Hannah M. has been on two mission teams with VisionTrust, one to Zimbabwe and one to Brazil. After returning from her most recent trip, she shared with us her insights on what it’s like to return home from a short-term team.
One of the most frequently asked questions people have when I return from a mission trip is, “What was the hardest part for you?” Well, it just so happens that I recently got back from a short-term mission trip so let me tell you:
Leaving my home is hard.
Seeing other ways of life can be harder.
But coming back home after it all is the absolute hardest.
Many are surprised by that answer. Wouldn’t coming home be the easiest part? Coming back to comfort, normalcy, and family should be simple right? How could that be the hardest task of a mission trip? Let me explain.
It’s hard to come back to my reality and leave the beautiful new people I met in theirs. Knowing that I may never see their joyful faces again hurts. It’s hard to come back to a life that has kept going while I was gone—even if I was only away for a short time. Seeing wealth and abundance everywhere is hard. And it’s hard to come home to people who don’t understand what it’s like to have the experience that I did, to people that may not fully care what happened on the trip or understand how 10 days could so radically change me.
But there is something that I have come to realize. It’s hard because it matters. As hard as it is, it’s so incredibly worth it. Jesus makes it worth it. He makes it matter. He is the one that makes it all possible. Without Him I would never be able to make lasting impact—in the places I go, the people I meet, or myself. He shows me that He is just as much the God of people halfway around the world as He is of me. He ensures me that He is so much bigger than I am. He enables me to go into a new culture to be His hands and feet and realize it can change me just as much (if not more) than the people I have traveled to. He is able to touch hearts and minds in ways I never thought possible, but now can’t picture how they were before.
So yes, leaving, seeing and coming back is hard, but needed. These people are worth it. They change lives and it’s all because they matter. Jesus matters. He makes it worth it.