2018 30th Reception (28)cr

They couldn’t be more different. But serving others together forged their lifelong friendship.

It wasn’t exactly friendship at first sight.

CJ Callahan thought Sonia Nelson was, to put it kindly, “introspective.”

“She thought I was super quiet and reserved,” said Nelson.

“I probably was ‘a lot,’” Callahan said. “I’m just excited to be there.”

It was 2016 and they were serving together at a women’s retreat in Lesotho. Nelson was the counselor who likes to dress fashionably. Callahan was the boisterous worship leader who prefers t-shirts.

About a year later at a different retreat in Mozambique, they bonded overeating “a lot of” Indian food.

“I loved it,” Callahan said. “Sonia got so tired of it.”

Nelson’s hotel room wouldn’t lock right, so she was nervous staying alone.

“We need to be friends because I’m kinda freaking out in my room all by myself,” Nelson told Callahan. “And that started our friendship.”

They’ve since traveled around the world together, serving together with Paraclete and with Thrive retreats. They’ve battled sicknesses together in hotel rooms.

“Hands down one of my most fun memories was when we both got super sick in Estonia,” Nelson said. “We were in this hotel room…hacking up a lung. All that fit in between our beds was a trash can. We would toss the tissue box back and forth. We were laughing so hard. I’ve never had so much fun being sick before.”

And they’ve stayed up way too late talking.

 

“I’m really super talkative in the evenings and Sonia’s really good at listening—I think it works really well,” Callahan said. But “sometimes she says I need to shut it off and go to sleep.”

Callahan spends their off days on trips seeking out adventure.

Nelson, on the other hand, “was like, ‘no I’m going to go sit on the beach and have a massage,’” Callahan explained.

But for all their differences, they share a desire to care well for global workers who need encouragement.

“In some ways, Sonia and I are very similar—we are counselors in different ways,” Callahan said. “We speak to the souls in different ways. Mine is through music.”

The women serving in different countries often haven’t sung worship songs corporately in their own language of English in years, Callahan said.

The first time she did this, she noticed, “These women were bawling and on their knees and worshipping. I’ve done worship for a lot of different things—church, youth. At that moment, I realized this was my sweet spot: leading worship for women and speaking to their hearts and just letting the Lord minister to them through music.”

Nelson had her own epiphany about how she can use her strengths to serve in missions. She grew up in a family that does mission work, but doubted her gifts fit.

“I had gone to the meetings and listened and just didn’t feel it,” Nelson said. “Everything they were saying to do…nobody wants me building their house. How is that a gift to somebody? It would fall apart.”

But while she was getting her counseling degree, she met someone from Thrive, a ministry that hosts retreats around the world for global workers.

“I felt like God was saying, ‘if you serve with this ministry, you can go to all the countries,’” Nelson said. “You’re going to meet with women who serve everywhere. The Holy Spirit moves on those retreats. It’s unbelievable. What will normally take weeks with a client in sessions happens in 45 minutes. He takes my brokenness and heals someone with it.”

Both Nelson and Callahan have been through hard times in their personal lives.

“I think it makes us maybe more tender toward allowing God to use us to minister to women that are broken, too,” Callahan said. “Unfortunately, we have to go through hard times sometimes, but God doesn’t waste anything.”

In fact, their friendship deepened when Nelson heard that the cancer she’s battled since 2014 had metastasized in 2018. Callahan would visit and play music for Nelson. For a few years, they lived in the same state. They also made time for each other’s family events, kids’ dedications and worship services at Callahan’s church.

Other Paraclete associates have friendships that have formed through ministry.

“When you serve with someone, you get to see a deeper part of someone immediately,” Nelson said.  “That’s true for me with my Thrive friends, I only see them in foreign countries even though we all live in the States. You’re working together. You already know they have a heart for serving.”

Callahan and Nelson now live in different states, but that doesn’t stop them from figuring out times to meet. Callahan recently went down to Texas to help Nelson unpack from her recent move. This time, though, it was Nelson who showed her energetic, determined side, despite it being an “off week” with her chemotherapy.

“You’d never even know she was sick,” Callahan said. “We were be-bopping around everywhere and doing a bunch of stuff. And she was seeing clients in between unpacking and everything. Pretty amazing.”

