Do you have a sense of adventure and a desire to serve in Latin America? Would you like to live a simpler lifestyle closer to the people, and share you faith and talents with the poor? If so, we would like to invite you to consider joining us in our mission work in Peru.
We are looking for dedicated lay Catholics with an independent spirit to serve in Trujillo on the northern coast of Peru.
Trujillo: What’s it like?
We’ve had lay missionaries serve in the neighborhoods of Rio Seco and Kumamoto on the outskirts of the large city of Trujillo in northern Peru. Thousands of poor families have come to the desolate sand hills overlooking the city in search for a place to live. These hillside neighborhoods are often described as a pueblo joven (a young town). The area is an urban slum, a desert-like hillside where thousands of poor and desperate families have come to build a home and find work.
Many of the families have left their hometowns in the mountains or rural areas in search of a better life. They have left the places where they had family ties and a sense of identity and community to come to a barren hillside where there are few trees or shrubs — rarely even a blade of grass. There they build little houses of adobe bricks and begin a long struggle for the basic necessities of food, water, latrines, transportation, and above all, a job.
There are signs of despair up and down the dusty dirty roads of these neighborhoods. Men turn to alcohol, and youths gather together in gangs to assault and steal from the weak. Violence is a big problem for the community.
But there are signs of hope, too, as people plant flowers outside their doors and leaders organize the community to press the government to provide the basics of water, electricity, latrines, and schools. The church is there, too, helping with soup kitchens, a school for handicapped children, chapels, and plans for new job training programs. There are signs of hope, too, in the children – ever resilient – laughing and playing games in the dirt streets and climbing the hills of sand.
Read more about the lay missionaries in Peru here.
What Kind of Work Would You Do?
Our previous lay missionaries served in a variety of ways, according to their skills. They worked in the parish, with some of the small projects of the church (like those mentioned above), and they found other ways to contribute, such as in the forming of a women’s knitting group, and an informal school for child dropouts. There are opportunities in education, youth organizations, job skill training, community organizing, health care, sports, and pastoral work with catechists and religion classes. There would be work in the soup kitchens, centers for handicapped children, the Fe y Alegria school.
What Kind of Candidates Are We Looking For?
We are looking for candidates with some skills and experience in the following areas:
- Motivated self-starters. This site, more so than any of our others, will need people with the personality style of seeking out work and building relationships. This site is one of our least structured, because the needs are many, and there are a variety of places to insert yourself. This is also our only site where the Comboni community is not within walking distance.
- Basic skills in Spanish.
- Some experience working with parish and/or community groups, or a strong desire to learn.
- Skills and talents in education, health care, job training, parish youth ministry, community development, or working with handicapped children.
What Do We Provide?
- Preparation: We provide a solid 14-week formation for mission program at our center in La Grange Park, IL. It includes discussions and workshops in mission theology, skills for cross-cultural living, collaborative leadership, communication and team building skills, mission spirituality, and community.
- Language Training: New lay missionaries assigned to Peru will have 3-4 months of Spanish training, if needed.
- Local Support: The lay missionaries will work in the area of the parish that is managed by the Comboni community in Trujillo. There are currently three Comboni priests in this community. The priests do not live on the compound of the parish.
- Room and Board: Housing is provided for the lay missionaries, along with a monthly stipend of $275 for personal expenses and for food. The lay missionaries also receive an annual allowance of $300 for professional growth, retreat, and vacation expenses.
- Health Insurance and Other Benefits: Lay missionaries are provided health insurance and transportation to and from the mission site in Peru. Upon successful completion of their three-year contract, they will also receive $1800 for relocation expenses.
How Do You Take the Next Step?
If you would be interested in serving as a lay missionary for three years in Trujillo, Peru, please take a look at our requirements for Eligibility. If you think you meet the requirements, fill out the Preliminary Form and we can begin to discuss the possibilities.