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DEBRIEFING

YOUR MISSIONs ExPERIENCE


Debrief is crucial time set aside to help you process your trip and prepare you for your return home. Its a time to step back and look at all Gods done, and how this experience will affect your life, both in the immediate future and even further down the road. Take the time you need to really converse with God about your experience, to let him search your heart, and to listen to what he has to say to you. Journal your thoughts and prayers, and answers to the questions included in each days material. Just as God prepared and equipped you for your ministry on the field, He wants to do the same for your next step as well! [Be ready to share your comments and answers with your team during group debrief sessions. If youre not part of a mission team, try to find someone that you can share and pray with before leaving the mission field.]

Day one:

Focusing on God

Read and meditate on Psalm 77:11-13 Spend some time just praising God and thanking him. Ask him to speak to you and remind you of who he is. Use the following questions to guide your conversation: How would you describe your relationship with God during your trip? How has it grown?

Who has God shown you that he is?

What attribute of God has been most significant to you during your mission trip?

What prayers have you seen Him answer?

What obstacles or fears has He helped you overcome?

In what ways have you seen Him bring good from hard circumstances?

Think of something you can write, draw, create, buy, etc that can serve as a remembrance to you for how He showed himself to you during your trip, or an important truth he taught you, etc. (God has the Israelites do things like this all the time in the Old Testament to remind themselves of Gods power and provision.)

Day two:

lOoking Back

Read and meditate on Psalm 139 Journal anything that God is saying to you through these verses today. Use the following questions to guide your conversation with the Lord: What things (good or bad) have you learned about yourself during your trip? What surprised you about yourself?

In what ways have you changed or seen growth in yourself?

What were your favorite ministries? Where did you see yourself excel? How did God use you?

What did you learn about working with others in ministry? What did you learn from those you worked with?

Who and/or what are you going to miss about the place you ministered?

What did you enjoy most about the culture you were in? What did you not enjoy?

What did you learn about living and ministering in another culture?

What was your favorite day or moment of the trip? the hardest?

Is there anything you need to do before leaving the mission field so that you leave with no regrets? (any conversations you need to have, people you need to forgive or ask forgiveness from, etc)

Day Three:

loOking ahead

Coming home from a mission trip can be really great and really hard all at the same time. When you arrive on the mission field you expect to feel some culture shock and be a bit out of your comfort zone. You dont expect to have those same feelings when you return home, but many times you do. Taking some time to think through your return home can help you deal with the reverse culture shock you may encounter. Here are some things to consider Life Has Gone on Without You Yesterday we looked at some of the changes in you. Things at home have changed as well while you were gone. Your friends may have inside jokes you dont understand. There may be movies out youve never heard of. You may have missed significant events in the lives of your friends, family and even your country. People have gotten new jobs, some have gone away to college Its totally normal to feel a bit out of place where you once felt so totally comfortable. Your Faith and Values Have Changed Many times a trip over seas can have an effect on the way you look at life. Youve seen people living out their faith in the midst of hardships many Americans cant even imagine. Youve been to one room churches with dirt floors and no electricity. Your faith has taken on a more global perspective as youve seen life outside of your little American bubble. It can be easy to judgmental of the priorities and selfishness of other other believers. If youve been in an area where there is poverty you make think differently about how you spend your money. You may have a new thankfulness for things you once took for granted. Its common for you to feel disgusted at the commercialism and consumerism in America. Again, it can be easy to be judgmental. It can also be tempting to over indulge in all the things you missed while you were gone and then be hard on yourself for doing it! Sharing About Your Trip Sharing about your trip with others is great for helping you to continue processing your experience, giving God glory for what youve seen Him do, and making others aware of the needs in other parts of the world. BUT, not everyone will have the time or interest in a long report about your trip. Something that disappoints many people who are returning from the mission field is peoples lack of interest in their experience. People you thought would want to hear every detail just ask in passing, How was your trip? You may also be surprised at the people who take an unexpected interest in your experience. Some practical things you can do Take an interest in whats happened in the lives of other while you were gone. Keep reminding yourself that not everyone has seen the things that you have (i.e. poverty etc) and that its unfair to judge them for materialism, etc. Ask God to keep you aware of any pride that may be creeping up in you! Ask God to give you wisdom to know what things you should give up and not indulge in, and what things hes provided for you to enjoy and not feel guilty about doing so!

