FMTM Publication Highlight: “Welcoming Them Home: A Guide for Families and Friends of Returning Missioners and Volunteers”

The second in our series of blog posts highlighting the newest editions of From Mission to Mission Publications:

From Mission to Mission exists because returning to your home culture after serving in another is usually challenging. There are a number of factors that contribute to this, from feelings of grief, to the pressures of getting started again, to the loss of feeling like you really made a difference. Many missioners and volunteers feel a sense of isolation when they return. They have witnessed and experienced things that most people at home don’t understand or can’t relate to. Because of this, some have described feeling “like an alien from another planet.”

Re-entry is challenging, but it doesn’t have to be devastating. Having a caring, understanding support system is an important factor in helping make the most of this time. Re-entry is a unique transition. Families, friends and community members care and would like to help but don’t know what to do since most have not experienced re-entry themselves… But, we have!

Re-entry is challenging, but it doesn’t have to be devastating.

Welcoming Them Home was created to help the family, friends and community members of missioners and volunteers understand what is typical for someone dealing with re-entry and ways to offer support. It was written by those who have personally gone through re-entry, as well as accompanied many missioners and volunteers through their transitions.

Welcoming Them Home: A Guide for Families and Friends of Returning Missioners and Volunteers

When a volunteer or missioner returns home after service in another culture, people at home face many questions about how to best support them during their transition. Many people find that the person they knew has changed, missing their cross-culture experience and struggling to feel comfortable in the place they call home. Friends, co-workers, parishes, families, religious communities, and mission sending organizations all play important roles in helping the volunteer or missioner thrive as they transition to a new place.

This book is intended to help those at home better understand the experience of re-entry and offers some suggestions for helping make this time of transition life-giving for those returning and for their receiving community.

The book includes information about re-entry, transition, and practical advice for those at home who want to support their loved one. This book is one in a series of five volumes published by From Mission to Mission, an organization serving returning missioners and volunteers since 1980. The guide shares insights from decades of experience with those returning from a time of living and serving in another culture.

In my seven years as Executive Director of From Mission to Mission, a frequent question I received from families, religious communities, and parishes about a returning missioner or volunteer was: “How do we welcome them home?” This practical guide helps all concerned avoid inappropriate comments, plan meaningful liturgies or prayer services and promote understanding of the life transition the volunteer or missioner is experiencing.

– Maureen Connors, PhD