If you’ve just finished your first short-term missions experience, or your fiftieth, then you’re likely to experience re-entry shock when coming back home. Chances are that you’ve seen sights that you haven’t experienced ever before in your life, or that you don’t see often. What do you do with those feelings?  You may be angry at the injustice so prevalent in developing and third-world nations. Perhaps you are simply overwhelmed by the widespread poverty, disease and helplessness of hundreds of thousands of people who struggle to survive almost every day of their lives.

When you arrive back home, your tendency may include one of two extremes: dump a heap of information and guilt on almost everyone you meet, or avoid talking about your trip at all for fear that no one will understand what you have experienced and the depth of the frustration and pain that your experience may have created.  So, how do we handle those emotions and tendencies? Who do we talk to? How do we follow up?

Re-entry shock can be debilitating.  Coming back to “civilization” can be exhausting.  You may be physically tired from the trip. Life back in the states may seem empty and meaningless compared to your recent experience. You may feel bored with a sudden change of pace, or disillusioned by the seeming shallowness of our affluence and image-oriented culture.

Unfortunately, almost all of us deal with those issues to one degree or another. Fortunately, there are a lot of great resources to help us wade through our confusion. The fact is that each short-term cross-cultural experience is an equipping opportunity for us.  Not only do such trips fuel our passion for outreach and relief, but it also can serve as a springboard that can help propel us into a deeper walk with Christ and an opportunity to challenge others to a deeper sense of God’s purpose in their lives as well.

Here are a few of the resources that we have found that can help you re-acclimate to your “home” environment.

This is a great article from InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.

Sometimes the best debrief starts by asking yourself good questions.

This is from Mike Woodruff of Youth Specialties on “Debriefing the Missions Trip”

The Keys to a quality debriefing by Steve Moore

Heading Home with Purpose!

Heading back to the homeland