After about 4 months of anticipation, 1 week of orientation, 12 hours flying, and a 7 hour night bus I am finally in Chimbote, Peru!

So let me tell you a little bit about my journey to becoming an Incarnate Word Missionary (IWM).

Nearing the end of my undergraduate career, I was at a crossroads between who I was and what it was that I wanted to do for my next step. Then, just as I was about to make my decision, God appeared. I was presented the opportunity to become an IWM through one of the organizations I had worked with, Women’s Global Connection. I had previously considered doing other volunteer organizations, but never really felt as right as this program. I finally felt like I had been given an answer.

Fast forward 4 months, and here I am in Chimbote. I keep getting asked what is it like over there? Are you comfortable? Are you happy? To answer the first question I tried to come with no expectations of how life was going to be like here. I wanted this city and the people to be free from any expectations or judgement I could create. Preparing and expecting are two different things. I prepared myself for this journey, first by allowing myself to be open. To be truly open to a new lifestyle, a new home, a new city, a new country, a new culture, and a new opportunity to experience God. Then, I was given a great orientation to all aspects of missionary life these past 2 weeks. Here are some of the important bits of knowledge I was given:

  1. Give yourself time for reflection
  2. Walk with the people
  3. Feed your spirituality (however that may be)
  4. Extend your hands in love
  5. Learn as much as you can
  6. Never impose your beliefs onto someone else’s culture
  7. Everyone is worth giving dignity because we are all human
  8. Myers Briggs Tests always help!
  9. Keep your loved ones close and up to date
  10. Be patient with yourself

So here I am, 1 day away from starting work at the hospice here, and for those other questions. I am getting comfortable the longer I am here, and I am happy in the sense that I know I am where I need to be at the moment. This journey is not a self proclaimed journey about me being a savior by any means. This journey at its rawest form is about people learning from one another, and exchanging love.

Leave you with this.

“I don’t believe in charity. I believe in solidarity. Charity is so vertical. It goes from the top to the bottom. Solidarity is horizontal. It respects the other person. I have a lot to learn from other people.”

Eduardo Galeano