When returning to their passport countries, many missionaries have difficulty reentering the culture in which they grew up. They may find it difficult to close the chapter in their life in the host culture and begin the new chapter in their “home” culture. To help with that transition, Ron and Bonnie have done several things growing out of their experiences in about 35 reentry retreats including more than 350 missionaries.
First, they have written Before You Get “Home”: Preparing for Reentry, a book to help missionaries during the last several months of their years of service. It helps them finish their work well and prepare to exit well so that they can enter their passport country well. You can download a copy of this book here.
Second, they have written two books that will help elementary age children reenter their passport country. One book, We’re Going Home: Reentry for Elementary Children, is 100 pages long and written at third grade level. It includes the story of a family with children 6-12 years of age returning to its passport culture. Each chapter has activities such as scrambled words, crossword puzzles, word searches, mazes and codes. The other book, I Don’t Want to Go Home: Parent’s Guide for Reentry for Elementary Children, is a companion book for the parents. Each chapter has information about TCKs in the Bible, children’s TCK issues today, and suggestions to help children reenter well. You can download a copy of these books here.
Third, They have written Coming “Home”: The Reentry Transition to help missionaries after they arrive in their passport country. They wrote this book to use in their reentry retreats, but it can be used by any returning group—and even by individuals or couples. It includes reflection on where they have been, where they are now, and where they are going. You can download it here.
Fourth, they have written Reentry after Short-Term Missionary Service for people who have served for anything from a few weeks to a few years. This is for people who planned to go for a short time and then come “home” to stay as soon as that time was over or their project was finished. These people tend to ask different questions, many about how that term of service fits into their lives and what they do next. You can download it here.
Fifth, because they have been receiving inquiries about the reentry retreats they have facilitated for various agencies, they have decided to offer one-day debriefs (mini-retreats) at GO InterNational in Wilmore, Kentucky. GO International invites missionaries to a one-day debrief for returning missionaries. These debriefs will follow the general theme of Coming “Home”: The Reentry Transition by Ron & Bonnie Koteskey. This book is available free of charge on this website
Why have such a debrief?
After Jesus’ disciples returned from their evangelistic trip and reported to him what they had done, they were besieged by many people coming and going. Jesus said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6). When returning to your passport culture, it is very helpful to spend some time reflecting on where you have been, where you are, and where you are going. This is especially true if, like Naomi returning to her passport country, you say, “I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty” (Ruth 1).
Who is invited to attend this debrief?
The Reentry debrief is for missionaries back from the field for at least a month (six weeks or more is preferred). We have no provision for children or teenagers, so parents are responsible for finding child care at their home.
Where will the debrief be held?
We will meet at the office of Go International, 503 Wilder Reynolds Lane , Wilmore, Kentucky. Lunch is provided.
What is the cost of the debrief?
There is no charge for the debrief itself; it is compliments of GO International.
Where will the participants stay?
Individuals or couples are responsible for arranging and paying for their own transportation (Lexington, KY Airport is 20 miles away), lodging, and breakfasts. Lodging in the $60-80 range per couple (double occupancy, including breakfast) is available at bed and breakfasts in Wilmore. For those who prefer motels, there are several within seven miles in Nicholasville, and within 15 miles in Lexington.
When will the debrief be held?
We will schedule each retreat with each individual or couple at a time available for all.
What is the schedule like?
There is no set schedule, but we usually begin about 9:00 AM and talk about good things that have happened and difficult things that have happened. Following lunch we discuss where the missionaries are (emotionally) and what they see in their future. Those who have printed copies of Coming “Home”: The Reentry Transition, read it thoroughly, and made notes of what they want to discuss usually finish in early afternoon. Those who do not prepare tend to finish later in the day.
Where can I get further information?
About the Author
Ron and Bonnie Koteskey are Member Care Consultants with Go International.
They have provided member care for missionaries since 1997.