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Is Your Missionary Out of Touch?

How to help your missionary friend avoid those awkward home culture faux pars!

You might think the recently returned missionary at your church has terrible fashion sense, and seems generally clueless about ‘normal life’.  You might be right!  When someone has been living in a totally different culture for two or three years at a time, they are going to have some big blanks when it comes to popular culture and what’s trending at home. 

I remember arriving back in Australia from India in the mid-noughties and being so confused about Kath and Kim. People were laughing about Kath and Kim, mimicking them, quoting them.  But me – never heard of them! 
What to wear and how to wear it.  The latest music. Church trends. Tech gadgets.  Road rules.  Coming back into your home culture can be just as tricky as moving to a new culture, except you might be judged a bit more harshly at home!  It can be hard to navigate, and some missionaries might be inclined to stick with their comfy and strange “other” clothes and ways.
So how can those of us that love and support missionaries help them slip more easily back into Aussie life each time they come home? Here’s two ideas:

Make a ‘Welcome Home’ Scrapbook
Capture all the tips and news you think might be interesting and helpful in a book that you can give to the missionary when they arrive home. If you love a bit of hands on activity, make it a physical book.  If you’d rather tap on your keyboard, make a digital creation. 
Send “Local News” Emails
By compiling topical news from home into an entertaining newsy email a few times a year, you’ll be keeping your missionary friend up to date while they are still overseas. 
Either way, you could include things like:

  • News headlines from your local area or city
  • What’s been happening in your church
  • TV show and movie reviews
  • New shops
  • What’s in fashion
  • Changes to public transport and roads
  • Funny videos trending
  • New restaurants and cafes in town
  • What kids are putting in their school lunch boxes
Think about who the missionary is, and what they like, and then let your imagination fly! If you are not sure what to include, why not ask them what they are interested in.
Give it a try, and you may find that as well as being kind and helpful, you have a whole lot of fun in the process.



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