This season occurs when your person moves back to their passport country, ending their time abroad. Returning to their passport country can happen for many different reasons and will be unique to each individual. However, despite the reason for return, this season can be characterized by difficult goodbyes and sadness as well as new opportunities and excitement. This season is a sort of reversal of the Preparing to Launch and Arriving Abroad seasons.
What does this season look like?
- Packing and selling of possessions and belongings
- Saying goodbye to people, places, and things
- *RAFTing their home and their friends (*see APPENDIX)
- Finding a home, car, church, etc. in their new location
- Attending a formal debrief and/or counseling
- Transitioning to a new job, career, position
- Reconnecting with friends and family
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.
- Their new place had become their home so it is common to feel sadness over leaving friends and places they have grown to love.
- It may not be their choice to leave or their desire and so they may feel sad over having to leave at all.
- There may be excitement to be near family and other friends again.
- They may be excited about whatever God has called them to next and ready to join God in that work.
- Your person may be stepping in a new role or career and that can make them nervous.
- They may feel nervous about meeting up with old friends and trying to connect. Each party will have changed and they may feel nervous about a lack of connection or that no one will understand or care about what they’ve been through.
- Once again, there are many logistics to work through as they return. They may feel overwhelmed with finding a place to live, buying a car, finding a school for their kids, etc.
- Returning to their home culture can bring about reverse culture shock. “Normal” things can feel very overwhelming at this time because your person will be different and have different experiences. What used to be “normal and expected” is often no longer comforting or familiar
Thoughts from staff:
“When I returned, many people came over to help me move into my new apartment and set it up—hanging shelves, putting together bookshelves, etc. It would have taken me days to do what it took 10 people about an hour. I felt so cared for and also settled in my new place!” —Chelsea, overseas field staff
How can I pray during this season?
- Pray for provision of housing, cars, jobs, etc.
- Pray for community to be formed and for friends to welcome and comfort them
- Pray for time and space to attend a formal debrief and for the processing of their time and experiences abroad
- Pray for opportunities to deeply and vulnerably share their experiences
- Pray for grace from others and for themselves as they relearn how to live in their passport country
How else can I offer support?
- Educate yourself on the stages of transition, be available to listen to their experiences, and allow them to process with you
- Provide or organize a group to provide basic needs for a new home (a shower of sorts)
- Share your life and experiences during the time they were away. Remember that each of you have changed and have new experiences
- Be aware of and intentionally look for connections between their needs and the resources within your community
- Offer practical help with moving, getting settled, and set up
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.
- “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” —Isaiah 43:19
- “Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” —Romans 15:7
- “…so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company.” —Romans 15:32
- “The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” —Psalm 121:8