Within your first week home, schedule an extensive sharing time with someone you know will want to hear all the nitty gritty details of your trip. If possible try to find time to talk with someone who may understand a bit of what youre going through as you return home, i.e. a former missionary, someone who has lived abroad, etc. Prepare a one or two sentence answer to the question, how was your trip? so youre able to say more than just, Ummmgood. (i.e. Some of the cultural stuff was hard for me, but I really enjoyed ministering to the kids at the orphanage.) Think through a few favorite stories that you can have ready to share with those who want to hear a bit more.

Read and meditate on Psalm 121 What comfort do you find in these verses today?

Spend some time talking with God about your expectations for home. Bring any fears you have about your return home to him. Ask him to prepare you to share about your trip in a way that brings glory to him!

Day fOur:

Making it last

Read and meditate on John 15:1-16 What is God saying to you through this passage as you prepare to return home?

You most likely spent months preparing for and being excited about your mission trip. While on the field you had a purpose and were focused on serving God. Now its over and youre returning home. Its common to feel a little purpose-less as you settle back into life, and to lose some of the spiritual discipline you had while on the field. If youre not careful, youre trip can quickly just become a nice memory and nothing more. Its important to think through specific ways you want this experience to affect your life even after you return home. Setting some goals and finding a new mission are vital to a successful reentry into your home culture. Spend some time asking God to show you how he wants this experience to affect your life. How does He want you to apply the things youve learned? Use the following questions to help guide your conversation with the Lord. Ask God to help you set realistic expectations and goals for yourself as you return home. What ministry do you think God might be calling you to be involved in when you arrive home? Did he show you anything about long term plans he has for you? What steps do you need to take to make sure you follow through on what hes calling you to do? What obstacles may get in the way? How can you prepare to overcome them? What changes do you want to see in your spiritual life? What are some specific things you can do to keep growing in your relationship the Lord even after you return to the routine at home? What obstacles may get in the way? How can you prepare to overcome them? How can you continue to live out a global faith? What are some specific ways you can continue to be involved with the place you ministered in? (i.e. raise awareness of the needs there, support a missionary or a project, pray for the location you were in and the people you met, etc)

God has great things ahead for you! Its normal to feel sad about leaving your mission trip experience behind, but dont let that overshadow the excitement of seeing friends, family and jumping into the next season of Gods amazing plan for your life!! Who are you most looking forward to seeing and sharing with? What comfort are you most looking forward to enjoying?

Day Five:

a citizen of Heaven

YOU ARE A CITIZEN OF HEAVEN (Phil. 3:20) This will be a vital truth to remember as you re-enter life at home. You may feel out of place at home. You may miss whatever location you ministered in. Thats okay. Its good not to get too comfortable on this earth, because just like your time on the mission field was only for a season, so is your time in this world. Youre real home is heaven. Keeping that truth in the front of your mind will influence your perspective in every area of life. Read and meditate on Luke 10:20. Why do you think Jesus would say this to his disciples who have just returned from their mission trip?

Read and meditate on Hebrews 11: 1-12:3 How are these people of faith described in the following verses of Heb 11? vs 9: vss 13-16: vss 25-27: vs 35: vs 38:

What perspective did all of these heroes of the faith seem to share?

Spend some time talking to God about what it means for you to live as a citizen of heaven. Ask him to write that truth on your heart and mind and to let it influence every area of your life. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this life can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. --C.S. Lewis God goes with you as you start the next leg of the journey he has you ona journey that is leading to your glorious heavenly home!!

mOre debrief ideas:


Write notes to team members and/or other significant people, letting them know what you appreciated about them during your time on the mission field. Buy a map of the location you were in and use it as a prayer reminder/guide when you get home. Gather prayer requests from people you connected with in the country. Get a recipe for a typical food from the country you were in and make it for friends and family when you get home. Write a letter to yourself that someone can send to you in 6 months. Include goals you have for home, or anything significant youve learned that youd like to be reminded of in a few months. When you get home, check out some of the excellent resources available out there for staying connected with the needs of the world: www.operationworld.org (stats and prayer needs for almost every country) www.thetravelingteam.org (there are some great studies on Gods heart for the world) www.globalprayer-digest.org (daily e-mail prayer reminders for unreached peoples) Find ways to get involved with people of other nationalities where you live. College campuses are great for this. Your church may know of ministries that reach out to immigrants, etc. The nations are at your doorstep in most parts of the U.S.!