Thursday, August 20, 2015

Megan in Peru

In July 2014, Megan decided she wanted to go to Peru on a HEFY expedition. Though there were several different country options to choose from, Megan has talked about Machu Picchu for years, and the realization that she could actually visit there so soon was thrilling to her. The registration didn't open until December 1st, but from that July day forward, Megan put her heart and soul into making the trip a realization.

Mike made it clear early on that Megan needed to earn 70% of the money towards the experience, and she moved forward with full commitment to make that happen. I wish I had photos of the couple of Saturdays she spent in the kitchen making 100+ Peanut Butter Bars, (one of the times coming down with strep throat in the last hours, but we never told the customers that! ha ha) or the neighborhood pancake breakfast she hosted. But fortunately, our favorite and most successful fundraiser, a neighborhood carnival was captured in pictures by our kind neighbor.

As the time for Megan's departure approached, people kept asking me if I was nervous. I wasn't! I had a little apprehension about her connecting with her group at the LA airport as she was flying from Salt Lake to LA alone, but that left as soon as she went through security and I saw a boy wearing the same shirt and realized he was on her same flight. I was reassured knowing they'd retrieve their luggage and get to the International Terminal in LA together.

I thought once all the preparations were finished (woah! was that hard!) and she was off on her flight, my natural worrying self would over-take, but I truly never worried once. Not once.

It was a long 21/2 weeks with little to no contact with my first-born. Although one of the parent coaches did a fabulous job of updating Instagram with photos, and that was so nice to be part of.

Megan has already finished a short 3 minute video of her Peru highlights. And she plans to have more detailed video reports to follow.
There is so much I want to say about her experience there from a mother's perspective thousands of miles away, but all I really can say is how deeply grateful I am for her to have had this experience. The experience tested and strengthened her physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and socially. She gained insight, personal growth and understanding that I'm sure she will never forget.

How great Megan was able to cross Machu Picchu off her bucket-list at 16 years old!

This is the village of Monterrey that Megan and her group served. As a mother, it is an awe-inspiring feeling to know that my daughter was able to experience and serve such devastating poverty.

Yet despite the poverty, Megan quickly learned the people of that humble village are among the kindest and happiest she has ever met.


 This photo shows a lovely "trophy" that was gifted to the HEFY groups by the grateful village. Mike and I were fortunate to see this trophy first-hand when we picked Megan up from the Salt Lake airport, as one of the trip leaders was on her flight. Though I don't read Spanish, the leaders' translation touched me deeply when she read the words, "God bless you always."

Though the group enjoyed downtime at dances, sand-boarding, touring the Lima MTC, and visiting the Lima LDS temple...

The majority of their time was spent physically laboring to build the village a medical center. 

What an honor that Megan's name is engraved on a beautiful plaque that now hangs in a small village in Peru.

The possibilities and examples of service in this world are endless, yet this last week as Megan has told us story after story of her experiences, and as we've seen all the clothing and shoes she DIDN'T bring back home with her, and we've heard stories of the villager's responses to our small gifts and tokens, this Bible scripture keeps coming to my mind.

Matthew 25:35-40
"For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

We are deeply appreciative to all those who helped make this experience for Megan possible. Not only did people's donations of time and money bless the people of Monterrey, Peru, it has blessed Megan's life, and for that, my mother heart is truly thankful.

(The sign that hung at the entrance to Megan's fundraiser carnival.)


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