have been on (so far three) as soon as I get back I return to work the next day. Previously this was okay, my latest trip, however, I should have taken an extra day. It takes time to adjust to the lack of sleep, changes in diet and the things you have seen. Submerging yourself right back into the hustle of life is not advised.
- Music or other white noise – Generally speaking, missions are noisy. There usually are a significant number of people, sounds, and it overwhelms the senses. If I did not have my Skullcandy Hesh 2 Bluetooth Wireless Headphones at work, I might throat punch someone. Not really but hearing all the petty conversations makes coming back painful.
- Alone time to reflect – My prayer life and my time of self-reflection have increased significantly since going on a mission. Upon re-entry, I spend a significant amount of time reflecting on the experiences I was a part of on the mission. I also tend to pray more, not only for the people who I served but also for the people who never have served.
These obviously are just a few of the many ways that you can cope with the re-entry process after a mission trip. Like I said the re-entry is hard, but I would not change any part of the things I have seen, the people I have met or God’s beautiful glory in the shape of serving in the mission field for any of it.
If you would like to learn more about mission trips or perhaps have one coordinated for your church, school or other organization contact theVine.co or another mission nonprofit in your local area.
About Charles Johnston
Charles is a Christian, husband and father of fur-kids who shares his walk with others in hopes to help other's along the way.