by Klint & Sarah Fiechter
How can we practically help our Missionaries who are trying to assimilate back into the American culture (the process known as Re-Entry)?
Relationship is key. If you already have an existing relationship with the Missionary, then you are ideal to be that “safe place”.
By understanding your missionary most likely experienced some form of trauma on the field, you can play a vital role in their processing.
Listen, listen, listen. More often than not, people who are hurting aren’t necessarily seeking solutions as much as someone willing to listen. Let them to tell you everything – the good, the bad, the ugly. Don’t be surprised if there are undertones of bitterness, disappointment or cynicism. All these things must come to the forefront in order for rebuilding to begin.
In some cases, professional counseling may be a necessity. Encourage them in this step – it could be monumental for them.
Keep in mind that healing may take years…and that’s okay!
2. Material Needs
In cases of abrupt re-entry, the missionary may be coming home to nothing. You can relieve much stress by researching housing, job opportunities, & transportation for them.
Depending on what part of the world your Missionary came from, something as simple as going to an American grocery store (all the options and choices!) can be overwhelming. Stocking their cabinets & refrigerator/freezer before they come home will help ease that initial shock of stepping into a store.
3. Advocate the Missionary
Here are some practical ways to mobilize the church to get involved:
-Protect the missionary by shutting-down rumors that may be circulating.
-Without breaking confidentiality, educate others on the difficulties of Re-entry.
-Get a few people around to clean the missionary’s house or do light yard work before they come home.
-Ease the possible financial strain by raising money to pay a month’s rent or utility bill
-Does the missionary have children? Find other children in church the same age & plan play dates or get-togethers to connect them.
Prayer is huge in Re-entry because often there aren’t “human answers”. God is the True Healer!
Thanks for taking the time to read about Re-entry. You will be blessed for being used in this way – playing a role in God’s Great Commission to spread Jesus’ name to all nations!