Re-entry, or Mission Trip blues… anyone who has done a short term mission trip has probably experienced these.
I remember back a few years ago going on a short term mission trip to Venezuela, to help with the “Jonas Project” which is a home for troubled boys. We did a lot of work there that proved to be challenging both physically and mentally.
I remember at the time, leaving “The Farm” and going back to work, with these feelings and emotions that were extremely heightened and magnified just by the sheer nature of having going on a mission trip. I remember the thoughts that coursed through my mind after having been back to work for a week. Being back to the daily grind in the corporate world and all I could think about is digging a ditch, eating plantains and power bombing 8-10 year olds in the swimming pool.
The trip to the Jonas Project in Venezuela marked my 4th short-term trip outside of the US. The 4th time I would experience what seemed to be a spiritual high, only to follow by the desire to want to “do more.” This trip was no different, in fact I believed this feeling was magnified, as both my wife Kim and I felt this even more than ever before.
I remember thinking I was “doing more,” but then I thought “what kind of difference am I actually making?” Why do I need to see the long-term effects, is that selfish of me? Shouldn’t I learn to be content knowing that His work is being done, and that I’m actually doing what I need to be doing?
…of restlessness, of dissatisfaction, of not being able to sit still sucked. It bothered me. I lost sleep, but even now I believe it was God-given. I even daydreamed of ideas to make a difference instead of just talking about them, but it was and is still very difficult.
So, so difficult.
I remember how the images of everything we did and saw would race through my mind, and also I remember how every emotion imaginable felt like as if they were racing through my body, and through my heart. I mean, there are many places local, that might be very similar to the Jonas Project but… but…
In our community, in fact in our own house it HAS to start there. Kim and I have 3 children. 3 beautiful children that need that same difference being made in their lives, and you can bet they are receiving the love every day that the boys in Venezuela may not be receiving.
“It’s always easier to make a point than it is to make a difference.”
~ Andy Stanley
This is what we need to do and this is what we need to focus on, because it’s the best thing we can do for those boys right now. Making sure our children get hugged on, kissed on, squeezed on and loved on with our all. After all, we promised them we would, but I also think by showing our 3 children and teaching them to have compassion for ALL children, I believe we’re doing what’s right.
I can’t help but to think that although we visited and connected with them for a week, leaving sure didn’t feel like it’s right. You might experience the same thing, and you will also have people who will try and make it a point to let you know that there are things within our community that you can be doing.
What I suggest as a response to those people, is to remember this does not dismiss the fact that there are also things abroad that still need attention. I think some people paralyze themselves with thoughts of trying to figure out what to do next, and where do to it, but I think we should not let this stop us from taking action in either place.