rebelling against low expectations

How do I adjust to life after a mission trip?


BENJAMIN WRITES: I spent a chunk of my summer in Latvia (Eastern Europe) running a music camp and interacting with Latvian youth. Since getting home, I can’t seem to get back to normal. I’ve read articles about post-mission trip adjustment, but the emotional fallout seems to run in an endless cycle.

I can’t stop missing dear Latvian friends, feeling out of place in American culture, and feeling like I’m kind of drifting along without any real direction after the clearly-defined purposefulness I felt in Latvia. It’s not my first international mission trip, but I’ve never felt quite so disconnected from myself and my own life as I do this time.

How do you deal with this kind of emotional “drifting”?

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  • Hey there Benjamin! I can and can’t relate to you at the same time…lol…
    I can relate to you because I moved out of the U.S. to Zambia 7months ago. I now feel more Zambian than American! I have become one of them and their culture is now my culture (in many ways)…their language is now my language…their struggles (such as daily power outages and unclean water) are now my struggles too…
    Since moving here, I have learned to adapt to circumstances I normally would’ve cringed at in the States…Since moving here, I’ve seen what true poverty is with my own eyes…I’ve held sick children in my arms…I’ve walked through villages with a sick child searching for his caregiver who was unaware he was even sick (and basically seemed unaware of his existence.. =P), I’ve been in a room with 40 girls who have experience such horrific things I burst out in tears!!…etc.
    Doing things like this and experiencing these things have put life in a totally different perspective for me…Somehow, certain things have become less important and other things have become more important (like my relationships with my family members)
    Before I moved here, I was told, “It’s easier to adapt to a new culture than it is to return to your own.” when I heard that I was like, “Whaaat…No way..I’ve been American for 16 years…!” but SERIOUSLY THOUGH! I believe it now!!! I haven’t been back to the states yet (how I can’t relate to you), but as I anticipate it, I’m almose more scared than I was moving here!!!
    My mind is a little crazy when I’m talking to my American friends on the phone…I’ll slip a Bemba word in my conversation without even thinking..I’ll say something in a funny way…Not only that, but just mentally we’re a lot different now! My mind processes things in a different way, from a different perspective…
    Again, I haven’t experienced going back to the U.S. from here yet; but I am anxiously anticipating my return; fearing how I’m going to be…
    I think some things I KNOW will be helpful (and VITAL) for me (and may help you too) will be to take a short sabbatical from life..! LOL..I mean, I think it helps to go somewhere quiet and alone (whether we’ve lived in a foreign country or not) to spend time with the Lord and to ease back into society….
    Also, finding someone, whether it be locally or just a contact via phone or internet, who can relate to you is something i don’t know how I’ll be able to do without if I go back..! I think specifically another missionary because they understand all the emotions we/you are experiencing…It’s SO hard to open up about things regarding living in another country to someone who hasn’t experienced it themselves (this I know from experience). We can share some stories or things, but it’s not the SAME! they just have to experience it….So having someone who has shared those experiences is important…Keep that part of your heart alive! =)
    Lastly, just give yourself some time… =) It’s normal to have these emotions. It’s normal to experience what you are experiencing…Give yourself time to recover and to get back into “normal life”. It does take a while…and that’s okay….
    I hope this has been helpful, or at the very least encouraging to know that you aren’t the only one! =) And who knows, I’ll probably be looking to you for advice when I go back (whether for a visit or permanently)….. 😉 😉

    • Thanks for your advice! It’s weird, because it was only a short-term trip, and I was only there for a few weeks. I wouldn’t expect it to be so hard; and I’ve been on another international trip for only a slightly shorter time and it didn’t have quite the same effect. I think it might have to do with the nature of the trip. While we were there, we were running a summer camp, which means we spent literally all of our time among the Latvians, immersed in their culture and lifestyle, 24/7, whereas on previous trips the American team has always felt more separate. Plus, it was a music camp, and I love music, so the fact that I spent the time teaching music and playing music with the Latvians really bonded us. It’s so true though, that it’s easier to adapt to a new culture than it is to return to your own. At first it was really a struggle to not be judgmental of Americans; and though I’ve mostly moved past that, I still feel kind of strange in my own country, despite only being in Latvia for a few weeks. I constantly find myself talking about things that happened in Latvia, and I feel like it probably gets annoying to my friends and family that everything reminds me of something from Latvia and I talk about it constantly. It’s just weird. I miss the people so much! I think about them all every day, and although I still email with some of them, I don’t have any social media so it’s hard for me to stay in touch.

