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