For our team, it had been—quite literally—a mountaintop experience.
We had enjoyed a week of medical missions together on a mountain in Central America. God had welcomed 137 new believers into his family and provided healing for many others through our very humble efforts.
But as I stared out the window on the plane ride home, I began to feel uneasy. How could we—how could I—take what God had invested in us during our trip and continue to live that out back home? How could we apply it in our real, busy, and broken everyday lives where we so often just survive?
There’s no easy answer, but here are seven ideas that have been helpful to me that may be helpful to others returning from a short-term missions trip.
Expect Some Setbacks and Failures
Short-term trips take us out of our comfort zones, and while we are there outside the norm, we often experience a spiritual growth spurt. We learn new ways to rely on God and engage with people. But when we return, as fallen sinners it’s natural to slide back into patterns of self-reliance or simply become overwhelmed.
Recognizing and turning from unhealthy pre-trip patterns is a sign of God’s grace, but we need to have reasonable expectations for ourselves when we return. If we don’t, we may despair and fall back into doing nothing at all once we fail to integrate our new spiritual lessons into everyday life.
I had the privilege of writing this article as a guest post for IMB, the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. They have a massive vision for reaching the world for Christ. You can read the rest of the article here.