      • Don’t worry: it’s only natural to talk about things that happened overseas which you’re reminded of (even if our friends may get tired of hearing about it), and as for judging the Americans goes: getting away from the American culture helped me to unbiasedly critique it for the first time.

      • After I came back from Africa, I talked my friends and family’s ear off about my time there. When you’re passionate, you can’t help it! 🙂 So it’s natural to talk about those things a lot. The first morning back in the USA, I came downstairs and shocked my mom by making a morning cup of tea, cause that’s what I’d done in Africa. It just seemed normal, whereas my family looked at my like I was a weirdo! So don’t feel bad. Just a couple weeks is enough time to begin become accustomed to a culture (at least enough to feel your own is strange upon return), so it’s natural. 🙂

          • It’s funny how much my taste has been affected by trips like this. Another trip I’ve been on was to Honduras, and we basically drank juice from a bunch of fruits I’ve never heard of with every meal, so now at home I constantly try new juice combinations, because things like apple and orange juice just seem boring now.

          • Yep, it does affect a ton. And yes, tastes change! It’s perfectly natural (either that or I’m really weird as well). 🙂 It’s unique though! I didn’t know they drank much juice in Honduras… interesting!

    • What! You’ve been in Zambia all this time!? You probably haven’t met Arthur and Liezl Pienaar, have you? (They’re friends of mine). Anyway; I was also anxious about going home after being in Africa for 3 months (and then I was afraid again when I went home after 2 years) but I found that this fear quickly vanishes once you’ve arrived and everything feels (strangely) familiar =vD so don’t be to worried about reverse culture shock (be anxious about nothing).

      • The names sounds REALLY familiar!!!!! Where in ZA are they located? (if I may ask). I’m in Ndola… That’s SO crazy that you know people in ZA…! It’s a small world after all! 😉
        Thanks! God is faithful to help us… =) And you are right, scripture does say not to fear…. =)

        • For some reason I can’t remember where in Zambia they live… they have three kids… when I last checked he was working with Overland Missions and was the sector manager for the Mukuni Kingdom. Yeah; my parents come from South Africa and that’s how my Mom knows them =vD

          • Okay..! Well, there is a road in our city called Mukuni! LOLOL…but who knows, there might be a town called Mukuni for all I know… 😉 So, I don’t personally know them, but we might have met or we might live in the same city! I’m not sure. =) That’s super cool though! =D

  • Everything Megan said is so true!
    My family spent 2013 and 2014 in
    Papua New Guinea, going back to Australia at Christmas time. Those sorts
    of places really do become home. I loved the culture, the language, the
    people. When we went back to Australia for Christmases, it was hard and
    strange. I found I preferred PNG culture in a lot of ways, and it had
    also become my home. This year we’ve been travelling overseas, so we’re
    constantly seeing new cultures, but not like PNG.
    Seeing people
    with so little who are so thankful reminds us to be thankful for what we
    have, but it’s hard to tuck in and cheerfully say “I’m so thankful for
    this meal!” if you know that there’s a famine in PNG. Their problems seem a lot
    more personal.
    Because I’m not living permanently in one place in a
    western culture yet (that’s next year!) I haven’t had to deal with this
    fully. All I can say is that we have to put up with our culture (because
    it’s no worse than any other culture, they all have faults and we just have a preference) and go
    along with it. I think the purpose part goes back to doing small hard
    things. It doesn’t matter where we are (no matter how much we miss the
    other place) so long as we’re working for God. Maybe you could look for
    needs in your backyard, or work for the needs in Latvia. You might even
    be blessed enough to be able to keep in touch with the friends you made
    there. Even if they have no way of writing back. (I send snail mail to a
    seven year old girl, although she can’t write back. I don’t even know
    if she gets the letters, but I try anyway!) I think it’s a natural part of making a home then missing it.
    How long were you in Latvia for?

