Our Mission Stories: “Returning: A Promise” by Hannah Klein

A promise of 730 days: 1,051,200 minutes: countless breaths. A promise I made, not just to myself, but to my community, to my family. I vowed that I would share my life for 2 years with others, that I would give of myself completely, live outside of myself, while taking in everything that anyone had to share with me.

228 days. A broken promise. Sadness, guilt, fear, frustration, despair… then a rush to fight it all. To fight the injustice that I felt was being enacted, not just upon myself, but on my community, on my family.

I didn’t win the fight, well, not in that moment.

My name is Hannah Klein. I was a Jesuit Volunteer on the island of Weno, Chuuk State, the Federated States of Micronesia from August 2019 to March 2020. The reality is that the Jesuit Volunteer Corps made an incredibly difficult decision, to pull out all its international volunteers because of the situations evolving around COVID19. It was a wise decision, made with liabilities and people’s lives in mind, and I respect it.

However, it didn’t stop me from feeling everything that I felt. From having to shift my life, a life that I thought I was going to live for two years, in just three days. To say goodbye without choosing to, and in many cases, to not even be able to say goodbye. I just disappeared. I felt guilty and was weighed down by this feeling of selfishness and privilege. I was leaving “because I could, to save myself, to go to a place with better medical facilities, to no longer be someone’s liability.”

Yet, it wasn’t my decision.

And in light of that “non-decision,” I began to make my own again. Despite the bitterness, confusion, and shock that I was in when I came back, I said, “Wait.” I decided to continue volunteering for my Chuukese brothers and sisters, for Akoyikoyi, the school that I left. I decided to stop being angry with the reality I was facing and started to form it again. I decided to continue loving, supporting… being who I am.

I am a promise-maker. So although the circumstances of my promises have changed, I will continue to uphold the beauty behind them. To share my life with others, not just for two years, but for always. To give of myself completely, to live outside of myself, and to take in everything that anyone has to share with me, even their decisions.

Hannah with her students
Hannah Klein currently resides in the United States where she continues to teach Akoyikoyi students on Weno from over 6,000 miles away and with a 17 hour time difference. She is incredibly grateful to still be teaching and connected to the school. One of her greatest joys is watching the students grow in their learning. Although the future of the school is held in the balance (the FSM border remains closed, the school does not have enough teachers, and there is a lack of sufficient monetary support), Hannah looks forward with hope and faith that all will be well.

** If you would like to share about your mission experience please reach out to info@misstiontomission.org**


FMTM Re-Entry Workshop Highlight: Sister Cristina Vargas Rivera – Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word (Spanish)

Hermana Cristina Vargas, CCVI, una Hermana de la Caridad del Verbo Encarnado, regresó a los Estados Unidos después de servir como misionera en Zambia durante 15 años. Hermana Cristina comparte los desafíos que enfrenta a su regreso y cómo el Taller de Reingreso de 10 Días de From Mission to Mission la está ayudando en su transición. Hermana Cristina ve la experiencia como un regalo que le está ayudando a tener más paciencia, reconociendo que es un momento de transición. Ella sintió que el personal y los participantes hicieron una experiencia muy rica.


FMTM Program Testimonial – Mike Haasl – Center for Mission, Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Mike Haasl works with the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ Center for Mission which has a diocesan partnership with the Diocese of Kitui, Kenya. He speaks to how From Mission to Mission resources and workshops are an invaluable resource for short-term mission trips, immersion trips, parish twinning relationships, and diocesan partnerships. Mike shares how From Mission to Mission’s work is an invaluable resource for creating a more profound sense of mission within these contexts (video recorded in 2018).


FMTM Re-Entry Workshop Highlight: Sister Karen Flaherty – Daughter of Charity

Sister Karen Flaherty, DC, a Daughter of Charity from the St. Louis Province, is a returned missionary after six years in Kenya. Sister Karen shares what it has been like transitioning back to the United States and her experience of the 10-Day Re-entry Workshop offered by From Mission to Mission. Sister Karen appreciates the focus of the retreat and expresses how the experience has been really what she’s needed.


FMTM Program Testimonial: Sister Anna Marie Reha, SSND

Sister Anna Marie Reha, SSND, Provincial Councilor for the School Sisters of Notre Dame of the Central Pacific Province shares her experience of From Mission to Mission as a participant in the 10 Day Re-Entry Workshop and how she has engaged From Mission to Mission to work with the sisters in her congregation in the areas of mission re-entry, life transition and interculturality.


FMTM Program Testimonial – Keri Gardner -Community Coordinator, Mercy Volunteer Corps

Keri Gardner experienced the From Mission to Mission re-entry workshop when she returned from her service as a volunteer in the Dominican Republic. Keri shares how her experience helped her in her own transition and how now, in her role as Community Coordinator for MVC international volunteers, From Mission to Mission is a critical partner in offering support to MVC volunteers before, during and after their service experiences.


FMTM Re-Entry Workshop Highlight: Sister Lillian Sullivan – Sister of the Holy Cross

Sister Lillian Sullivan, CSC, is a Sister of the Holy Cross and returned to the United States after a combined 27 years as a missionary in Uganda and Israel. Sister Lillian shares how the 10-Day Re-entry Workshop offered by From Mission to Mission has benefited her in her transition and how she sees the workshop being beneficial for people like her returning from many years, those returning after just a few years, and those transitioning from either from overseas missionary service or, within the US, from one ministry to another after many years.