Tears on the Road to Peru

What happens when you go up to people you know and ask, “Can you give me $10?”

“Ah, hang on a sec. Let me see,” they’ll say. Or they’ll stick their hand in their pocket, fumble for their wallet, or rummage through the contents of an oversize purse. They’ll scoop the coins from the bottom of the cup holder in their truck. They’ll do almost anything to help you out, and make sure you get at least $10.

Meanwhile, you stand there, grinning slightly, looking everywhere but at them scrounging for coins.
“Thanks,” you say, loading up your pockets. “I’m asking 100 people to do this. To give me $10.”

Math wheels calculate, and you hear them thinking, “That’s a thousand bucks! I should try that,” then they look at you again, and you hear them thinking, “Man, is she that broke?”

You let that idea sink in for 22 seconds. “I’m going on a humanitarian mission, to Peru. I’m trying to raise at least a thousand dollars. The money will go directly to helping these seriously impoverished people we’re going to help.”

“Really? That’s so cool!”

There is no mention of how out of character this is for you, how off the wall, how you’re a practicing Catholic, but not an evangelical type, how you’re not, outwardly, at least, a do-gooder.

“What made you want to do this?” asked my son.

“I have no idea,” I said, which is the total and absolute truth. I don’t know why I’m doing this. I don’t know what made me submit my application. But I do know the rewards: the feelings of humility, the tears at the kindness and generosity of friends, family, and acquaintances, and this feeling of movement, that I’m moving in the right direction, though the goal is beyond me.

“I think that’s just so neat, Mom, that you would do that.” He leaned across the table and took my hand, ever so gently. “I’m proud of you. I really am.”

And the tears. Mine. “I haven’t done anything yet,” I say.

“But you are. You’re going for it.”

“I’m kind of scared,” I choke.

“Scared is good. Scared means a challenge.” My words to him years ago, shot back to me.

And then, the following week when I came home and found a $20 bill on the kitchen island. No note. But I knew the source. And my eyes welled up, and I cried for the blessing of a good, sweet man.

And the friend at the door with an envelope and a clutch of sweetpeas; another friend with a toddler in tow; people at meetings opening their wallets; the phone calls, the hugs, the holdings, blessings untold.

If you’d also like to make me cry, you can donate to my mission by following this secure link:

Sue is one of 20 volunteers from across Canada joining Chalice's Solidarity Tour to Peru (Oct 15-23).  You can read more about our mission here: http://chalice.ca/get-involved/travel-with-us


  1. MaryAnne, Senior International Manager - ChaliceOctober 12, 2016 at 12:08 PM

    I loved reading your blog and I can't wait to hear about your experiences in Peru! Rest assured that even though you may not know why you're going on mission, God does. I have a feeling that as the days pass in Peru, it will become clear to you why you're there. Keep us posted!! :)

  2. thank you for sharing your experiences. I am planning to go next month to Peru and already contacted a travel agency
    Green Peru Adventures. I hope my trip will memorable.


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