As my wife leaves for a six day adventure trip with 8 girls, and I prepare to leave for a four day mt. bike trip with six or seven young men the following week, we recognize these patterns all to well. Thank you for articulating them, and giving us some tools to use to counteract the first three.
Question 31: Did you
lie in answering any of the previous questions?
4 Re-entry patterns
- Alienation: “I can’t relate to anything I
experienced – I’m going to dismiss it all as a bad dream.”
- Condemnation: “Americans are so materialistic and
spoiled. I can’t believe what a
mess they are.”
- Reversion: “I know the experience impacted me, but
this old lifestyle of mine is calling my name right now.”
- Integration: “I see my experience overseas for what
it was and recognize the lessons it taught me – I’m making changes to my
Next blog: How debriefs make a difference
I really loved your blog on debriefing. I lead mission teams for a large church in a very little town in Oregon. I am a 38 year old wife of 19 years and mom of three and I have been doing this for over 5 years. I have had help from my brother to help with the male leadership and I with the female. But in years past our teams have grown too big and we have had to run our own. I lead 21 to Guatemala this last summer for a third year in a row. I struggle with being a good and effective leader for all ages and sex on these teams with being a woman. Unfortunately there is not a lot of books or people I know or have heard is doing what I am trying to do. My biggest problem on the trips is the debriefing time. It is the most critical moment on the trip that will make or break the experience. I really appreciate your words as they are big help to me and I plan on taking notes from your blog and implement them into next summers mission trip. I did have one question what do you debrief on marriage prior to depart. I am interested in what way do you teach on that subject. This is important to me because two years in a row now I have had married couples attend these trips and two couples from two seperate teams ended up leaving each other 2 weeks back from the field and divorced months later. My sadness for this has made me rewrite my apps and interview each applicant to make sure marriages are healthy. Unfortunately later I have found these marriages were not healthy but, they stated they were so they could attend the trip. The trip put them both over the edge on the field because they foundation of their marriages were in shambles but unknown to anyone at the time. I am worried for this again and how I can get better skilled to watch for the signs and even better to teach on it as it looks like this is part of your pre brief program. Thanks for reading my long note. Thanks again. Leslie
Yeah, tough stuff. You aren’t responsible for their messed up lives. Ideally the couple would go together. But if that can’t happen and you want to do a great job of pastoring them, then interview them individually in advance. Tell your own story of pain (which you have to get in touch with first) and your vulnerability may help unlock whatever brokenness they are trying to hide.
At the end of the day, a good STM will challenge a person’s value system and wreck their life, exposing the flawed foundations they’ve been building on. What they do with that revelation is a function of discipleship. STMs need to be not just another event on the calendar, but a key part of an ongoing discipleship experience.
So if you want to take responsibility for something, take responsibility for that. Don’t take people on STMs whom you’re not discipling.
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