We often cover how to prepare for missions or how to support someone going on a trip, but it’s also important to have a plan for what to do when you return from a missions trip.
An experience like a medical mission trip is, more often than not, life-changing. If you are going to experience transformation, you need to be prepared for what it’s like to come home after returning from a missions trip.
1. Take care of yourself physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
You will likely suffer from jet-lag and exhaustion from all the emotional, physical, and spiritual work you were doing on the mission field. Be sure to take care of yourself! Get some rest, eat right, slow down, and don’t jump into a super busy, chaotic schedule right off the bat. Ease your way back into your regular routine.
Also, be sure to create for yourself an environment that gives you time to process everything you experienced. You can do this by unpacking all of your things so you don’t have that hanging over your head and then sit down and journal or think through the changes you want to make or the memories you want to remember.
Expect yourself to be off balance.
Many people report being overwhelmed returning to their culture. They go from a culture that barely has their needs met on a day-to-day basis to then coming back home and seeing people who are constantly seeking more and more despite the fact they have so much. When your worldview is changed from being overseas, it’s hard to see your normal life the same way. Even though nothing has changed about your life at home, everything may look different because you will begin to see your world through a different lens.
Give yourself grace. Don’t try to make any major decisions right away when you return from a mission trip.. Give yourself permission and the space to feel differently and decide if there’s anything you want to change about your life in the future.
3. Make more time for prayer than you think you need.
The Lord will want to be a part of you processing your trip. He may want to reveal things to you that you will only be able to hear in communion with Him. And He most definitely wants to be there for you as you grieve what you saw and share it with others.
It’s also important to pray for the people you’ve left behind. Pray for their health. Pray for the spiritual seeds that you planted to start to grow and flourish! Spend time with the Lord afterward and make prayer a priority!
4. Find someone to listen without judgement.
You may feel alone when you return from a medical mission trip. But you don’t have to be! Find someone who you can share about your time away. Having a listening ear will make the world of difference! It will likely be someone who was with you from the start when you made a decision to join a mission trip. Make sure he/she understands a cross-cultural experience so that you can feel supported and understood after returning from a missions trip.
We would love to connect with you and hear about your medical mission trip experience! If you are interested in joining one of our trips, contact us here.