With Alice in Wonderland as a stepping stone, Columban Sister Erisa Lee shares her reflections on working with and for the Youth in Ayacucho, Peru

“It depends on where you are going.”
“It doesn’t really matter where.”
“If so, there will be a problem whichever way you go.”

Alice further explained,

“As long as I can arrive somewhere!”
“Aha, you will surely arrive somewhere as long as you walk far enough.”

This is a conversation between Alice and the Cheshire cat in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Upon arriving in Peru, just as I took comfort from the Magi following their star, I also received comfort and challenge from Alice and the Cheshire cat’s conversation as I found my path in Ayacucho.

The time over the past seven months in Ayacucho was a time that I discovered the will and ability that God planted within me. During times of sadness when fear, impatience, or anxiety came over me, I said to myself. “You will surely arrive somewhere as long as you walk far enough… as long as you walk with faith.”

My time in Ayacucho has given me faith in myself and energy. Many dreams, hopes, ideas, and plans that I didn’t even know were there have sprung forth and become realized.
And there are always people at the center. Someone said, “People are the embodiment of God’s glory.”

Through my experiences, I’m experiencing the mystery of meeting the Lord’s glory.

While I didn’t know what to do, I went blindly and attended the college, I met young people in church, and I laughed and cried at stories that I couldn’t quite understand.

erisa3_youth0211

Sometimes I invited them and we cooked, sang and danced together; I wanted to help them come in.

Last January, I started a leadership program workshop for youth through an invitation from an agency in Lima. I was offered the position as general acesora by the coordinators of parishes of the Ayacucho. Also, a social services workshop was prepared together with a social services association and professor of the university.

This program was received positively. Also I was happy to receive the assurance that I could count on your support for whatever project I prepared.

I was happy about the success of making questionnaires, planning, meeting people, as well as the anxiety of this work, but the greatest gift I received through this work was that I heard the Lord’s voice through all of these events.

His tender voice was continuously with me but I wasn’t able to hear it. After all the preparations, I lost the USB full of data at the internet café! I spoke with my friend after attending mass. He told me, “Don’t worry. Why didn’t you contact me?”

Then he helped me make the PowerPoint again and organized the data. During this short time, it made me remember that the Lord is constantly speaking with me.

erisa_youth0211Whenever I met the youths and made preparations, they always said to me, “Erisa, don’t worry.”

When I felt down because of language or whenever I couldn’t think of the words to express myself, they said, “Don’t worry. We will help you.” They always help me in this way.

I can’t listen when I’m paralyzed with anxiety or fear, but I become open as I trust them and believe in them to help me. I always meet the Lord speaking with His tender voice.

I have come down to Lima now and I’m meeting with sisters from other congregations who are at the same stage of religious life and we are sharing our experiences together at the CONFER (Conference of Religious of Peru).

At this point in time, I have a clear mind. If I walk along gradually, I will arrive somewhere. If I do my best for the shining-eyed youth, that place and moment in time is the best place and moment in time of my life. After completing my tasks, the closeness of Christ within me will be more fragrant and long-lasting than whatever success or compliments I receive.

And now in this place, I can become gradually more like Christ when I feel Christ’s passion grow in my life as I meet with Ayacucho’s youth who are very dear to me in Peru.

To contact Sister Erisa, just click on the following link to our Peruvian website

http://www.columbanas.org/contactanos/index.html

Categories 2011