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The MST and home leave

Caring for the missionary before, during and after home leave

Home leave is one of the most looked-forward-to and dreaded events in a missionary’s ministry. On the one hand, the opportunity to spend time with family and friends, to take a much needed break, and to be surrounded with familiar sights, smells and activities is a highlight to be enjoyed. On the other hand, living out of a suitcase, numerous speaking engagements, connecting with supporters, raising necessary funds, and being out of one’s normal routine can often prove challenging. The combination of purposes for a home leave can leave a missionary feeling confused or even overwhelmed.

The MST can be of significant support not only during the home leave itself but also in the preparation time before and the follow-up period after the actual home leave. Here are some helpful suggestions to consider as you care for the missionary:

Prior to home leave
  • Be in contact with the missionary to hear what the person’s home leave desires might be.
  • Encourage the missionary to block out a period of time that is meant solely for vacation.
  • Assist in scheduling vacation time or personal retreat days, if desired.
  • With the missionary’s input, schedule speaking engagements and times to share with supporters.
  • Consider hosting a reception for the missionary so supporters can get an update and be invited to continue supporting for the next term.
  • Send a letter from the MST informing supporters of the home leave plans, speaking engagements, and/or reception.
  • Help to coordinate housing and transportation needs, if necessary.
  • Plan MST meetings at the beginning and end of the home leave to best coordinate activities.
  • Develop a game plan for fund raising and begin to implement it.
During home leave
  • Provide a “Welcome Home” basket of favorite food or toiletry items. Include gift cards from favorite clothing stores, restaurants, gas stations, supermarkets, etc. Other gift items could include CD’s, books or magazines, movie passes, etc.
  • Prepare gift bags for children as well.
  • At the first MST meeting, take time to really listen to, encourage and pray for the missionary. This event should be celebrative and supportive.
  • Have an MST member be with the missionary at each speaking engagement for support and to speak on behalf of the MST.
  • Offer childcare for a weekend so the parents can have personal retreat time. Provide names and contact information of potential babysitters.
  • Hold a reception(s) for supporters.
  • During the MST meeting at the end of the home leave, create a game plan for newsletters, MST letters, ongoing communication, etc. Spend time in prayer for the missionary.
After home leave
  • Have a card waiting for the missionary at his/her home upon return. Or arrange for a bouquet of flowers – some sign that he/she continues to be in your thoughts and prayers.
  • Remember that the first month(s) after home leave for a missionary are often the hardest so send emails, cards, care packages, make phone calls, etc.
  • Send thank you notes and words of appreciation to churches and individuals for their involvement during the home leave.