You did it! You just spent time in a foreign country on a mission trip helping others and bringing the Word of God to them. You survived the culture shock of living a new and different lifestyle in a culture that was unfamiliar. Your goal has been met and you are on your way home. You are excited to tell your family and friends about your experience, but you also start feeling a bit sad about those you left behind. Anxiety starts to build up and you begin questioning if home will feel the same as it did when you left. It is normal to go through a reintegration process, or reverse culture shock, when you are returning home from the mission field.
When you first arrived on your mission, you were unfamiliar with the culture, people and customs of the country you were in. You slowly became more comfortable and developed relationships, routines and a new familiarity with all of your senses. You adjusted to the culture and it eventually became your territory and your home. Your memories of the home you left behind were the good ones, the ones that made you feel happy and secure.
As the close of your mission begins drawing near, mixed emotions may begin to arise. You will miss your new friends, your favorite foods, the beauty of the landscape where you lived, the smells of the community and the touch of the familiar terrain. Upon arrival home, you want to feel validated in knowing that you helped someone and that you will be missed.
You will especially want to share your experience with your friends and family and communicate to them how it changed you as a human being. Sometimes this can be overwhelming and the way you remember things when you left is not exactly how they are when you return. You are different, the profound effect that your work had on you has changed you in ways that are sometimes hard to put in words. What you thought would be as easy as returning home from a 2-week vacation, now becomes a reintegration into a society that you may feel somewhat disconnected from.
You will be able to adjust, just as you did when you arrived at your mission destination. You have brought the love of God to many others who ultimately may never have known Him and were blessed to establish new relationships and create memories to last a life time. Take it slowly, pray about it, develop a new routine and remember you have made a difference in the world!