The transition abroad happens when your person gets on a plane and touches ground in their new location. These first days, weeks, months can often be described as the “honeymoon stage” of moving abroad as they experience so many new and exciting sights, tastes, smells, and situations. Everything your person has been working and preparing for has finally resulted in moving. During the transition period there are many logistics that must be taken care of before they can truly step into ministry and begin to make this new location a home.
What does this season look like?
- Finally arriving in their new location
- Exploring their new city
- Finding a place to live and making it into a home
- Diving into language study
- Bonding as a new team
- Meeting locals and other expats and forming relationships
- Finding a church
What are common emotions of this season?
During this season, it is common to feel a range of emotions. These emotions can often feel in contrast to one another and your person may be feeling some or all of these emotions at the same time.
- Finally making it to their destination and exploring and experiencing new places, food, and situations can be very exciting.
- Everything that is new and different is often viewed as fun and exciting during this season.
- Although anticipated, landing in a place where everything is new can be very overwhelming.
- Finding a new home, vehicle, church, friends, etc. brings about a lot of logistics and language and cultural barriers which can be very overwhelming.
- Although everything is new and much is exciting it is still common to miss the familiarity of home culture as well as family and friends.
- Many things need to be overcome during this season of transition, so it is common to feel fearful in anticipation of these experiences.
- Moving far away from friends and family and not being a part of their everyday life may cause some to be fearful of being forgotten by those in their home culture.
Thoughts from our staff:
“During our transition abroad, I had some friends ask me to send them pictures of our new home. It felt like such a ‘normal’ thing that I would share about with a good friend. But because I knew she was thinking about the details of my transition and not just about the ministry I was jumping into, I felt loved, remembered, and important to those I said goodbye to.” —Kortni, overseas field staff
How can I pray during this season?
- Pray for God’s provision of a new home, new friends, new church community
- Pray for language acquisition to come quickly and for perseverance when it becomes difficult
- Pray for health as they adjust to new food, climate, etc.
- Pray for comfort in the times they miss their family, friends, and home culture
- Pray for grace with themselves as they seek to engage the new culture and inevitably make mistakes, misunderstand, and/or are misunderstood
How else can I offer support?
- Send a message or email letting them know you are thinking about them and praying for them—share specifically how you prayed for them
- Allow space for them to adjust and lean into their new location. This may mean a period of silence in their communication with you so they can focus on their transition.
- Respond to their newsletters. This is a BIG encouragement to people serving in ministry.
- Ask them to keep a wish list (Amazon or other) of things they cannot get in their new location. Send a care package.
- Advocate for them by arranging times of prayer, reading their newsletters together, etc. (connect with those in your church or some of their other ministry partners)
- APPENDIX – questions to ask and articles to read more about this season
Helpful truths and Scripture for this season:
*Reminding your person of God’s truth and promises is the best way to support and care for your person. As you pray and listen to them, ask God for His words to share with them. These are some helpful places to start.
- “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” —Romans 12:12
- “The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” —Psalm 121:8
- “Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house.” —Proverbs 24:27
- Psalm 139