THE REENTRY TEAM
CARING FOR YOUR RETURNING MISSIONARIES
Section I: DISCOVERING THE PROBLEM
& THE SOLUTION
One. A Shared Responsibility
Two. A Scriptural Foundation
Three. The Human Dilemma
Section II: REENTRY STORIES
Four. Mission Accomplished
Five. Short-Term Missions
Six. Listen to Me; Please, Listen
Seven. Silly Little Things
Eight.MKs, Third World Kids
Nine. On Furlough
Ten. Home, Not By Choice
Section III: RESOURCES
Index to Reentry Stories
Resources of Emmaus Road
A Scriptural Foundation
“From there they sailed back to Antioch (in Syria) where they had first been commended to the grace of God for the task which they had now completed. When they arrived there they called the church together and reported to them everything about how God had worked with them and how He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. And at Antioch they stayed with the disciples for a good long time…. Paul and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the Word of the Lord, in the company of many fellow-workers” (Acts 14:26-28; 15:35).
The writers of the New Testament continually referred to their Scriptures to give authority to statements they made. Peter, on the Day of Pentecost, quoted from Moses and David several times. Stephen gave a whole history of Judaism. Paul, in establishing the missions process in Romans 10, began by quoting Joel.
Following their good pattern, we wish to lay a Scriptural foundation for this most critical of times in the life of a missionary: REENTRY.
It was in the days of Claudius Caesar. Agabus had prophesied the famine that was now ravaging the Empire. The Christians in Antioch, as each family determined in their heart, had laid in store supplies for the believers in Jerusalem. Now the famine was at its height. Barnabas and Saul accompanied the caravan of food to the Holy City.
Their conversation with the Apostles, no doubt, turned to the words of Jesus: “Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria and the uttermost parts.” Reports of praise made it clear: “You have filled Jerusalem with this Man’s doctrine,” the enemies of Christ testified. Peter had had his rooftop sheet-of-unclean-animals experience in Joppa resulting in the first (recorded) cross-cultural conversion. Cornelius, the Roman Centurion, and many of his relatives had trusted in Christ. Philip, the deacon, and his four prophetess daughters were in Caesarea. And he had had his Ethiopian eunuch experience.
BUT! Who had gone to the uttermost parts? At this point Antioch, where Barnabas and Saul were ministering, was the farthest city to which anyone had gone as a result of the persecution that arose after the martyrdom of Stephen.
Somewhere on their journey back from Jerusalem, Barnabas and Saul must have gotten excited about those regions beyond. For, on their return, the church at Antioch put five men forward to be considered for a mission. Next: Prayer and fasting! Then the Holy Spirit said, “I want Barnabas and Saul. I have a work for them to do.” More prayer and fasting. The church laid their hands on them and sent them out. “So they, being sent forth by the Holy Spirit…” began a two-year missionary venture. (See Acts 11-13.)
However, not only did this church use wisdom in sending out their missionaries, they knew what they needed to do to bring them home. In just four brief verses (which can be overlooked so easily), the five vital issues of reentry are modeled for us:
1) They finished their assignment,
2) They returned to their sending church,
3) They received the church’s hospitality,
4) They rehearsed all that God had done in and through them, and
5) They ministered again in their church.
Because these five phrases can be so simply stated and because they focus on the returning missionary, the work of a reentry care group could be underestimated. Let’s look a bit more closely at each of these five steps to successful reentry.
If you have followed us through these stories, if you have allowed yourself to rejoice in the victories and cry with the hurting, if you have said, “I never understood the significance of reentry on the life of a missionary,” if you have wondered how many more life experiences have been left untold, if you are beginning to wonder about the reentry care of your own missionary friend, then you are on the right track to becoming a compassionate, knowledgeable, and committed caregiver.
I trust you have not looked at these stories from a “clinical” perspective. Rather, that you have allowed them to form the background—the foundation—for the development of a wise and understanding heart. Let them continue to drive you to the Scriptures, for in them are the Words of Life and Truth that will minister care to your missionary friend.
The five steps to a successful reentry are so simply stated in the Word. You are now familiar with them. Use them as the litmus test of your friend’s reentry experience. Help him reenter his home culture well. Study—yes. study and do—the suggestions in the For Further Action sections. Let this be a positive learning and growing time for you, your friend, and the whole church.
And my heart will thrill when you write me with another successful reentry story! To God be all glory! Great things He has done.