After a month in Russia, the team will return to the States Thursday night. As you prepare to receive them, here are some things I hope you’ll think about to help the team make the most of this trip.
Here’s flight information for those of you meeting students at the airport:
- Krista, McKenzie and Kalie return to Seattle on July 31 at 9:25 PM on Finnair #5737, operated by American Airlines.
- Thaddaeus returns to Seattle on July 31 at 11:23 PM on Alaska #463.
As the group returns, they’ll continue to think through this experience and its implications for their lives. It’s likely that this mental processing will involve at least some of these elements:
- Relief upon returning to familiar surroundings,
- Frustration with aspects of home culture that appear less desirable than the cultural values experienced during the SPRINT experience,
- Sadness and joy over relationships and memories developed during the trip,
- And hopefully, Resolve to incorporate the learning from this trip into daily life as life moves on.
It’s our hope that SPRINT participants will return to “life as usual” with expanded worldviews and a clearer sense of God’s work in their lives. The learning process continues after the trip experience; students will participate in a debriefing gathering in October, and we’ll encourage them to keep meeting together to share the story of their host’s work and encourage future generations of SPRINT participants to serve.
I encourage you to give your student time to catch up on sleep, then set aside an extended period of time to share pictures and stories. Don’t expect completely-formed opinions immediately; the reflection process takes time. We remind returning SPRINTers that not everyone will have time to hear the whole story, but that they should find a few people with whom to share the longer, more in-depth account.
You might appreciate this perspective on returning to America in a blog post from Emily Brown, a former SPRINTer who spent the past year in Zambia with the Mennonite Central Committee. As Emily looks forward to her own return home she brings up a number of feelings that will also be relevant to SPRINTers in this season. http://emilybrowntozambia.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/the-countdown-begins/
I’ve mailed team members a copy of the Global Citizen Journal, published by the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship to help them think through their experience as they move forward. If you have time I’d encourage you to talk though some of these materials with your student. Take a look at some of those articles here: http://www.kristafoundation.org/index.cfm/page/the-global-citizen-journal-5/
Thanks for your support of students on this team! Please let me know if you have questions.