Debriefing can be embarrassing

Colombia Team Returns


Debriefing is a term that we use a lot in missions life.  Basically it is a time to process and talk about an experience that an individual or a team has had – usually cross cultural.  I’ve been through a lot of different debriefing sessions.  I would generally characterize a typical debriefing situation as intense, emotional, draining and often confrontational.  Team dynamics are brought up, failed or unmet expectations, relational conflicts within the team, culture shock or reverse culture shock, disillusionment, depression, tears, etc. 

Scott likes to joke about debriefing, “What’s the big deal?  You just stand in front of the class, pull your pants down, everyone laughs and you pull them back up.  It’s a little embarassing, but it’s over in a second.”  Hahaha, very funny!

The Colombia team returned last week, and Scott was preparing himself for such a debrief session with them.  All reports we had heard were positive, but this doesn’t necessarily mean anything.   Generally people hold things in and come back carrying emotional baggage.  We were sure each student would have lots that they needed to process about their time with Formando Vidas in Colombia.

We were so wrong!  This team came back in such great shape.  They were all thrilled with their time in Colombia, and all wish they could have stayed longer and have hopes to return at some point.  The ministries they worked with were challenging and they learned and were stretched – but all in a positive way.  The team was excellent at communication and talking through issues as they arose. 

The debrief turned into a time of sharing stories, affirming and encouraging one another.  What a way to end an outreach!  We’re so proud of this team, but even more thankful to God for His mercy and grace.  This is a new, pioneering school and a brand new outreach – there were lots of reasons why this could have gone poorly.  We are thankful to Him and give Him all glory for the success of this field assignment!

Renate on her medical outreach

Renate on her medical outreach

family dinners

family dinners

sweet smiles

Loving kids

“It’s not about helping kids, it’s about changing them… forever.”

-Formando Vidas slogan

What a priviledge to be a part of it!


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