Five Annoying Things People Say to Returning Missionaries

Five Annoying Things People Say to Returning Missionaries

…And your guide to avoiding them.

“How does it feel to be home?” Well, I actually don’t know what “home” means. The place I’ve lived longest? The place I live now? The country of my birth? Do I spin a wheel to select one of my fifteen houses as home? Also, “How do you feel to be somewhere” is an extremely ambiguous question. You try answering how it feels to be home. Specific questions are much easier to answer.

“Say something in Spanish (Mandarin, Portuguese, French, whatever) for me.” This request is a cue for my brain to go completely blank, in all the languages I know. Again, being specific helps. Try, “How do you say, ‘I have a large wart on my nose’ in Spanish?” That I can answer.

“I know just how you feel. I spent three months in another country and left my heart there.” Hahahahahaha, no. No you don’t. You were just in the first days of the honeymoon stage, honey. You don’t have any idea. Why don’t you simply express your admiration for the other country without pretending you know exactly what the missionary feels like.

“So, are you adjusted yet?” Tell me, what exactly is this “adjusted” you speak of? Am I used to having green grass and pure white walls everywhere I look? Is my heart done missing the country I left? Am I no longer overwhelmed by large crowds of Americans doing ‘Merican things? Explain. You could try saying something like, “How is the job search going?” or “Are you enjoying your new house?”

Any degrading comment about the country they’ve come from- bland food, annoying “natives”, dumb culture, whatever. You know how it is when someone criticizes your family? They might annoy you to no end, but let any outsider say a bad word against them, and your hackles will rise and your teeth will bare. It’s sort of the same feeling when you criticize their chosen country. Besides, many of those remarks are born out of ignorance, so take Proverbs to heart and look wise by keeping your mouth shut.

Scared to talk to returning missionaries yet? 🙂 Don’t be. If you say the wrong thing, don’t worry, they’ve probably heard it a dozen times before, and they won’t despise you for it.

9 thoughts on “Five Annoying Things People Say to Returning Missionaries

  1. Yes yes and yes to all the above. Especially since we just moved to Virginia in March. Everybody wants to know if we adjusted yet? I don’t know because I don’t know if I was ever adjusted in this life. But we are used to living here. One more thing is that in whatever country you are you are the rich people and they actually want your castoff clothes and then when you get to the states you get to pick through everybody’s things and end up with a lot of stuff that you can’t pass on because nobody would like it.

    1. Being adjusted is such a vague concept, it’s very difficult to pin down. And yes, about the old stuff. Oh, I have a story along that line. Last time we were getting ready to move back to the States, some of my siblings were up here already getting our house ready for us. Somebody messaged Daniel and said that oh, they just wanted to let us know that they took one of our beds that we had in storage. Say What?? I guess returning missionaries don’t need idle comforts such as beds? There was nothing to do but laugh or cry, so they laughed long. Rosie wrote a juicy email to the family which included that incident, and accidentally sent it to a friend as well. The friend was filled with righteous anger, and promptly went and bought us a brand new bed. 😀 So I guess it all worked out pretty well. Haha

  2. Yes! You’re right on! Another really awkward question that I get every time I visit the states is, “How’s Haiti?” I have absolutely no clue what they’re asking when they say that.

    1. I’d be ready with some Haiti facts like “Oh, Haiti has a population of 10,856,651 and is 10,714 square miles. The GDP per capita is currently $739.60” then smile sweetly and feign shock and awe that that’s not what they were asking about. 😉

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