My son returned to the United States recently from living four years on the mission field. Needless to say, he came home to mom and dad’s house with a depleted bank account and a temporary job. Fortunately, he is a young, single man with no obligations other than himself. Other missionaries return home with families to consider.When we lived in Florida, our home church supported an organization that helped returning missionaries. They provided temporary housing, clothing, food, furniture, and more, to help the family get a start back in the United States. But those types of organizations are not everywhere; and as the body of Christ, we need to consider how we can help.
1. Host a fundraiser.
When our church family realized our son would be returning, they hosted several fundraisers on his behalf. The money from those events helped him to purchase a car when he returned.
2. Provide a place to live.
If you have a rental available or a vacation home, consider lending it to the returning family. Waiving the rent, or greatly reducing it, for at least six months would be an added benefit.
Maybe you don’t own any property but you have an empty motorhome in your back yard, an empty basement, or a guest suite as part of your home. Places like these would make great temporary housing until the person could find something more permanent.
3. Loan them a vehicle.
Missionaries rarely come home to a car in the garage. In fact, buying one was the first thing on my son’s priority list. Since he was living at home, he could use mine until he found one, so that was an option. Perhaps you have more cars than drivers in your home and could loan one to a returning missionary. You could also consider giving it away.
4. Hire them!
If you own a business, could you use an extra set of hands? My oldest son got a temporary job with his company for his brother before he even came home. He needs something permanent by the first of the year. But through word-of-mouth, and people who care, he’s had three offers so far.
Maybe you don’t own a business or aren’t in a position to hire someone right now; but you probably know someone who knows someone who could help. Talk about it. Let your connections know that this person needs a job.
5. Buy them some clothing.
Chances are your missionary friend was not ministering in the same climate as his home. A person returning from a tropical climate might need long-sleeved clothing, sweaters, or even a winter coat. They might need clothes suitable for job interviews or office attire for the job they could potentially secure.
6. Stock their pantry.
Once your missionary friend settles into their own place, their pantry will need stocked. But the change in diet from the third-world to typical American cuisine is another big adjustment. Keep that in mind when taking over groceries. Beans, rice, fresh vegetables, and good meat in moderation are what they need; not frozen dinners, boxed meals, or those foods laden with fat and sugar.
7. Pray for them.
Missionaries returning from a third-world country to the United States go through a huge adjustment period. The culture shock is worse coming home than it is leaving in the first place. Our pastor’s wife was unable to handle the typical Christmas season in the States after her first mission trip. Your returning missionary needs your prayer support.
These are just a few things that come to mind, but I’m sure there are other ways that your returning missionary could use your support.