    • I should probably say that (as Megan said) it’s very natural to miss it. It’s a part of making a new home. The pain of missing people is inevitable (if you loved it), and there’s no cure. When there’s nothing you can do to help the people you met there, pray and ask God to help them.

      “You will never be completely at home again,
      because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price
      you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one
      place.” –Miriam Adeney

      • I love that quote! That’s really what it feels like. Like I said in my reply to Megan, the weird part is that I wasn’t in Latvia for that long; only a few weeks. But something about the experience just really stole my heart, and even though it sounds crazy, I feel this love for the Latvian people and culture. I find myself listening to worship songs in Latvian all the time, even though I only know the tiny bit of Latvian I picked up in a few weeks’ time. I look up how to say things in Latvian to expand my vocabulary, even hoping to one day learn the language fluently, even though it’s a tiny country with very few people and the language is pretty much useless outside of Latvia. Most of all, though, I miss the people that I spent so much time with. Running a camp means interacting with the people literally 24/7, and it’s so hard to grow so incredibly close to the people, and then one day just leave and not see them again. And because I don’t have any social media, it’s very difficult for me to stay in touch with them.

        • Yes, it does sound a bit crazy, but I think I can identify with you even though I was longer term.
          I don’t have social media either, and only one friend in PNG has email, but then there’s snail mail.
          If you want to go back, this might be a great time of preparing by saving with a part time job, learning the language and growing spiritually while you have people around you to help.

    • This is all SO true as well Heather! That’s so neat that you’ve lived in so many places..! I can’t imagine moving around so much…big change is really hard for me… =P I LOVE the quote to commented as welll! <3

  • Someimtes it helps to bear in mind that the most people in your home culture know nothing different so they’re behaving in a way they’ve always done, they don’t know any better. Try and be patient, even when it’s hard. And if the feelings don’t fade within about 6 months or so, you may want to prayerfully consider whether your long term plans should include going back long term. Also Heather C’s quote is absolutely true. It’s ok to hurt but don’t be paralysed and don’t give up communicating with your family/friends etc because that just makes it harder.

    • I agree…that’s why i think it will be so hard to return because people don’t understand things from the same perspective, so I can’t express the things in my heart without sounding like an idiot sometimes… =P

      • Yeah, sometimes the way you word things in your second language carries over into english and it confuses people or things worry or excite you that seems weird to people from your first culture.
        I remember coming back to the UK after a while in Asia and I used to get so excited when it rained and worried when it was dry for more than a few days and with an unlimited water supply here, people didn’t get it. And they didn’t understand how worrying it is when people are ill. It is soooo hard but I found out that sometimes you have to try to explain knowing you’ll fail and sometimes you have to just shrug and let it go, but sometimes you’ll be surprised at how well people understand. It’s hard when your heart is full and you don’t know what to do with it all or how to communicate it.
        One of the nicest things is when someone understands better than you ever thought they would 🙂 It’s a struggle but it’s about learning how you can influence and teach people and what’s not worth the trouble. And personally I found it was a difficult lesson to learn what to let change you and what to let go.

  • I’m looking forward to seeing the comments, I can relate to this a lot. I’ve only been on small scale mission trips, but this is still true. Getting used to waking up early every day and eating breakfast with a couple hundred people, then going out with the goal to lead people to Jesus, then all of a sudden going back to everyday life, and sometimes not even going anywhere all day just seems wrong when you know that people are out there suffering and need Jesus.

  • I’m a bi-racial person, who has lived in two different countries so I can kind of understand what you’re going through. After having moved overseas from America, I really dreaded going back and visiting; this was a big struggle for a couple of years. All of the people there expected to be dealing with the same Abby that they had known before I moved, and she didn’t really exist anymore. I feel like dealing with a culture that knows little of the world (sorry) can get tough sometimes, but try to be patient. Your friends and family are probably just as confused as you are. Don’t shut them out because they don’t understand, help them to know what you’re going through. That helps a lot. I have a friend who got a nose piercing after going on a 6 week trip that really shaped her, to show that she had become a new person and to express her internal change externally. You may not want to take it that far, but just know you’re not alone. 🙂
    I hope this helps, and I’ll be praying!

