I just read an update from John and Susan Edwards, who run a program for missionary interns in Japan.
“This weekend, we had a group Skype chat with our Summer 2018 interns,” they said. “Each of them are struggling a bit with reverse culture shock and with finding God’s next steps for them.”
And that is TOTALLY normal.
You get back from your short-term mission trip full of stories. People are interested. You tell the stories. You feel like maybe something significant has happened – but then regular life kicks back in. You’re back to juggling work and school and church and friends and family.
Now it’s been a few weeks, maybe even a few months. Your days look much like they did before your short-term trip, but you have this niggling feeling that you aren’t quite the same.
May I make a suggestion? You need to talk to someone about your trip. Not the someones who just want to hear about the crazy food and the funny story about your language bloopers. Not someone who has five minutes to listen. Someone who can sit down with you and help you process your experience, even if it takes some time.
Someone who can help you formulate a plan for continuing to seek God’s will for your future.
Someone who will stick with you in the coming months, who will keep asking questions and following up with you. This is not a one-and-done type of conversation; rather, it’s an ongoing process of figuring out how God wants to use your short-term mission experience to change you and to direct your steps forward.
These post-trip conversations are so important that the Standards of Excellence in Short-Term Mission includes “comprehensive debriefing” among its best practices.
Here are just a few questions to get you started. Click here to download a free PDF of these and other thought-provoking post-trip questions.
- What do you remember most about the people you served?
- Tell me about one thing for which you were most thankful to God.
- What was the hardest part for you? The most disappointing?
- Tell me the most important thing you learned about God and His character.
- What did God show you about yourself?
If you went on a short-term mission trip this summer, it’s not too late to look back, look forward, and take the next steps God has for you.
A JOURNAL JUST FOR SHORT-TERM TRIPS
If you’re planning a short-term trip, we have a great resource for you! The GOJOURNAL, a travel journal specifically designed for short-term mission trips, will help you process your experience before, during and after your trip. It includes a section dedicated to debriefing, with helpful articles, thoughtful questions and plenty of space to journal your responses. Click here to get your GOJOURNAL!
WANT TO GO?
If you love Jesus and want to explore what serving overseas would be like, check out SEND International’s internships! Through our internships, you can be mentored, experience another culture and participate in hands-on ministry.