A voice in my head was saying, "you need to do this."
I had never really considered myself a "mission trip person." My wife had gone on the Journey trip to Peru in 2016, and I heard great things about it, but I didn't feel much desire to go. That all changed one Sunday morning in January '19.
The message that Sunday was focused on Journey GO, and during the service, I began to feel a "nudge." A voice in my head was saying, "you need to do this." I talked with the Journey GO team after service and learned that my daughter was old enough to go too, and immediately walked up to my wife and proclaimed "I am going to Peru with Abby!"
As soon as I blurted out those words, I said to myself, "Did I really say that?" The inner voice replied "Yes you did. And yes, you are going!"
After a few meetings, fundraising activities, and the usual trip prep, we were on our way! To be honest, I left with limited expectations. I was elated to be able to take a trip like this with my daughter and knew it would do both of us some good to get a better "world view" and serve others in need. What I experienced emotionally, spiritually and physically on this trip went far beyond anything I could have anticipated.
I think two things really struck me at Casa del Buen Trato:
The relentless focus and selflessness exhibited by the shelter staff. Hearing what they go through to nurture, defend, teach and heal the girls - all with a goal of either placing them back in their home environment once it is safe to do so, or help them pursue higher education - is both inspiring and humbling.
Knowing what horrible circumstances led these girls to be at the shelter, I was astounded by the amount of genuine joy and hope I saw among most of them.
Hearing the girls' backstories and the effort the staff gives towards helping them is heavy subject matter, but being immersed in their world only fueled my desire to connect with the girls and make them aware that they are valued and that there are people who care about them and their futures.
Since returning home, I've been working with Recovering Hope to identify ways to further spread the word about the girls and staff at Casa del Trato Buen so that those who aren't able to make the trip in person can get a better sense of how they can provide a positive impact on the girls and staff.
I am looking forward to making another trip to Peru in the future!