    One big thing that helps is venting. Find someone who does get it, like an adult who was with you on the trip, and pour out what you’re feeling to them. Another thing to remember is that God could be trying to tell you something, so always

    You mentioned reading articles about coming home from short-term trips, but I would recommend looking at articles for/by TCKs and MKs. Another thing to look into is a book called The Art of Coming Home by Craig Storti. It’s pretty much what the title suggests. It’s not too long, and aimed at people who can’t quite assimilate back into American culture. I hope this helps, and I’ll be praying!

    • Great advice! Thank you. It’s funny, when we were finished with the ministry part of the trip in Latvia and we were back in the capital for a debrief with them missionaries, they talked to us briefly about reverse culture shock, and they summed it up by saying, “Your first time walking into a Wal-Mart when you get back, you’ll probably feel like you want to kill someone but you won’t really know why.” While that’s a bit extreme, that’s pretty much what it felt like! It’s strange though, because I’ve pretty much gotten over the cultural aspect of it; as much as I loved Latvian culture, I’ve managed to adjust in that area. It’s more the relational piece; I miss Latvian friends so badly it almost hurts physically. I think about them constantly, and I feel like I’ve just left some of my best friends thousands of miles away with little chance of seeing them again for at least a couple of years. It’s tough to put into words, but since coming home, I feel like I’ve left such a big part of my heart there that I can’t really tie myself completely to any one place, if that makes any sense (it probably doesn’t).

      • It makes total sense, and is something that I’ve definitely felt before. It feels like your heart is being torn between the two countries and the relationships that you have there. This brings to mind a Whinne the Pooh quote: “How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

        I’m sorry if this sounds harsh, but you’ll probably never stop missing your Latavian friends, and there’s no real way to “get rid of” the pain. Is there any way you could interact with them online? I know it isn’t the same as face-to-face, but it can help make a way to visit them later, and if not, at least give you some closure.

        Again, this really looks like the types of things MKs and TCKs go through. One thing I’d recommend is striking up an email relationship with an MK who’s your age that your church supports. They’d probably relate immensely to what you’re going through and you’d be a familiar face when they visit the US. Again, I’ll be praying.
        P.S. The Walmart thing is perfect. 🙂

        • Thanks so much for all your advice. Thankfully, I’ve been able to connect with a few of the Latvians through email, which is definitely helpful. And as hard as it is, I’m glad I’ll never stop missing them; I wouldn’t want to, honestly. It hurts, but it’s a good hurt, because it’s caused by love instead of pain. In the meantime, I listen to Latvian music, teach myself Latvian phrases, write blog posts about Latvia, pray for the Latvians, and pray that one day I’ll get to see them again.
          P.S. Love the Winnie-The-Pooh quote! And love Winnie-The-Pooh in general.

  • Culture shock on the way back is the worst because you’re not expecting it. At least I wasn’t. Some people from my church went to help out after Guerrero (MX) got cought between two hurricanes.

    When we left I was shaking because I didn’t want to go back and I didn’t know what to do when i did. I scared a lady in the airport by ordering lunch in broken Spanish. I cried most of the 5 hour car ride. Basically, I was a mess.

    Then when we did get back I was totally lost. I could barely process English. I got mad when everyone around me had so much, and my friends had nothing. I was constantly thinking things like “WHAT? We bought food for a DOG??!”

    Most of all I didn’t want to be the same agian. I didn’t want to let myself get comfortable with my little American life. I still don’t. It’s petty. Sacrifices here are worth it. For now that means giving up my desires for Mexico and serving here.

    Something that helped was giving. I cleaned out most of my clothes, sold anything that wasn’t necessary (if it was mine to sell), and used all my money either to give, or to save for the next trip. Another was to stay in touch with the people I met, I write letters but it might be different in Latvia.

    Last thing, let it drive you to prayer. Pray for the churches and people you visited. Pray for yourself, and that the gospel spreads. Pray for the next step. Trust God through it. It probably doesn’t feel like it, but he knows what he’s doing with you here. I honestly can’t say I’ve gotten over my culture shock, but I guess that’s good. We can’t let ourselves be normal.

    It feels like I’m ranting but I do hope this helps.

