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Welcome back!

About two months before a missionary's return

Care for the returning missionary by choosing and carrying out some of the following ideas:
  • Find out where the missionary would like to stay and if s/he needs help arranging housing. (If the missionary is single, don’t assume s/he will want to stay with parents.)
  • Find out if the missionary needs transportation and arrange a borrowed car, if possible.
  • Help to schedule any medical and/or dental appointments needed during home leave.
  • Coordinate any activities you want the missionary to be involved in with the missionary well in advance to protect him/her/them from becoming overwhelmed.
  • With the missionary’s permission, arrange with supporting churches for the missionary to speak in worship services, youth groups, and Sunday school classes.
  • Plan an appreciation event for supporters. This is an important time when the supporters can connect with the missionary and hear stories. Use this opportunity to express thanks to supporters and begin the process of inviting commitments for the next term. Examples of such events include: ice cream social, picnic, coffee and cake, etc.
  • If possible, ask the missionary to bring a simple, small, lightweight thank-you gift to be given to supporters at the appreciation event or to send to them with thank you notes or newsletters. Examples include a piece of currency from the country, a bookmark, a picture postcard, etc.
  • Find out if the missionary needs help doing a PowerPoint presentation to use when speaking in churches.
  • Meet with the MST coach to review the updated budget prepared by EMM for the next term of service.
  • Develop a game plan for raising financial support and begin this process.
  • Consider compiling a scrapbook. Each person or family in the congregation or support network can design a page to include personal updates and photos. The missionary can “study” this before coming home so they don’t feel so out of touch upon their return. It can also be used as a reference during their initial transition. Another option is to send the family a current church pictorial directory.

Upon arrival

Consider caring for the returning missionary in some of the following ways:
  • Have utilities, telephone, washer/dryer hooked up and operational.
  • Have the refrigerator and cupboards stocked or provide meals to get the missionary through the first few days of jet lag.
  • Pick the missionary up at the airport if needed.
  • Have a bag of favorite goodies ready for him/her/them to enjoy.
  • Take a bouquet of flowers the first time you visit.
  • Give a gas credit card.
  • Volunteer childcare so parents can unpack in peace.
  • Offer someone to help make choices on first shopping trips. Missionaries are often used to limited choices and can find many choices overwhelming.
  • Throw a welcome home party (after an appropriate amount of time has passed) and present a scrapbook of interesting events that occurred during the missionary’s absence and the current church directory.
  • Take the missionary to a cabin, the shore or on hikes to renew your friendship.

During home leave

Show love and care to the recently returned missionary in some of these ways:
  • Listen! Listen some more. Take time to hear stories and pray with missionaries.
  • Encourage them to take a vacation or retreat while they are home; help them schedule this.
  • Realize that they will probably deal with culture shock and stress. Reassure them that this is normal.
  • Help the missionary make an international meal for close friends.
  • Update the newsletter database.
  • Help with raising financial support for the upcoming term.
  • Confirm MST activities and responsibilities for the next term.