My name is Kelli Nelson, and I am the Executive Director of From Mission to Mission. We are a small, essential ministry that supports volunteers and missionaries in their preparation for and the processing of their mission experiences once they return. We are called to mission through our baptism, and we exist to support those who respond to this call and have gone out in service of God and God’s people. We have served both lay and religious missionaries who have served anywhere from a few weeks to 65+ years since 1980 through retreats, workshops, our publications, and consultations.
From Mission to Mission assists people in the preparation and processing of their cross-cultural, ministerial, and life transitions to continue their Christian call to mission.
From Mission to Mission was started in 1980 by missioners who had served around the world, and upon returning “home” found their re-entry the most difficult part of their experience. We use the name From Mission to Mission to reflect our belief that mission doesn’t end when you return to your home culture and in recognition that those who serve domestically and for any amount of time struggle with re-entry as well.
We have been proudly serving religious and lay women and men all over the U.S. with our workshops, resources, consultations, and publications for 40 years, and look forward to the next 40!
I came to know From Mission to Mission after serving as a missionary in Chimbote, Peru in South America for 2 years. When I returned to the U.S., I discovered that for me and many missionaries I’ve met, returning home was the hardest part of the experience.
Unless you’ve lived for an extended period in another culture you may wonder why our organization is needed. You may wonder why it’s hard.
- Some grieve the loss of friends and the life they lived.
- Some feel like they don’t belong. They feel that no one understands them and feel isolated.
- Many express feeling paralyzed and overwhelmed by the pace of life here and the changes that have taken place since they’ve left.
- Many share that they went from feeling like they were making a difference to feeling like their life doesn’t matter here.
- Some see the wealth and abundance we have and feel sad or angry or even guilty when they think of those they left behind in mission, often in developing countries.
- Most recently, many missionaries and volunteers have returned home due to COVID-19, or have remained in their places mission due to border closings and travel restrictions.
You may also be shocked by the violence that missionaries have been victims and survivors of or witnesses to. Just as our returning military need care in dealing with what they’ve been exposed to, our missionaries need help.
Over the years we have been called the Wounded Warriors Project for Missionaries. Missionaries come to us for specialized care because we understand the unique transition that is ‘coming home.’ We breathe new life into them so they can continue to live mission here and anywhere in a meaningful way.
One of our workshops participants, Fr. Victor, had served for 30 years in Sierra Leone, 10 of which were in civil war. He was very broken when he came to our workshop, he shared his story of twice being held hostage…about ministering to victims who had been maimed by the rebels, and the triumph of helping over 200 child soldiers return to the homes they were stolen from. At the end of our time in workshop and retreat together, he told us that we saved his life.
We hear similar sentiments from others who have come to us needing to tell their stories, needing to be heard by others who understand and can accompany them in this unique way.
We are an independent Catholic organization, not part of any diocese or congregation. We serve all people, and our financial support comes from people like you who want to help care for our missionaries. I sincerely thank you for your support on behalf of the Fr. Victor’s and all we serve, and also ask for your ongoing prayers and encouragement.
During the workshop, Fr. Victor showed us his crucifix that he carried with him. It was from a convent that had been raided by rebel soldiers while he was mission. It was the body of Christ…but the arms and legs had been cut off by the rebels–just like the thousands who had been attacked in Sierra Leone. Fr. Victor told us, “This reminds me to be near all those who are suffering in the world because of violence.” And then looking at what was left of the crucifix said… “He said to me…You are my hands, you are my feet.”
“We (missionaries) are his hands. We are his feet.” And we must care for one another.
And that is From Mission to Mission.
Thank you and peace be with you all.
For more information about From Mission to Mission, please visit their website at www.missiontomission.org.
To support FROM MISSION TO MISSION, please click on the button below to donate and either select your parish in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and/or type Group 1208 in the memo box. God bless!