    • Ohmygoodness!! I TOTALLY know what you’re saying about the thought process!!! I wanna SCREAM when people post things like, “My dog’s turning two YAY!” I”m like “This little two(ish) year old HUMAN i know doesn;t even have food let alone know his birthday…!” And all sorts of other thoughts… =P I have to be careful not to be judgmental actually…. =P

      • Oh goodness yes! And the grocery store is such a horrid extravagance. Me to, it’s been over a year and I’m still praying that I’ll stop thinking like I do. Life would be a lot easier if I just wasn’t so dang sinful…

    • I totally know what you mean! It feels like Americans are just totally oblivious to how blessed they are and how much the world needs their help. But for me, I see it in a spiritual sense more than a physical sense. Lativa isn’t a terribly poor nation, but it’s a very postmodern, post-Christian culture. The biggest need I saw was for strong Christian leaders and teachers. There are Christian young people there with a passion to make a difference, but no access to mentors or discipleship. I feel like Americans so take for granted all the churches, books, programs, and other things that are all around us for helping us grow in our faith, and in Latvia they’re largely left to figure it our for themselves. That’s a big part of why it’s so hard to leave; I felt like these people desperately needed guidance and spiritual help, and while I was there I was able to really invest in them, and then I just left, and I felt like a couldn’t think of a good reason why I had to leave. They’d ask me why I had to go, and I felt like I didn’t have a legitimate answer… to study Latin? To read Shakespeare and write essays? To play video games and hang out with friends? I missed my family, of course, but I felt like I was leaving a place of massive need and I couldn’t figure out why. I realize, of course, that America has needs as well, and I’m glad for the opportunities I have to serve here. But it just doesn’t feel the same. A bunch of the Latvians wrote me notes, and one of the girls I taught guitar to wrote “You need to come back to Latvia next year, or next month, or even better next week, or maybe you could just stay in Latvia.” Every time I read that I almost cry. I love these people! They need people to really invest in their lives! And I was able to do that for them for such a short time, and then I had to hug them all, as they all cried, and get on a bus, and ride out of their lives, and for what? What is so much better here in America that I have to leave them behind for it?

      Sorry, I’m ranting a ton here, but that’s kind of why I submitted this question; I’ve been processing this stuff internally and kind of need to talk about it.

      • I know what that’s like. I’m really not sure what to say, but I think you might need to bring it up with the elders of your church. They can help you more than I can. Think about going long or longer term. For now, try to find someone who’s addressing the need and be as involved as you can stateside. One way might be to send solid theological books to the Christians you know (I couldn’t find a link but the gospel coalition has a ministry that will send you some of you can get them where they need to go.) Look up the Slavic Gospel Association, they’re working to plant and strengthen churches in Russia and parts of eastern Europe. I think they’re doing it in Latvia too. Sorry I’m not more help but hopefully this’ll give you some ideas. Good luck!

        • Well, the chairman of the elder board is my dad… so I guess that part should be easy enough! I really do value the ministry opportunities I have here at home, but sometimes it feels like I spend so much time training and preparing for future ministry opportunities that I have no opportunity to actually put that stuff into practice in the here and now. I’ve spend a ton of time studying theology, apologetics, and communication skills, but I feel like that’s all just textbook stuff for me right now that I don’t get to put into practice. In Latvia, I discovered a place that really needed those things, and I was able to really connect with the people. Now, at home, I feel like some of my best friends, who need the Lord the most, live 4000 miles, 2 continents, and an ocean away! Thanks for the thoughts, it really is helpful, and it’s nice to be able to talk about it to people; for some reason it’s kind of awkward talking about it with other friends at home because they were at home, doing their own thing, while I was having this life-changing experience.

          • As far as using your head knowledge, I know nothing is the same but that kind of skill can still be helpful stateside. You are a member of the body of Christ, an you have a job to do even when your don’t want to be here. It’s hard to find a place in the church, but you can be a huge blessing. Also try to get to know people who don’t have the gospel, (through school, a job, community stuff, whatever.) Then you’ll have a good way of using what you know and refining your method. That’s all I can think of, hope this helps!

          • It may be important for you to pray about whether God wants you to go back or not. Because, if He doesn’t want you to go back, then learning Latvian might be a waste of time. But, if He does, then you can focus and work towards that goal, preparing yourself for your return, and KNOW that it is God sending you. Either way, a “yes” or “no” from God would get rid of that gnawing uncertainty you’re experiencing.

