Talk About It
Find someone you respect to debrief with you. Your entire team may schedule a time to share and discuss. Even so, it is wise to debrief on an individual level. Find a respected mentor, pastor or friend and schedule a time to discuss your experiences.
Tell them about what you witnessed and how you felt. If you saw extreme poverty or illness, share those experiences. If there were struggles you went through, discuss those things. Talking through them will help you process. If you are having a difficult time since returning home, share those struggles too.
You might also find it helpful to journal. Writing down your experiences will help you remember them and reflect on what you have learned.
Even Paul and Barnabus saw the benefit of talking about what God had done through them. When they returned to their sending church following their mission journey, they took time to report what God had done. It wasn’t just for their benefit, but for others to be encouraged too.
Real life change often happens during this debrief process. It’s an opportunity to reflect on your personal experiences and how your life has changed. In fact, your mentor may be able to help you with the big questions: “Now what? What does God want me to do with what I have seen and experienced? How will my life be different moving forward? Where can I serve in my current circle of influence?”
Kathy shares about an experience that changed her life:
I didn’t want to leave her. She was just a little girl, living in a one-room abandoned shack in Ecuador. She had no food, no water, and worst of all, no security. Anyone could walk in and do whatever they wanted to her. She had no one to look after her.
I had to leave her there and pray for God to protect her. God was her shield and her protector. Her local church now knew about her situation and they were taking action to help meet her needs. When I let go of her hand, she took a part of my heart with her. From that second, God changed me.
When I returned back to my hotel that evening, I needed to talk to someone. When our group got together to debrief for the day. I shared about the little girl and my teammates gathered to pray for her and for the church who were committed to helping her. It was healthy for me to talk about it and find support from others.
Father, help me learn the things you want me to learn from the trip. Work in my heart. Help me be vulnerable with You and others. Continue changing me and equipping me to be a full-devoted follower.
Think It Through: