What Missionaries Ought to Know about Premature Departure from the Field

  • Approximate Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Partner: MissionaryCare.com

What Missionaries Ought to know… does not mean that the author sat down and decided what missionaries ought to know, but that missionaries themselves asked about these topics. During the author’s 35 years of college teaching he learned that if one person asks a question, others probably want to know the same thing—and if two people ask, it was certainly a topic that others need to know about. These are things missionaries need to know because several missionaries have asked about each of them at one time or another.

To read more from the What Missionaries Ought to Know series

Partner: MissionaryCare.com

Resource Description


Dave and Mary arrived back in their passport country with a sigh of relief. The political turmoil and threat of violence were over, and their children were safely back in school. They had planned to stay in their host country four years, but their agency required them to come home after only a year because of the danger.

Unfortunately, within a few weeks different stresses were plaguing Dave and Mary. They felt unneeded, sad, and guilty. Other people did not understand, and they really did not fit well back in their home community. Such a premature departure from the field is often much more difficult than a return at the end of a person’s commitment.

Premature departures have been occurring for thousands of years, so let us consider some in the Bible. What are reasons for leaving, who is affected, what emotions may arise, and what can people do?


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