Short-term missions: Take time to talk about your trip
October 2018

By Josie Oldenburg — I just read an update from John and Susan Edwards, who run a program for missionary interns in Japan.

“This weekend, we had a group Skype chat with our Summer 2018 interns,” they said. “Each of them are struggling a bit with reverse culture shock and with finding God’s next steps for them.”

And that is totally normal.

You get back from your short-term mission trip full of stories. People are interested. You tell the stories. You feel like maybe something significant has happened – but then regular life kicks back in. You’re back to juggling work and school and church and friends and family.

Now it’s been a few weeks, maybe even a few months. Your days look much like they did before your short-term trip, but you have this niggling feeling that you aren’t quite the same.

May I make a suggestion? You need to talk to someone about your trip. Not the someones who just want to hear about the crazy food and the funny story about your language bloopers. Not someone who has five minutes to listen. Someone who can sit down with you and help you process your experience, even if it takes some time.

Someone who can help you formulate a plan for continuing to seek God’s will for your future.

Someone who will stick with you in the coming months, who will keep asking questions and following up with you. This is not a one-and-done type of conversation; rather, it’s an ongoing process of figuring out how God wants to use your short-term mission experience to change you and to direct your steps forward.

These post-trip conversations are so important that the Standards of Excellence in Short-Term Mission includes “comprehensive debriefing” among its best practices.

Here are just a few questions to get you started. Click here to download a free PDF of these and other thought-provoking post-trip questions.

  1. What do you remember most about the people you served?
  2. Tell me about one thing for which you were most thankful to God.
  3. What was the hardest part for you? The most disappointing?
  4. Tell me the most important thing you learned about God and His character.
  5. What did God show you about yourself?

A short mission trip can change how you view yourself, the world, and our God. Our missions coaches can connect you with a great opportunity to serve short-term!

Contact a coach button


Subscribe now to stay up to date on all our recent posts, right to your inbox!

Connect with SEND

Start your missions journey by chatting with a SEND Coach.


Sign up for Explore, our monthly newsletter to help you discover your role in missions. 

Josie Oldenburg
Josie and her family served in Ukraine for 12 years before she joined the SEND US Communications Team.