To Understand Returnees (7)- When a person feels, “I will come back to this Church.” #1

For the booklet download:  LINK

The previous articles links.


  1. Who Are Returnees?
  2. How can I approach them? –“Are Returnees Space Aliens?” #1
  3. How can I approach them? — “Are Returnees Space Aliens? #2
  4. How can I approach them? — “Are Returnees Space Aliens? #3
  5. How can I approach them? ー”Are Returnees Space Aliens? #4
  6. How can I approach them? ー”Are Returnees Space Aliens? #5


When a person feels, “I will come back to this Church.” #1

Returnees continue to gather at church, grow as a member of the church to be combined as an essential part of the body of Christ and receive blessings. Dedicate themselves. Become a pastor ・ missionary ・ worker for the Lord. God is equipping such resources. It is an awesome work of God. Returnees go back to Japan and visit churches. What are the keys for them to feel, “I will go there again” or “I would like to continue to attend there.” Let’s look at the cases of “I stopped going there because of this.”

Case 3: Ms. C (single woman, saved and baptized in the UK and returned to Japan)

It has been a few years since I returned to Japan. I visited several churches, but currently I am staying away from church. I am an introverted person, not good at expressing what is in my heart, and I had a very tough time to get used to live in the UK and it took me a long time. However, when I got used to, I had many people who had become “lifelong mates.” It was painful for me to leave the UK. Still now I take every chance to exchange emails with my friends in the UK. Upon my return, I visited many churches and tried to get used to it. I am sure about my salvation and I also served at the churches I visited. Yet, when I talk about my experience in the UK, which is very important for me, people at church does not show their interest at all. The impression I receive from their responses are,“Even if you say so, that is about there. Focus on what is in front of you. Forget about the UK. It is useless to talk about it.” That makes me think that I am denied and I feel like I cannot be myself, which makes me stay away from fellowship. I think that my current faith life is OK, and this is the only thing I can do.


Accepting differences

Ms. C’s personality of having difficulty in saying what she thinks seems to be one of the reasons that she was not able to come to stay at church. English Christians accepted Ms. C of few words with tolerance. They understood and loved her. However, the brethren in her home country treats her differently (refer to the sentences with dotted underline). They indicate to her with or without words that she cannot be accepted unless she becomes like them. Yet, what would have happened if they treated her with an attitude of, “It is OK for you to miss theUK all the time, you do not have to be the same as us.”? Ms. C would have not felt like she was denied. How can we treat people in such a way?


For accepting differences ~~~Always the case with reverse culture shock…Twitting by returnees lasts 6 months in average.

Not all returnees keep talking about the life outside Japan for a long time like Ms. C, but more or less, every returnee will have a similar tendency. They have reasons to talk about their overseas experience. One of them is that their experience as Christian is only from outside Japan. Another reason is that is a form of reverse culture shock which every returnee goes through.

When people live in a different country ・language ・ culture zone, human being goes through the following 4 steps; (1) “excited: feeling like a tourist,” (2) anger or escape: what are these local people!? Or avoid having contacts with people,” (3) “depression: I cannot be like the people in this country no matter how hard I try,” (4) “Calmness: I can be myself.”

When Japanese go overseas, these are the 4 steps they have to struggle to go through, and eventually they get used to the life of the local area. Then when they return to Japan, they repeat the same process. Yet, that shock tends to be bigger than the one that they experienced when they went abroad because when they go abroad they are prepared to go somewhere with different culture to a certain extent, but when they return to Japan, they are often unguarded. Since they are returning to where they were familiar with, born and raised, they do not feel any worries, yet with that in their mind, when they actually return to Japan, their ideas and values are largely affected by that of the overseas culture and are not like that of their home country, which is shocking to them. In that process, there are some words and attitudes that may be difficult for “standard” Japanese to understand, but they gradually get used to the life in Japan naturally. It is just impossible to go back to how they were before they left Japan, and they settled “himself/herself who has overseas experience.” Even though there is some range for that period depending on a person, usually people calm down in 6 months after going through the following 4 processes; “excited: returned to Japan! I can eat nigirizushi and anything I like whenever I want to eat and as much as I want!,” anger or escape: why does not my friend understand me? (since there are some areas that only people who have overseas experience can understand.),” “depression: I became an “eccentric person.” I cannot fit in the society in Japan.” and “calmness: it is OK even some people think I am strange. I had good experience overseas and live and let live.”

In the process of reverse culture shock, these returnees held back when they are treated like Ms. C, as she was said, “Even if you say so, that is about there. Focus on what is in front of you. Forget about the UK. It is useless to talk about it.” Even if you want to say such things, please bite back and just accept them saying, “Oh, I see. That is great. That is right.” In this way, they can feel, “I am accepted. What I experienced there was still good.” And can stay in the fellowship.

To be continued….



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