Missionary conversations: part 1
Listen to some missionaries talk about social losses they experienced when they returned to their home country for home assignment (furlough)
N: I found very much coming back to Australia there, there really isn’t the social network that we fit into at all … We’re in transition from being people who were supported within the church organization and in a very special way and now have ceased our official and formal arrangement with our, our sending organization, there really are very big gaps in the group of people that we have around us, the group of people that we knew for instance. We have people that were very much our friends many years ago and for a whole range of reasons are, are much more distant. . . . There’s an overwhelming sense of isolation.
T: They [the community] just think it was a great experience and a great adventure. So, yeah I find that a bit hard, it’s sometimes quite hard to explain it to people. . . . ’Cos they just don’t quite get it and you don’t want . . . to put people down and make them feel silly for how they perceive it, so . . . they’re right, in that I guess it was a great experience and adventure, but that wasn’t all that it was.
B: The people who we were relating to are now someone different, who thinks differently, and operates differently and . . . and that’s taken a bit of getting used to.
G: . . . it’s [role change] going to take a while longer to work out, you know; whether they’ll [the organization] (pause) . . . feel like I can be of any use for anything. I don’t know.
From “Back Home: a qualitative study exploring re-entering cross-cultural missionary aid workers’ loss and grief” Published in Omega 59:1 2008-2009