          • For example, when I came back from Mozambique I wanted to learn Makhuwa and Portuguese and so on, but later God didn’t send me to Mozambique as a missionary, but to the Republic of South Africa; He merely used the 72 days in Mozambique as a very important training ground for when He would send me to South Africa.

          • And don’t get frustrated if you don’t get a “Yes” or “No” from God right away (moving to another country is a huge life-changing decision), so sometimes we just have to wait patiently for God’s timing to direct our paths and lead us, but–while you’re waiting–do the little things that you know God wants you to be doing right now (like reading the Bible, chores, etc.). =^D

      • Hey Benjamin! I also just wanted to say that, when seeking the Lord’s will for a big decision, you probably won’t get an answer from the Lord until you TOTALLY surrender and leave the choice entirely with Him. And even then there could be no answer, which is also an answer. Have a great day!

    • I actually agree with you: in a number of ways I never want to go back to the way I was before my 1st missions trip.

  • I’ve also experienced what you’ve described after a summer missions trip, and one of the things that helped me not to ‘drift’ was to get back into the habit of writing down a daily list of goals to get done (like I had done before I went to Mozambique, but had stopped doing when I got back).

  • It is super awesome you were able to have this experience! God is at work and doing incredible things across the globe. He loves to invite us (His kids) watch or even be a part of His work. 🙂

    Just a few quick thoughts I learned, and a friend shared with me:
    Culture shock coming home always seems more difficult than going! The Father has so much grace for you during this time. If you are able, spend time seeking Him and allowing Him to love you. Know that the season in Latvian was fulfilled- You completed it, and now it is time for the next season. A lot of people have a hard time letting go of their time overseas for many reasons. It’s important to keep looking forward to the future and what’s in front of you now.

    Blocking out time to talk and process your feelings and experience with a few close friends (especially spiritual “shepherds” in your life or someone who has been through a similar experience). God has created us for community, and we really need to lean into encouragement and support from each other.

  • I haven’t been on a long term mission trip, so I didn’t have probably as strong of culture shock as you did, but my advice to you is DO NOT LOSE IT. Do not lose your perspective and desire to do something else. Honestly, it is so hard to keep that fire and passion and not let it fade into just memories and something you want to do again. I’m struggling with it myself, I was gone for a week in June and getting back I was so on fire for God and serving and it slowly faded back into an “American” life. The focus was on me again. we feel so useful on missions and we come home almost disenchanted with normal life, because we truly have seen a taste of something better. I would say (as I think has already been said but oh well) find a few people you can really talk to about it- some people will think they are good stories and that’s it, but there will be a few people that understand. Talk to them about it. & serve. Just serve. Make everything a mission field- school, church, home, etc. Love and Serve and don’t lose that fire and compassion. Sending prayers your way

  • Last winter I went to El Salvador for a missions trip. I can semi understand where your coming from. After getting back I had really bad feelings of guilt, my room was bigger than their house, I just threw away my leftovers while they are starving, etc. I was also missing my new friends an insane amount. It was weird for me to see how some of my relationships here are so shallow while I formed such deep, loving relationships in El Salvador. I think what helped me the most, and it took a few months, was to take what I had learned and try to change my ways. You are a different person, you’ll never be the same again. I tried, and am still trying, to deepen my relationships here. I started sharing my experiences and what I had learned, at church and it really helped me. I think it really takes time to, not necessarily move on, but be able to apply. Also, don’t lose touch. Try writing letters etc, to your new friends. The missions trip I went on was through Compassion International, who lets you sponsor a child one on one, visit that child, write them letters, etc.. So I started sponsoring my own child. Now i am saving money to go and visit her in El Salvador. Hophe some of this made sense or helped in some way. (:

  • Oh. My. Word. You have no idea how much I can relate with you! I went to Burma on a mission trip this last summer for only 2 weeks, and it has RUINED my life…

    Literally. I can’t stop thinking, dreaming, and wanting to be with them! I understand how you feel.

    When I first got back, I sulked and I drowned my misery in tears and writing in my journal. I had to breath it out. I had to get myself together. But in crying every night and looking at their pictures while listening to “The Call” and “A Thousand Years”, that didn’t happen.

