Session 10: It’s all about you, Lord

Note: Include your hosts (national partner and missionaries) in this gathering if possible. Adjust the exercises as needed, depending on whether the group includes more than just your team members.

Worship

Sing the songs you have learned in your host country.


Praise and reflection
  • In a circle, ask the team (and your hosts) to fill in the blanks:
I praise God for _______.
God has used this experience to teach or remind me that ________.
  • As team leader, take brief notes on what each team member shares. Include that information in a personal note that you write to each person, noting how God used him or her to make a positive difference in the team and/or with your hosts. Give personal notes to team members two to three weeks after returning home.
  • “I thank God for you” exercise: Give each person the same number of slips of paper as the     number of people on your team (including hosts who are present). Ask them to pass their  Bible to the person sitting next to them on their left. Everyone then writes a note to the     owner of that Bible saying, “I thank God for you because ____________.” When they have         finished, have them insert the note into the Bible, and pass the Bible to the next person.     Repeat the process until each Bible has notes from everyone on the team, including your     hosts.
  • Riding the re-entry roller coaster: As the time for leaving draws nearer, the team may begin  to feel a jumble of emotions. They may feel grief, joy, guilt, excitement, dread, emotional fatigue, or emotional numbness. These are all part of the re-entry “roller coaster.”
  • To help people deal with these normal feelings, ask them to briefly fill in these statements:
The hardest thing for me about going home will be _________.
The thing I will no longer complain about at home is _________.
  • Ask team members to consider ways they can support their teammates as they adjust to life back home.

Notes on returning home

Returning home may be even more of a “culture shock” than coming to this country. Remind team members to pray for one another during this transition.

People may be a little crankier as they try to sort out the jumble of feelings going on inside their hearts. Ask team members to make a special effort to be patient and understanding with each other.

You may discover that some of your friends or family may not want to hear much more than about a one-minute report on your experience. This is normal; don’t be offended.

Suggestions for helping people listen to your stories about the experience:
  • Be sensitive to how much time your friend or family member has to listen to you.
  • Tell stories about what God taught you.
  • Find out what things this person really wants to hear.
  • Be patient when he or she isn’t able to identify with what happened to you.
  • Show an interest in what has happened in his or her life while you were gone.

Practical suggestion

Have in mind a couple of different responses to the questions “How was your trip?” or “How was ______________ (country)?”
  • One phrase: “It was awesome.”
  • 30-second response: “It totally changed the way I look at the world. God taught me some    great lessons about myself and other cultures. I also made some very special friends. It was hard to leave even after knowing them only a couple of weeks.”
  • Five-minute response: Share a story about something that really touched your heart;            describe the most memorable image or moment of the experience.
  • Longer than five minutes: Engage in discussion about some of the lessons God taught you; ask the questioner about what God is teaching them – compare notes.
When possible, avoid giving public testimonies about the trip during the first week back. Wait until the team is rested and has had time to evaluate the experience together before your presentation for your church.


Prayer


Final on-site session: refer to "Debriefing and de-griefing" session.

Also, inform your team of the tentative or confirmed dates to cover the information in remaining debriefing sessions. We suggest that you do the first debriefing session while still on-site, and then gather two additional times for continued debriefing and reflection. If your team is from different churches or regions, or would find it difficult to meet three times after the trip, you may combine the sessions.
Comments