Nelson doesn’t let much stand in her way, Callahan noticed. But then again, they had a particularly important mission to accomplish that week, too.

“In Waco, she was like, ‘I need to buy the perfect t-shirt,’” Nelson said of Callahan. “I’m like, ‘that’s something you’ll never hear me say.’”

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Our Mission

To come alongside Christian leaders around the world.

Methodology

  • We serve as catalysts, without personal or institutional agendas.

  • We stay only as long as needed and welcome.

  • We view all our work as spiritual activity with eternal significance.

  • We promote effective and Godly stewardship of resources as a model for business and ministry.

  • We practice the accountability of planning and evaluating our work, and teach others to do the same.

Financial Information

Financial accountability is important to Paraclete.  We have been members of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) since 1998.  Our Financial Statements were audited for 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 by Capin Crouse, LLP.  Paraclete is registered for charitable solicitation in all states that require it.

2020 Financial Summary

Revenues
Cash Donations
$3,824,681
Other Revenue
$14,174
Total Revenue
$3,838,855
Expenses
Program
$2,390,896
Administrative
$324,434
FundRaising
$258,024
Total Expenses
$2,973,354

Donor Privacy Policy

Paraclete Mission Group is committed to respecting the privacy of our donors. We provide this Donor Privacy Policy to inform you of the way we protect and use your information.

Information We Collect

  • Here are the types of donor information that we collect and maintain:
    Your contact information: name, organization/church, address, phone number, email address;
  • Your preference for which ministry your donation will be applied;
  • Your payment information: credit card and/or bank account information;
  • Information you choose to share with us: questions, comments, suggestions, how you learned of Paraclete, and;
  • Your communication preferences; e.g., to individuals who request it, we will send periodic mailings related to specific fund-raising appeals, prayer concerns, and newsletters.

How We Use Your Information

Paraclete Mission Group uses your information to help you complete a donation, communicate back to you, and update you on ministry activity and results. We use credit card numbers only for donation or payment processing.

How We Protect Your Information

We use industry standard safeguards to protect your information. We protect the security of credit card transactions using a number of measures such as encryption, access controls, network firewalls and physical security. Card numbers are never stored on our premises in any physical or electronic form. These measures make it extremely difficult for anyone to intercept the credit card information you send to us. When we work with other companies to process credit card transactions, those companies also use encryption and other security measures.

We Do Not Share Your Personal Information

Paraclete Mission Group will not sell, rent, trade or lease your personal information to other organizations. We hold the identity of donors confidentially. We will use your information only to further the ministry purposes of Paraclete Mission Group. We will not send you mailings on behalf of another organization.

YOUR RIGHTS – GDPR Specific

Personal Information

Where you have provided your consent to us processing your personal data, you may withdraw this consent at any time. In addition, the Global Data Protection Regulations gives you the right, under certain circumstances:

  • to request in writing and securely obtain copies of the personal information we hold about you;
  • to correct or update your personal information held by us;
  • to request us to stop using your personal information for marketing purposes or for any other purpose where there is no legal requirement for continued processing;
  •  to object to profiling activities based on our legitimate interest;
  •  to request to have all personal data deleted (in the EEA only). To exercise any of these rights please contact privacy@paraclete.net .

Please tell Paraclete Mission Group as soon as any of your contact details change so that records can be kept up to date.

We will take reasonable steps to correct any of your information, which is inaccurate, incomplete or out of date.

Removing Your Name From Our Mailing List

We will honor your desire not to receive mail from us if that is your preference. Please contact us if you wish to be removed from our mailing list. Donors with an online account with Paraclete Mission Group can establish and change their communication preferences, print receipts, make one-time donations and set up recurring automatic donations. If you choose not to have an online account you have the same degree of control when you call or write to tell us of your preferences.

Contacting Us

If you have comments or questions about our donor privacy policy, please send us an email at info@paraclete.net or call us at (719) 302-2500.

 

Statement of Faith

We believe the Bible to be the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.

We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and His personal return in power and glory.

We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful man regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.

We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.

We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost, they that are saved unto the resurrection of life, and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.

We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.

equal opportunity employment

It is the policy of Paraclete Mission Group not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in admission and access to, or treatment or employment in its program or activities. As a religious institution, Paraclete is permitted and reserves the right to prefer employees or prospective employees on the basis of religion.