    In fact, it actually made things worse! Instead of continuing to use my life for HIS glory, I was using it for my own selfish gain. Everything was ME focused all over again! Yes, it’s good to care for lost people in other countries–that will never be wrong… unless it becomes an idol keeping you from the peace of the Holy Spirit.

    I fell in love with the orphans in Burma, and I’m still in love with them, but I gave that over to the Lord. I laid my dreams and wants at the cross, and He has blessed me with a peace that no new routine can EVER give me! I haven’t stopped loving them. Thinking about them. Or wanting to go back there with them. In fact, I’ve made it my goal to go to nursing school and midwifery (after I finish Algebra, of course), and go back as a missionary!

    I’ve brought all of that to the Lord, and he has been so good!
    I stopped focusing on that and I’ve started looking for ways to bless those around me at home and the life that I was given right now. I know it’s hard when you want to be somewhere else. I know the feeling! But think about it this way…

    God blessed you with a gift, a new car. You love it and are passionate about it. You love God even more and thank Him everyday! You drive everywhere with it and make new friends and are willing to go on ministry work, when before you wouldn’t. You want everyone to know that you own that hot machinery!

    Then, God takes it away for some unknown reason. He gives you your old car back. You loose the passion. You loose all of it. You want the new, pretty car. You forget about God and the love you had for Him. You just want that car.

    How do you think God feels? Can’t you still use your old car? It works, doesn’t it? Why don’t you drive places and bless others in that car, just because it’s not as pretty? God gave you a gift, and you made it an idol.

    I hope this helps a little. God bless you,

    Jazzy @

  • Hi everyone, I have been a missionary to India for 2 1/2 years and to USA for 6 months and to the Philippines, only was there for one month, but worked remotely with them for 6 months. I totally relate with what you say. I have setup television stations that reached millions of people and coming back to Australia to just do normal life felt like a slow torturous death. But through it all God taught me something life changing.
    You see, we need to come to terms with what we truly truly live for in our hearts. If we live for God and not for the ministry or our happiness through ministry, then God can be enough for us. Even when I came back I went into a depression and I could not enjoy even basic things I loved before like being with a friend or shopping. God told me He stripped all those things that I relied on for satisfaction and purpose to show me He is enough for me, truly, truly enough.
    If we live for Him, then He can be enough, even when we don’t seem to have much purpose we can see apart from glorifying Him day by day in the way we behave in society and love people around us If we live for purpose, then we will be distraught when purpose is not clear before us. If we live for the fulfilment that comes from ministry, then we will be devastated when the ministry is taken from us as it has happened to us when we had to delegate and come back home. If we live for ourselves, and our own happiness through achievements, we will be downcast when we are brought low and there does not seem there is much to reach out for at the time. I choose to live for Him, He is enough in the low and the high achievement times, in the times of intense clear purpose and the times of little purpose, He is enough when I don’t have much to achieve before me and I feel like an under-achiever. He is everything to me now. God showed me that if we put our hope for happiness in anything temporal, of this world, then we will be dissapointed somewhere, but if we put our happiness in our relationship with Him alone, then we will be able to go over the dissapointments of this termporal life and find satisfaction and completeness in Him at all times. I know it’s easier said than done, but I have been there at times for years of happniess this way, despite my circumstances and He has proven to me that it is so.

  • Hey all, if you’re looking to stay involved with the people you worked with on your trip, please take a look 🙂

    I work for a company called DonorSee that is bringing complete transparency to giving. Unlike your traditional charity donation, when you give on DonorSee, you are guaranteed to get visual evidence (pics and videos) of how your money helped someone in need.

    Here is a great example:
    People donated to buy this orphanage in Uganda mosquito nets. Only 6 days later, they received videos of these kids celebrating their new mosquito nets.

    We are currently looking for 2 or 3 more people who have returned from a missions trip, and still want to stay involved with helping the people they connected with. Do you have a trusted contact there who could send you pictures and videos? If so, we would you be willing post small, personal projects for their benefit on DonorSee? If you’re interested, send me an email ASAP to [email protected]

    We have found that people MUCH prefer giving to projects under $500, because they know they will see the results in a timely manner. If you post good projects with good follow up, we will put your project in our Staff Picks section and bring you even more donors 🙂


    PS DonorSee was recently featured to millions in National Review:

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →