Intermissionary Chamonix wrapped up a week ago, and I'm still processing just how rich and sweet and surprising and humbling it was. I'll write more about all that later, so stay tuned.
For now, let me roll an Intermissionary Chamonix 2018 highlight reel.
The more retreats we do, the more I'm convinced there are two major traps missionaries and global aid workers fall into as they head "home" - pitfalls that could be avoided with a little awareness and planning.
Isolation and Resentment.
#1 Isolation: If you've been working in Africa, Asia or Central America, it's generally true that people in those nations/cultures operate very differently from people in Western culture - particularly in the area of community. You've probably grown quite used to sharing meals, sharing resources, long all-hours chats, a shared vision, shared workload, and warm, regular invitations to be together with extended families and friends. This is normal.
Then you get home and it takes three weeks to get on someone's calendar for coffee.
It's like you've spent five years working in the first century church, where all the believers were together and had everything in common. Then you got off a plane and wound up in the 21st century church where you see people on Sundays, exchange a few words ("busy" is usually one of them) and then go eat lunch by yourself.
No wonder that hurts!
At Intermissionary, we believe that group debriefing is critical for this exact reason. We talk about the pain of isolation and prepare for it, but we do it together where people can say aloud, "I thought I was the only one."
That's the enemy's favorite trick - don't fall for it. Prepare for it.
#2 Resentment. It's been said that all resentment is the result of unmet expectations. The problem is, without proper airing and evaluation, those expectations linger and fuel more resentment, which is nothing but poison. At Intermissionary, we interrupt that pattern.
Maybe a colleague, an organization, or even you, have let you down in some way. This is totally normal and if it's bothering you, you're not crazy, but you need to do something with it.
At Intermissionary, we also provide ample 1:1 time with a professional listener who will ask good questions about your resentments and allow you to ventilate and evaluate them privately.
We call these resentments landmines and some of them are dangerous. You do not want to bring them into your next season, so we set out to find and explode them. Then we ask the Holy Spirit to bring the truth and seal it on the site of the bomb blast.
It's pretty simple, but it works.
Of course, part of the Intermissionary magic is where the retreats are held. We pick the highest, coolest mountain locations we can find, so that you can get quiet and be amazed by the creative, expansive love of God on display.
You don't need to hear from us as much as you need to hear from Him and the mountains make that easy.
Our next retreat is in Bozeman, Montana, September 16-22. If you've been working outside your passport nation for 6+ months and could use a hand reentering it, join us.
If you want to a missionary or global aid worker get to Intermissionary, you can do that by donating to the Intermissionary Scholarship Fund.