The seventh principle for missions at our church is “Support the Missionary”. I am currently writing several blogs about supporting the missionary.
Thus far, we have looked at (1) Provide proper vetting, (2) Provide people support, (3) Provide preparation support and (4) Provide prayer support. Here is the fifth way of supporting a missionary.
Provide Debriefing Support
Whenever a missionary returns home from a short-term or long-term missionary assignment, whether it is for furlough or end of term, they should go through a debriefing ministry.
Debriefing a missionary means to provide them a time to share about their missionary assignment and to receive counsel and care as they adjust to life back home.
Elijah received a field assignment from the Lord during his tenure as a prophet. Although not a missionary in the current sense of the word, his trials and battles were very similar to the travails and challenges of a current missionary.
After his battle with the prophets of Baal, he needed a time of rest and recuperation. 1 Kings 19:4-8 records this ministry of debriefing before his next assignments. It says the following about his time of debriefing.
“4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, ‘It is enough; now, O LORD, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.’ 5 He lay down and slept under a juniper tree; and behold, there was an angel touching him, and he said to him, ‘Arise, eat.’ 6 Then he looked and behold, there was at his head a bread cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again. 7 The angel of the LORD came again a second time and touched him and said, ‘Arise, eat, because the journey is too great for you.’ 8 So he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God.”
Here are a few things to note about Elijah.
First, even after having success and victory in his field assignment from the Lord, he still had issues. In fact, he was fleeing from one of his issues.
Secondly, he was exhausted after his ministry assignment, so rest and proper sustenance was necessary. Too many returning missionaries fail to rest during their return home. They are far too busy with deputation and visitations.
Thirdly, Elijah needed to be touched by an angel. I take this to mean that he needed some sort of healing from the Lord. Since the scriptures mention no physical wounds, his need was probably for inner healing. Every missionary needs some sort of a ministry of inner healing.
Finally, he went to a place of solitude and refuge to meet the Lord. He eventually received his next ministry assignment from God. Missionaries need times of solace and meditation in order to meet the Lord and receive from him.
This is just a brief look at the fact that missionaries need a time of debriefing upon returning home from their missionary endeavors before returning, being reassigned or remaining home. Too often, missionaries are left to their own devices and do nothing that will bring rest and restoration to their souls.
Something to think about…