Seven Things To Do When You Arrive Home From Your Mission Trip


It’s been two weeks since our family arrived home from our trip to Guatemala.  Returning home isn’t always easy.  On one hand, we were all excited to be back in the comforts of our own home and back with our friends.  On the other hand, we also craved a continuation of our experience in Guatemala.  We miss the friends, the scenery, and the pace of life in Guatemala.

When you come home from a short-term mission trip, there are several important steps to help you get the most out of your experience.  Jumping right back into the swing of things at home without taking these seven actions will minimize the overall effectiveness of your trip.

Seven Things To Do When You Arrive Home From Your Mission Trip

  1. Unpack.  You can’t leave your suitcase full of dirty clothes and souvenirs forever.  Empty your suitcase.  Do the laundry.  And take the souvenirs out of the bags.
  2. Take time to process your experience.  Coming back from a short-term mission trip is different for everyone.  There is little doubt you saw and experienced things that were very different, eye-opening, and challenging.  Don’t waste this experience.  Write down your thoughts and feelings.  In a way, this is simply a continuation of step one.  You need to take time to unpack your trip from a mental, emotional, and spiritual perspective.  This may take a few days, a few weeks, or even longer.  Part of the reason I blog about my trips to Guatemala is because it gives me time to process what I just experienced.
  3. Get re-acclimated to life at home.  When you arrive home, you have to remember the responsibilities waiting for you.  For example, I had to get back to work, and I had to pay bills.  The transition isn’t always easy, but it’s an important part of returning home.  Unless you are planning to become a full-time missionary, you have to get back into the swing of things.  Give yourself time for this as well.  It took me a solid week to feel like I had my energy and rhythm back after we returned from Guatemala.
  4. Determine how you will live differently as a result of your experience.  How did your short-term mission trip impact you?  Don’t let it go to waste.  Our family eats rice and beans once a week to remind us of our experience, our Guatemalan friends, and the people we served in Guatemala.  Our prayer life has changed as well.  We now include Dave Sgro, GO! Ministries, German & Susie Espana, and multiple families and individuals in our conversations with God.  More than likely, you will be challenged to reconsider your priorities when you come home from a mission trip.  Don’t wait to long to make these changes.  If you wait too long, you will slip back into life as you knew it before the trip.  One of the biggest things a short-term missions trip will do for you is to help you establish a mission mindset right where you are.  By going someplace else to serve God and others, your eyes will be opened to the spiritual and physical needs right where you live.
  5. Tell others about your trip.  I have had so many opportunities to share with others about our trip.  Show off your pictures.  Tell your stories.  I’ve been able to share a lot about my trip through Facebook, my blog, and just by talking to people.  You will be surprised by the number of people who really are interested to hear what you have to say.
  6. Start planning for the next trip.  A short-term missions trip doesn’t have to be a once and done experience.  Going on a short-term missions trip on a regular basis has many benefits.  First, you get to help other people.  This is the goal of most people when they go on mission trips.  Second, it changes you positively over time.  We live in a big, big world, and it’s important to see life outside our little boxes.  Finally, there is a recalibration that takes place when you decide to go on mission trips on a regular basis.  This is healthy.  It’s also a great way to leave a legacy.
  7. Invite others to join you on your next trip.  Sometimes your friends, family, and co-workers simply need a little encouragement from you to take a step of faith and to sign up for a mission trip.  Your story and your invitation will always be the most effective way to get others involved.  Simply ask.  So here’s my question:  Will you join me on my next trip to Guatemala? (More details to follow.)

Have you ever been on a short-term mission trip?  What was your experience like when you arrived home?