How Family and Friends Can Help
How Can Family and Close Friends Help the Returning Family?
by Beth Reese
1. Recognize that the missionary family has mixed feelings about being here. As excited as they are to be with you whom they have missed dearly, they also are missing those they have left behind.
2. Be at the airport when they arrive. Show your love and support.
3. Fix their favorite American foods they may have missed or take them out to their favorite places.
4. At the same time, find a balance, and try not to be overwhelming.
5. After the initial welcoming home phase, for those who live in the same area, try not to expect your missionary family to always want to spend all of their free time with you.
6. Let your missionary family make their own decisions about how they spend holidays without a lot of pressure from you. Invitations are great; pressure or retribution is not.
7. Listen to the stories your missionary wants to tell. Encourage them to tell you about their friends in their mission country.
8. Be a servant for the Lord. Offer help in getting the family involved in family, church, local events, but be willing to let them decide if they want to or not.
9. Help in making contacts for what interests the missionary family. (home schooling)
10. Be prepared for tears, emotions. Don’t take them personally.
11. Don’t make the missionary feel guilty for all the events they have missed while they have been away.
12. Be willing to have family discussions with kindness to determine what each individual needs and wants in the new relationships.
13. Realize that your missionary family has had to become a self-sufficient unit on the field. Quote from a recently returned missionary wife:
What has been the hardest thing about your reentry experience?
"Getting family to understand that just because they were thrilled we were home, we weren’t and we need space and time to adjust our family to living here. They tried to push us in finding a church family when all we wanted to do was spend time as a family."