Welcome back! You may have been home long enough to become overwhelmed with the reality of normal day-to-day life. We want to encourage you to not lose the fire and excitement that was stirred within you on your trip. It’s normal to feel down or even depressed after experiencing a trip such as this. You may have had a mountain-top experience where everything was so clear, God was real in a new way, you were able to serve and play sport and you had an abundance of fellowship. Now you are back to the daily grind and re-entered the valley where you might feel isolated and unable to see clearly. This is normal! Coming home can be difficult, so below are some tips to help you have a smoother re-entry experience.
- You are different as a result of this trip. It does not matter if your trip was three days or three months. You will not (and should not) fit back into the same space you occupied before the trip. You encountered God in a new, real way. You cannot encounter God and stay the same. It may feel uncomfortable for a while, but stay patient with the process of transitioning back to your life. Don’t conform back to your old ways, but be a new creation and trust that God has you purposely positioned for His Glory!
- Life went on as normal for the people back home. Be patient with them and show a genuine interest in what took place in their lives while you were gone.
- Be obedient and faithful to do whatever God put on your heart while on your trip. Don’t try to do everything at once. God’s timing is perfect, so be patient and think long term.
- Identify one key moment or story that you can share with people when they ask about your trip. Most people will be excited to hear about four to five minutes of one story before they are ready to move on to different topics. Be patient with them and try not to take it personal. Be prepared to share a snapshot of what you experienced. Also, try to stay enthusiastic in talking about your trip. People want to hear about the transformation and impact; not just about sitting on the beach or sightseeing. When you do find someone willing to sit and listen, be thankful and enjoy sharing about what God did. Share the following:
A God moment – What is something you saw God do? What did God reveal to you about Himself on this trip? What did God change in you on this trip?
A ministry moment – Was there a moment during the outreaches that made an impression on you? What? Why?
A funny moment – Be ready to share about the funny moments while choosing to share uplifting and positive stories.
- Thank your donors. And then thank them again! If possible, handwrite a follow up thank you letter and include a picture of ministry. Pick up the phone and call and let them hear your excitement about their involvement with you. They deserve to share in the celebration of an amazing international trip. At the very least, send them an email with an update about the trip.
Don’t forget: you have teammates who will understand what you went through, so maximize the relationships formed during your trip and stay connected to each other.