Is “Returning Well” for you?

Sep 15, 2020 | 4 comments

You’ve just returned “home” after serving in a culture not your own. But this new “home” does not fully feel like home. Perhaps it is your passport culture that seems more foreign than familiar. Perhaps it is a new-to-you culture that will now become your next home. Either way, you’ve unpacked your bags and bins, and now you are ready to unpack your heart and mind from this most recent season. But how? 

Over a decade ago, our Father put a vision on my heart to create an accessible resource that would guide cross-cultural sojourners of faith through an effective debriefing that leads to a dynamic renewal right where they are, right when they need it. After five years of crafting, field-testing, and polishing, our Father began using Returning Well: Your Guide to Thriving Back “Home” after Serving Cross-Culturally to lead cross-cultural servants like yourself, step by step, along with a companion of their choosing, through the process of a debriefing that leads to renewal so that they may truly thrive in their next season.

Now that coaches and member care specialists serving as Returning Well Companions have been walking alongside those engaging Returning Well for over five years now, we can testify that we have seen Him work powerfully in returnees from all different situations and backgrounds. We have seen Him use Returning Well to help unpack everything from one year of service cross-culturally to 40 years of service and everything in-between. And we have seen Him use it powerfully to debrief those who are returning to their passport culture long-term as well as those who are returning for a home assignment, and even those who are transitioning to a new culture.

“But is it for me?” you may ask.

Are you returning to live in your passport culture after a season of service cross-culturally? 

Then yes, Returning Well is for you!

Listen to the testimony of these returnees in the same position as you:

“I served in Europe for 7 years. Never wanting to leave Europe, it was a difficult transition back. Disoriented, depressed, and feeling hopeless, I began the journey of debriefing and rediscovering myself. This book helped me to slow down and intentionally dive into the key areas that I needed to reevaluate and sort through. The quotes in the margins painted vivid pictures of hope and understanding that my soul connected with. I just finished the book this week and my heart is overflowing with deep gratitude for the priceless gems that I gained from this process.” 

“I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to let you know what a tremendous and timely blessing Returning Well has been for me in this season of readjustment and transition. We did not return to our original sending church or even original state, so we had no formal debrief. However, this book was better than any debriefs we have had in our past returns. The Lord used the resource of Returning Well to bring me into a place of wholeness, congruence, and expectancy in my faith walk, connecting, through His Spirit the past to the future.”

“But,” you may ask, “I am going back to my host culture after home assignment” or “I am moving to serve in a new culture, can I still use Returning Well?” 

Then yes, Returning Well is for you too!

Listen to the testimony of this returnee in the same position as you:

“Both my wife and I feel like your debriefing material has been a key for us in being able to so well move forward into what the Lord now has for us. I needed help to go through my experiences and draw out lessons learned. Returning Well gave me the tool to be intentional and to move forward.”

(If you plan to use Returning Well during your furlough or home assignment, be sure to head over to the Returning Well FAQ page for tips on how to make the most of your engagement of Returning Well. If you plan on using Returning Well to transition to a new host culture, be sure to check out page 6 of Returning Well for how to adapt Returning Well to your situation.)

And so, for those of you wanting to unpack your recent season of life cross-culturally and thrive in the next: I fully believe that this season holds immense value for you. He has given you exquisite treasures of wisdom and experience. Returning Well invites you, a cross-cultural worker of faith in re-entry, into a guided conversation with your Creator that will reveal and apply such wisdom as you reflect on your recent season of cross-cultural service. By following His lead through Returning Well, you will discover how this recent season of cross-cultural service influenced you, how to re-integrate well, and what moving forward in faith means for you.

Melissa Chaplin has served cross-cultural servants for nearly 20 years. She is a Professional Certified Coach through the International Coach Federation and author of Returning Well: Your Guide to Thriving Back “Home” After Serving Cross-Culturally. If you are looking for a Returning Well Companion, check out the debriefing coaching packages at and  

In these uncertain times, cross-cultural workers on a home assignment, furlough, or sabbatical might wonder where to even start. Start here. The Sabbatical Journey Course adapts to any length of sabbatical and is divided into four quarters: rest, refuel, reequip, and refocus. The course closes on Septebember 23rd–enroll today.

Photo by ConvertKiton Unsplash

Melissa Chaplin

Author, Certified Coach, Servant




  1. Tim Austin

    Love this resource of Returning Well. I definitly recommend this for along with debriefing coaching for anyone in transition! Thanks Melissa for all you do to serve the global worker community!

    • Melissa Chaplin

      Thank you for your kind words, Tim! I am so thankful for how He is using Returning Well and also thankful for your and Amy’s service in the global servant community as well!  

  2. Seth

    Is there a place where we can buy a digital copy? We are outside of the US, as I assume many potential readers would be, so shipping isn’t a good option.

    • Melissa Chaplin

      Thanks so much for your question, Seth! The publishing team diligently pursued making Returning Well available in Kindle format, but in the end the layout was too complex for it to be published in Kindle. In attempts to make up for it not being available electronically, Returning Well has been made available at Book Depository with free worldwide shipping. (Also, if it helps, it is often best to begin engaging Returning Well a few weeks to a couple months after transitioning.) Many blessings on your transition!


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