This is not a full book review of the book Re-Entry: Making the Transition from Missions to Life at Home , rather just some observations as I read through it. This book was loaned to me by an older missionary couple yesterday. We were talking about furlough the topic of a soon-to-be-released Missionary Talks episode.
Re-Entry: Making The Transition From Missions To Life At Home
The book talks about some of the struggles that missionaries face as they go back to their home culture. While the book focuses on people returning permanently, it also covers missionaries who are only temporarily returning home, such as we will be over the next year. Two things the book mentioned that I thought might be of interest to you have to do with relationships and misunderstandings.
Peter Jordan, the author, mentions that relationships will be different upon return home. Even though a relationship can thrive over distance, often the individuals are no longer as emotionally connected. Our emotional togetherness happens through shared experiences and just spending time with one another.
The missionary and the friend back home have not only been living through different experiences, but through different cultures. We have friends with whom we love to spend hours and hours talking. We would often spend 2 or 3 nights a week with one another talking into the wee hours of the morning when we were in town. We were very connected. While we still have a tight relationship with them, we have also not been a part of their lives for the last four years. When we got a chance to be with them earlier this year I noticed that other mutual friends were now filling in where we used to be.
I became jealous of the fact that we no longer occupied the same space we used to. Of course it is silly to think that your friends are going to not change or build new relationships over a four year period. But multiply this with every friend the missionary has, and you can start to see why re-entry can be stressful for the missionary.
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Things will never be the same as they were. The other thing I wanted to point out is the matter of misunderstandings. The missionary returns home and comments about how things have changed for the worse, or how wonderful things are back home. They have had a chance to grow into the changes a little at a time.
Where we personally had greater frustrations were when we would mention some things that were so great in the US and then hear people complain about that very thing we found to be wonderful. Now, the organization has grown and adapted to better serve the changing face of mission and to reflect our expertise in dealing with all kinds of transition, not just reentry. No matter how often you do it, every workshop is always a unique experience. Do we have all the answers?
No, but we like to think of ourselves as wounded healers. God will do the rest. Click here to see the original article in PDF. Carol shares how the From Mission to Mission transition workshop helped her navigate returning home. From Mission to Mission assists people in their preparation and processing of their cross-cultural, ministerial, and life transitions to continue their Christian call to mission. From Mission to Mission, originally known as F. Over the years more than just our name has changed.
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We have grown and adapted to better serve the changing face of mission and to reflect our expertise in dealing with all kinds of transition, not just re-entry. When I think of my recent experience of participating in the day From Mission to Mission re-entry workshop, the image of an oasis comes to mind. Having left my ministry in Haiti just a couple of months before and having not yet discerned with any sense of certainty what my next ministry would be, the workshop was a refreshing life-giving place on the journey through a difficult time.
Because I had participated in a weekend re-entry workshop with From Mission to Mission many years before, as I was packing up to leave Haiti I was aware that there were factors that would complicate my transition. The unexpectedness with which my work in Haiti ended created rushed and unsaid good-byes. There was not much time to anticipate or even process the reality that after four years and four months of living in Haiti, I was returning to the US, where I would have to face changes that had occurred in the life of my religious congregation among the other more typical challenges of re-entry.
I knew my journey ahead would not be easy. It was consoling to know that From Mission to Mission might offer possibilities for support.
The workshop allowed the difficulties to seem a little less difficult and the grief to feel less painful. All of the information, prayer services, facilitated discussions and the formal aspects of the workshop were very helpful.
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When I think about it though, what really made the workshop for me were the other participants and the facilitators. Being with people who understand, who are or have gone through similar experiences made such a big difference in my re-entry process. I was with a group of people who understood, and while the specific details of their stories were different, their stories were familiar and inspiring. My life was enriched from hearing about their journeys and being in their presence. Laughing and crying together was healing. During the re-entry process, as is common, I had the sense of not feeling quite at home anywhere, yet for those few days there was a sense of belonging and feeling at home.
I am so grateful that I experienced this oasis that refreshed me and provided the energy needed to continue my journey from mission to mission. I pray this New Year be filled with much light, growth and abundant joy! With your love and support, as well as the wisdom of those who have gone before, I am jumping in with both feet and my whole heart.
I had been working full-time at Centro AMAR with women and children involved in prostitution and human trafficking. I had seen, heard and worked through many challenges and triumphs. I had fallen in love with the warm and welcoming local community and the way and pace of life, and leaving was painful.
I returned home wrestling with an array of emotions. I found it essential to connect with others who had been transformed by mission, who crossed borders and cultures, who had seen violence and poverty in a developing nation, and who had experienced community and hospitality differently.
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I needed help figuring out what was next for me. Nothing seemed as important, or as intense and needed as what I was doing in Peru. Since my time in Peru, I have been shaped by marriage and motherhood, working with survivors of domestic violence, young mothers working toward self-sufficiency, selfless social service providers, and for-profit and not-for-profit leaders who put people and mission first everyday.
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I am a learning leader and strive to continue to build a toolbox to do mission-based work well. With this toolbox and a heart for mission, I am committed to leading From Mission to Mission to its future. With your help, I hope to reach more and more people who need our expertise, to find home again within themselves as they navigate major transitions. We have big dreams for expanding our support to missionaries going forward by allowing for greater access to our services through the versification of mediums and the addition of another staff member. It takes a village, and you are ours! We are pleased to announce the hiring of our new Executive Director, Kelli Nelson, who begins her tenure today!
Kelli is from Minnesota and is a nonprofit leader and social entrepreneur dedicated to helping individuals and organizations connect to their missions, create meaning and impact, and do the good that they do well. From Mission to Mission allowed her to more deeply reflect on her life in Peru, and turn the difficulties of returning home into love in action. She has since dedicated herself to helping individuals and organizations connect to their missions, create meaning and impact, and do the good that they do well.
Kelli truly believes FMTM is essential for those it serves, the stories and people it honors, our communities and this world. She brings a true heart for mission, a passion for the work, expertise in non-profit management, and so many great new ideas for our future. We look forward to all that lies ahead.
Before the weekend was over I had already asked her to get involved in the work of FMTM, first as a facilitator and later as a board member. What I witnessed in Kelli was a passion for mission, a great appreciation for the culture where she served, and a deep respect, sensitivity and compassion towards the others in her group. I knew her wisdom and expertise would be a gift to the missioners and volunteers we serve. I could already see that her vision and commitment to justice and mission would inspire others. I am thrilled that Kelli is the next director of From Mission to Mission.
Please make a note of it:. Paul, MN If you would like to send your congratulations and welcome to Kelli, and thanks and farewell to Julie before December 28, :. I loved the people and was so inspired by their faith. FMTM makes a difference for people who usually do not ask for anything for themselves. I have a direction to go.
It was critical for me at this time. Some missionaries have suffered trauma, been kidnapped, robbed, and lived through civil wars and revolutions. As a result, they come home with some heavy baggage. FMTM Re-entry workshops help them process their experiences and bring about healing.