by Klint and Sarah Fiechter
If you read “missionary care” books you’ll inevitably come across the term “Re-entry”. Re-entry is the action or process of re-entering something. In our missionary’s case, it is their home culture. Missionaries re-enter their home culture for various reasons.
On the surface this seems like a heart-warming event. Home is normally where traditions, love, trust, safety & peace exist.
Doesn’t every Missionary long to “come home”?
In actuality, this is not normally the case. Missionaries’ experiences on the field are completely life-changing. They leave the field a different person and in turn, do not view their home culture through the same lens. This reality can be a very difficult and overwhelming to process.
After all, they may have experienced or seen…
…women sell their bodies on the street in effort to feed their children
…serious conflicts with fellow missionaries
…altering differences with their sending organization
…hard cultural adjustments for their own children
…contracting a foreign illness that is not recoverable
…conflict with foreign governments
…feelings of failure because they didn’t “finish” what they came to do.
The difficulty of re-entry is often (innocently) misunderstood and can be handled poorly by people in the home culture. This only adds difficulty to the Missionary’s overwhelming re-entry process. Many times the Missionary feels isolated and alone.
Re-entry is hard.
How can we as “Senders” support our Missionaries in their Re-entry process?
Stay tuned for Part 2 🙂