Re-Entry for Russians

Dedicated to Our Russian Staff and Interpreters
Who Serve Us So Well!

Over the years I have seen Americans go though four predictable stages when they return home after a missions trip to Russia. I wonder - do Russians coming to America to visit friends here go through the same four stages? 

You can see the video I’ve prepared for Americans returning from Russia by clicking here

I recommend to Americans that they think through these four stages listed below, then talk about them with others who were on the trip with them. I recommend the same for Russians who have been to America.

1. Exhaustion.

You feel just plain tired and exhausted. And with good reasons. You are dealing with the jet lag of an eight hour time difference. You have just spent a week or more in a different culture, with lots of traveling, emotion, and excitement. So now your energy level is low. You feel exhausted, especially in the late afternoons and evenings. And maybe you aren’t sleeping through the night, which adds to your exhaustion the next day. 
Because of the physical exhaustion, both Americans and Russians report coming down with colds or the flu after a trip. That certainly doesn’t make it any easier to get back into the routines of life!

What to do about it? 

Don’t hesitate to take short naps during the day if possible, especially in the late afternoon. And if you wake up in the middle of the night felling wide awake, don’t just lay their for hours staring into the darkness. Get up and do something. When you get sleepy again, go back to bed. 

2. Depression.

You feel a little down and depressed. You either have negative emotions or a sense of emotional flatness, feeling nothing at all. This is related to the exhaustion of stage one. You have depleted your emotional bank and you are running on empty. You had looked forward to the trip, and enjoyed every minute of it, and now it is over, and that is a letdown. So you feel a little, well, sad. 

What to do about it?

Don’t feel bad about feeling bad! Accept it as normal. Think about the positive experiences you had on your trip, and thank God for them. Think about the people you spent time with who care about you, and thank God for them too. Remind yourself that this sense of sadness will pass.

3. Cultural Anger.

Whenever we visit another country, especially if we are hosted by friends there, we are experiencing the best of that culture. That makes it easy for us to compare it to the problems or shortcomings of our own culture. We can get angry at the weaknesses and shortcomings of our culture. When Americans come home from Russia, I notice that they get angry when they see with new eyes the shortcomings and selfishness of our culture. I expect Russians may experience the same cultural anger when they return home.

What to do about it?

Thank God - you are who you are living where you are! It is no mistake that you were born into your culture. Its the place where God wants to bless you and use you! Remember that all human cultures fall short of the freedom and love of the Kingdom of God! As Paul said in Philippians 4:11, I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. So should we. 

4. Reconciliation.

This final stage is when you get beyond your emotions and are able to commit yourself to fulfill whatever God’s calling is for you where you are. You thank God for the opportunity of your trip, then move on to what is next.

What to do about it?

Commit yourself anew to God’s purpose for your present situation. What does God want to do in you and through you now? What does God have for you next? Remember that as a Christian it is always true that the best is yet to be. You can anticipate good and exciting things in your future as you pray "OK God, what’s next for me?

May God’s blessing be with you as your work through the process of re-entry. 
I look forward to seeing you again, and sharing in what God has next for all of us!


© John Smith 2020