"Silvia, the Lord is waiting for you in Peru."

Two years ago I set off for Layo (Peru), my suitcase filled with feelings, impressions, doubts, and why not say it: a great deal of fear. The RSCJ who were living there had shown the urgent need they had of helpers in the mission. Just hearing about the project caused my heart to turn over.
AS EVER, You accompanied me there.   
Hands opened wide, not only to say “Welcome!", but also ready to support and help me in the hardest parts of receiving this experience in its entirety. 

Although I had earlier been in Venezuela, and passed through Cusco, arriving at my destination – Sicuani – was a huge, rude awakening to reality, though not only because of the altitude sickness or the cold.

Ah yes! The cold! Chapped hands, burned faces, badly damaged feet, the water in the fountain frozen each morning. Sometimes it found its way so deep within that it was almost paralysing, yet they always gave witness to courage, strength and commitment in spite of the hard conditions. 

Aware that I was not about to change the world, all I could do was “become” one of them... share their lives for a few weeks... and above all, be of service... listening to my interior movement, to the voice that had pushed me to say “Yes” to this new adventure.

“Do not be afraid: I am with you.”
As a teacher, one of the best GIFTS and strongest impressions of this experience was to enjoy there the great PASSION of my life: Education.
Offering religion classes in the little schools in the tiny villages, helping out with English in the sisters’ house, and taking Geography and History classes in CEBA (Basic Education Centre for Adults) – there, young and not so young, such as Señor Pablito, who was more than 50 years old, did their best to complete their studies in the effort to progress, have better conditions for their families, realize their dreams and have a profession; for this, they spent hours crossing and re-crossing the mountain, battling with cold, rain, and even snow at its worst: all of this brought me to realize that indeed it was I who needed to learn many things.

I place myself before God, before myself, re-reading my story with its lights and shadows, reflecting on the times of suffering and reaffirming that God NEVER ABANDONS (us), that His work is taking shape slowly and in darkness, in spite of us trying to make it happen quickly and visibly, as we so often demand.

Blameworthiness must be transformed into gratitude for what we have, and having done nothing to merit it. For all that God gives, but also, and perhaps much more so, for what He takes away from us. For the good fortune of having been born into this time, this place, this family. For all that we have received on the journey that has turned us into who we are today, without realizing it, letting us be exactly where we need to be. 

And for me, the most important learning, my ongoing lesson with Him is to feel how God accepts and EMBRACES my fragility, my smallness, my insecurity, my poverty, my doubts, my wounds… caressing my life with tenderness: awakening the desire to be capable of looking at myself as He looks at me. He doesn’t expect great things of me beyond allowing myself to be LOVED, and place myself in His hands, letting my fears push me to have even more trust in Him. 

This is why today I only ask that my heart NEVER FORGET what my eyes have seen, what I have lived and felt in the lands of the Andes.
Sacred Heart of Jesus in You I TRUST.