Peruvian Missionary serving in one of our parishes in Arequipa

Years back when still a catechist and discerning my religious vocation, together with other friends, we embarked on a mission adventure in the mountains of northern Peru. There we performed some activities and we managed to raise a considerable amount of money for our mission which consisted of visiting the sick, teaching catechism, singing, fixing the houses of the poorest, amongst other related work.

Near the end of our experience, money was running out, and we were abstaining from food so that we can save some money for the return.  On our last day on the mission, we had to work till late in the evening.  Finally, a lady invited us to her house for dinner.  She told us that she had prepared a very delicious dinner for which she had prepared her two chickens.

My friends went ahead while I stayed around to finish some work with young people.  When I was heading to the house, I met an old man on the door of his house, who very kindly asked me to come and accompany him for a moment.  I felt hesitant.  I did not know whether to accept his invitation or go directly to the lady’s house to eat.

For me, it was one of a strong experience that consolidated my missionary vocation.

In the end, I decided to stay with the old man, who prepared a very simple meal.  In this short time, he shared quite a few of his life experiences.  It was an emotional encounter, most especially when, in the end, he expressed his sorrow that his family had abandoned him, his sons wanted to take away his house where he lived, and felt marginalized and lonely.

I forgot the rich food, and felt at home with that old man, enjoying his experiences and the very humble food for which he invited me to participate.

For me, it was one of a strong experience that consolidated my missionary vocation.