A week and a half ago, our latest Discipleship Training School graduated. The teams were excellent working cross-culturally and their ministry was fruitful. They saw new cultures, ate new foods, ordered that food without speaking the local language, learned to navigate foreign transportation systems, and saw God use their efforts to draw people to Himself.
Now, they are in transition – some to familiar communities, others to new adventures. For all, it will take time and intentionality to process their cross-cultural experience and apply the Biblical truth they have learned. To do this they need you. How can you walk with your child, your friend, and your church member as they return from their Discipleship Training School? Here are a couple thoughts:
Create a Memory: A great way to get off on the right foot in transition is to have a shared experience that will be memorable for all involved. Go camping and leave the phones at home. Have a surprise welcome back dinner with friends and family. Cook an ethnic dinner from their outreach location with them.
Show your interest: Don’t be shy about the questions you ask. Your returning YWAM’er wants to share about their experiences and how the transition home has been, but it can be difficult to know who to share it with and, even, how to put words to their experiences. Take them out for coffee or take a walk and ask them specific questions. Try these on for size:
“How did your trust in God grow?”
“What stretched you out of your comfort zone?”
“What are 2 ways God revealed himself to you?”
Fill them in: What have been your highlights and lowlights over the last 6 months? What’s the family/church news? How can they be praying for you? Even if it’s old news to you, it is new for them and will help them get up to speed.
Aim for integration: There are 2 enemies of transition. Isolation and Imitation. Some isolate themselves to pull away from the stress of transition. Others imitate their new surroundings, they try to resume life as if nothing happened. Integration happens when someone is able to apply what they have learned to their current context. Encourage and challenge them to apply what they have learned to see God use them here and now.
Over the past 6 months, each individual has changed. Their values have changed. What they think is important has changed. The way they see God is different, so is the way they see themselves and the world around them. It will take intentionality for them to take the Biblical values they have learned and apply them to their current environment. At times, they will succeed and at times they will fail. In either case, they will need your prayers, encouragement, feedback, and support.