Your returning missionary is most likely trying to process all that they felt and experienced during their trip. They may feel a bit isolated, having absorbed a different culture and perspective while others in the church have not shared in the experience.
Verbalising their thoughts is helpful for them, and can help your church better understand how to support them.
Verbalising thoughts and experiences is helpful
So where do you start? Very simply, by giving the missionary opportunities to talk about what they have seen and heard and experienced.
They will need people to take time to ask questions, listen earnestly and try to understand what they have been through.
If the missionary sent out prayer letters during their time on the field, use those to refresh your memory about what they were involved in and make a note of any people, situations or prayer requests they mentioned.
Refresh your memory about what they were involved in
This should provoke some appropriate follow up questions; it will also indicate that you are sufficiently interested in them to have read what they sent - always a good basis to work from!
Other questions you may find helpful:
Did you enjoy the food? Did you eat anything strange?
What did you like/find challenging about the culture?
Are there any people that you met who really impacted you?
Did you have any experiences that you found really funny/scary/inspiring/unbelievable?
How well do you feel you learned the language?
What needs did you identify among the people?
Were you able to meet any of those needs?
What were the highlights/lowlights of your ministry?
What do you think is the significance of your time overseas?
What lessons did you learn?
Giving time to listen to your missionary could really help the church to identify with what God is doing in mission. After all, we are in this together … aren't we?