From Montgomery, AL - Mission in Peru 2010-2012
One of the most popular questions that we are asked as Heart’s Home volunteers is why we decided to join the mission. My answer is always the same, “When I walked through the door of the Heart’s Home in Brooklyn, I encountered true sincerity for the first time in my life.” Honestly, it was not until I came face to face with this sincerity that I realized its absence in the world around me; yet it is exactly what everyone yearns for: for someone to take a sincere interest in them, to hold their hand, to listen to their life story, to look them in their eyes, to laugh, to cry with them.
Our culture often tries to validate our lives quantitatively. Before departing for Peru, people often crossed their eyes as I explained to them that I was not going to build a house, teach English classes, nor dole out free medical supplies, sometimes causing me to have doubts. However now having lived this mission of compassion for 18 months, I have no doubt that a sincere encounter with another is truly priceless.
The flow of life in my neighborhood, Barrios Altos, passes outside in the street: men work in the street, women cook in the street, children play in the street, and the elderly sit on little benches in the street; and yet there are people who are lonely in the street. The other day I stopped for a second to say hello to Senora Irma, who is always seated in a chair outside of her house. She immediately grabbed my hand and begged me to sit next to her, telling me frankly that she was sad and needed to talk to someone for a little bit. I did nothing more than sit on the sidewalk beside her, touch her hand, talk about how she had always lived on the same street, and offer a small prayer. Forty-five minutes later, her tears that I encountered had been transformed to a smile and she told me that she now had the will to continue the afternoon in peace.