Five things not to say to people returning from the mission field:
5. "Bless your heart. I know you
have got to be so glad to be home."
Believe it or not many people (if not most) who serve overseas actually
enjoy it. While they are grateful to reconnect with people they’ve missed, they
also left behind people they love. Their homecoming is usually bittersweet – in
other words, the answer to your question is yes. And no.
4. "I bet
you’re glad to get American food!"
While missionaries miss the comforts
of home and often the food, many return home to be overwhelmed by the massive
amounts of food and the plethora of food choices. While thankful, many are also
saddened because they have met people who don’t know where their next meal will
come from. They may be offended by your constant complaining about the meal
taking too long, or there being nothing to eat in the fridge. Don’t take this personal
– they are just remembering the faces of those who are less fortunate and seeking
to find balance between the world they’ve left behind and their current home.
you glad to be home with your family?"
Really? Don’t you already know the answer to this one! Most are thankful
to see their families again, but this too can also be a stressor for returning
missionaries. While they love and cherish their families, they have returned
home a different person than the one that left. Families expect the missionary
to be the same as before, and they are not. All family members struggle to understand
each other. Pray that God will use these reunions to draw families closer, and
not further apart.
2. "I can’t wait to hear all about your trip."
First of all, don’t say this if someone has been gone for longer than a few months. They haven’t been on a trip.
They’ve been living somewhere else. Lots of people say this when they really
don’t want to hear about the missionary’s work. Take time to listen and learn
from the missionary. Ask questions about the nature of their work, how you can
pray for the people left behind, and how you can pray for the missionary during
this time of transition.
1. "Now you can get a real job."
This implies that somehow the work they’ve been doing overseas isn’t “real
work.” This is very offensive to people who have made great sacrifices for the
sake of the gospel, often working harder than ever before.