Okay, so you probably know yourself well enough to determine whether you are going to be an emotional basket case when you return. You have a newly realized, acute awareness that North America is no longer your home.You have left good friends behind, and when you think of their plight you may cry and grieve the distance.
But you will also come to grips with the fact that you are in an eternal relationship with people and would never just say, “Oh, at one time that was a part of my life, some idealistic pragmatic church growth humanitarian thing . . .” NO! You are in eternal community and love your new brothers and sisters. You will always pray for them, you will continue to write them, and hopefully
you’ll be able to make a return visit.
3. Be an Ambassador
You still identify with your homeland, but you have now developed another sense of who you are. It has possibly accelerated the process that we all go through as Christians (and as humans)—that is, realizing where our true sense of place, of home, is.
You are not just an ambassador of your home country. You are an ambassador of the kingdom of God. You took into another culture the traditions of Christianity, which goes against the grain in many countries. You represented not only the kingdom, but also its King.
The Story of Babel Still Rings True
“If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” (Genesis 11:6–7, NIV)
In many mission situations the comment is made, “We all speak a different language, but share the same God.” Or, "One day we will all sing and praise Him in the same language.”
Yes, it is a sweet thing to know that God is above culture, and a sweeter thing still to know that one day we will all speak the same language. There will be no miscommunication, no cultural barriers, no preformed ideas, and no ethnocentrism. More important, one day there will be no pride. According to Genesis, pride got us into that mess. According to Jesus, only humility will get us out. There are many different languages and cultures in the world, and you as a short-term missionary just attempted to break the barrier put in place by Babel for the sake of the gospel. You sacrificed time, comfort, and your life on “foreign soil” to follow the Great Commission.