Jessica Sherwood took part in our Machu Picchu hike in September. Here, she shares in a creative and beautiful way what this experience meant to her
I can do this.
One. Two. Three. Four. Five.
Every step feels important.
Heart beats fast.
Deep breathes in and out again.
I look up at the sky.
Tiny droplets forming. Now falling.
Turning quickly into ice.
Am I walking alone?
The question comes up in my heart and mind.
But then laughter. People calling out my name.
The guide running down the mountain toward me.
“Let me carry your pack.”
I shake my head no.
Isn’t it my burden to carry?
My chest aches.
My lungs burn.
I take two more steps and then I see them.
All lined up.
All calling out my name.
“You’re so close Jessica!”
Walking through the line of their arms raised high.
My team leader embraces me.
“I’m so proud of you.”
My face is wet.
I think I am crying.
The moment feels surreal.
My trail friend and support takes a photo with me.
I smile at him, “I did it.”
“No...we did it Jessica.”
And then understanding falls on me.
We did it.
It was never a burden I was meant to carry alone.
Their names and faces rush to my mind.
The stories I’ve heard.
The ones I’ve imagined.
The times I’ve woken up in a cold sweat in the night thinking of her fate.
Only 2% rescued.
My deep sorrow on display.
But my sorrow is met with great belief.
I see it on each of my new friend’s faces.
“Jessica, we walk alongside of you.”
So often hope is veiled.
I can’t always see the beauty.
Yet somehow on the mountain, I begin to see it.
Only a glimpse.
A moment when we were walking and the sky pulled back.
Lush green mountains.
The fall and rise of sloping hillsides.
My ears ring from the silence.
I am in His presence.
And He tells me there is hope.
The immoveable presence of God in the mountains.
Hope is always present.
It may not always be seen.
But God takes my faith so small and moves these mountains.
God saw my every step.
I discovered a shared mission and burden.
We can do this.
You are not alone.
She will not be left behind.
He will go to great lengths to find her.
My privilege and joy is to walk on her behalf.
To dedicate a year.
To meet others who share the same passion.
The journey to rescue and restore won’t be easy.
It will be a long road.
But I trust that in some sense she will hear us.
Hear all of the voices of the women who believe in her rescue.
Calling out on the mountain.
There is hope.
Rescue is on the way.
He can restore every part of you.
Come out of hiding.
And when the clouds pull back just for a moment, I pray that she will see it.
The story waiting for her.
The hope, belief, and beauty that surrounds her.
And more than anything I pray that she will behold the One who sees her.
Who has so graciously poured a piece of himself into each of us to fight for her.
Her rescue is inevitable.
Hope will not disappoint.
Jessica grew up in the Midwest, but now lives in South Florida where she works for an international non-profit called OneHope. She serves on the Advancement team developing creative strategy and content. She attended Oral Roberts University with a double major in French and Public Relations. Jessica is a lover of books and stories and creative writing. She's had a passion to help in the fight against human trafficking since she was in a high-school. Since then she's had the privilege of working with varying non-profits to advocate and fundraise on behalf of women and children caught in slavery.