Places I Was Fortunate to Visit

The first three pictures are in Wadi Rum with my friends from the Caritas Restaurant of Mercy Judith, Fatima, and Shnoda, and the Beduin who gave us the tour and invited us for tea at one of the tents.

 Las primeras 3 fotos son en Wadi Rum con mis amigos del Restaurante de la   Misericordia Caritas Judith, Fátima y Shnoda, y el beduino que nos dio el recorrido y   nos  invitó a tomar el té en una de las tiendas.


The fourth picture below is in Petra. Jordan is absolutely a tourist
destination. It has a lot of archeology and amazing places to visit.
La cuarta foto es en Petra. Jordania es absolutamente un destino
turístico. Tiene mucha arqueología y lugares increíbles para visitar.

In Israel, I was lucky to live in Nazareth, the city of the Annunciation of Angel Gabriel to Mary that she was going to give birth to the son of God, and where Jesus was raised.
Basilica of the Annunciation in the back
 Basílica de la Anunciación en la parte posterior

I was also fortunate to visit Bethlehem, where Jesus was born,
for the lightning of the Christmas Tree and for Christmas.

Basilica of the Nativity – December 24 before the Mid-
night Mass. The star indicates where Jesus was born.
 Basílica de la Natividad el 24 de diciembre antes de la
Misa de Medianoche. La estrella  indica dónde nació Jesús.
Bethlehem during Christmas
 Belén durante la Navidad
Basilica of the Nativity – December 25. Salesian priests
celebrating Christmas Mass.
 Basílica de la Natividad – 25 de diciembre. Sacerdotes
salesianos celebran la misa de Navidad

Going on a volunteering mission was a unique life experience. I’m immensely thankful to VIDES+USA for welcoming me into their missioner volunteering program, and to the Salesian Sisters of the Middle East who received me at their houses, a world region which I had studied in grad school because I care for peace in that heated part of the world, and a culture to which I’ve been always attracted. This experience gave me the opportunity to be a peaceful presence among the people in conflict, to get to know the living conditions of refugees, to improve my language skills to communicate and get closer to them, and in general terms, to get to understand the region better.
It reads in Arabic “rahbat alsalizian” – Salesian Sisters
Se lee en árabe “rajbat alsalizian” – Hermanas Salesianas

I’m also immensely thankful to all of you who believed in my mission and
supported it either through my campaign or through messages and prayers!

 Thank you, everyone, for being with me, one way or the other, during this

 amazing mission “A Dream of Peace in the Middle East”!

 May God bring peace to the Middle East and grant us peace in our hearts,
 Natalia Liviero, VIDES+USA Missioner

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What I Will Miss

The wonderful people I met in Jordan, Israel, and Palestine, other volunteers and consecrated lay Catholics I met with whom I became friends, the students, Gioia and Itaf, who cooked at the sisters’ houses in Amman and Nazareth, and the Salesian Sisters with whom I lived during the past year.

My friends at the Caritas Restaurant of Mercy
 Mis amigos del Restaurante de la Misericordia de Caritas: Shnoda,
Samira, Judith, Carol, Fatima, Milad, Zaid, Wasim, Aysar.
Souren, photographer at, Sister Rita who was the best Sister!
Remy, a volunteer at the Latin Patriarchate with Claire, both from France.
 Souren, fotógrafo de, la hermana Rita, ¡que fue la mejor hermana!
Y Remy, un voluntario en el Patriarcado Latino con Claire, ambos de Francia.
With Nataly, who lives with the sisters in Amman,
and Iraqi friends, they were so nice!
 Con Nataly, que vive con las hermanas en Amán,
y con amigas iraquíes, ¡eran divinas!

With Nataly, Ricardo, a Focolar from Argentina, and Abdullah,
from Jordan. I was teaching an English group class. With Nataly
and Abdullah we used to have language exchange classes
English-Arabic. It was fun!
 Con Nataly, Ricardo, un Focolar de Argentina, y Abdullah, de Jordania.
 Yo enseñando una clase grupal en inglés. Con Nataly y Abdullah
 solíamos tener clases de intercambio de idioma inglés-árabe.
 ¡Nos divertíamos!


The Don Bosco Choir in Nazareth. We prepared the Christmas
concerts together, and I participated at the weekly practices.
They prepared a surprise farewell party before I left Israel.
They are wonderful people!
 El Coro Don Bosco en Nazaret. Preparamos los conciertos
 de Navidad juntos, y participé en las prácticas semanales.
 Prepararon una fiesta sorpresa de despedida antes de que
 me fuera de Israel. ¡Son personas maravillosas!


Johnny on the left is the Choir Conductor. He is also a music
teacher in our school and an animator of events. He was so
welcoming and fun! Asaad, on the right, is the right-hand
person of the sisters at the school. He and Manal, in the
next picture, were the only two adults who spoke to me in
Arabic in my whole trip and helped me improve my language.
Manal is the coordinator of the high-school floor and I spent
a lot of time with her and the students. I was extremely
fortunate to work with Asaad and Manal who have great
hearts and great attitude!

 Johnny a la izquierda, es el director del coro. También es
profesor de música en   nuestra escuela y animador de eventos.
¡Fue tan acogedor y divertido! Asaad, a la   derecha, es la
mano derecha de las hermanas en la escuela. Él y Manal,
en la siguiente   imagen, fueron los únicos dos adultos que me
hablaron en árabe en todo mi viaje y me ayudaron a mejorar
mi idioma. Manal es el coordinador del piso de la escuela
secundaria y pasé mucho tiempo con ella y los estudiantes.
!Fui muy afortunada de   trabajar con Asaad y Manal,
que tienen un gran corazón y una gran actitud!

With Edel, from Ireland, celebrating my birthday after both of us volunteered at the Interfaith Conference on Forgiveness in Jerusalem in July. She became another
angel in my life!

Con Edel, de Irlanda, celebrando mi cumpleaños
después de que ambas nos ofrecimos como
voluntarias en la Conferencia Interreligiosa
sobre el Perdón en Jerusalén en julio. Ella
se convirtió en otro ángel en mi vida!

We met with Katherina (Germany) and Claire
volunteering at Our Lady of Peace Center
in Amman.
It was great to share our experiences
and to support 
one another. 
 Nos conocimos con Katherina
ania) y Claire (Francia) como
voluntarias en el Centro Our Lady
of Peace en Amán. Fue genial
compartir nuestras experiencias
y apoyarnos mutuamente.
With the Focolari in Amman, an Italian movement of
consecrated lay men and women. I shared a lot with
Marco (Italy) and Bernard (Belgium) on my left, and
with Ricardo (Argentina). I met with Philippe (Switzerland)
and Christian (Brazil) just a couple of times, as well as with
the Focolare women. They were the nicest and most caring
people I met in my whole trip!
 Con los Focolari en Amán, un movimiento italiano de hombres
y mujeres laicos  consagrados. Compartí mucho con Marco (Italia)
y Bernard (Bélgica) a mi izquierda, y   con Ricardo (Argentina).
Me reuní con Philippe (Suiza) y Christian (Brasil) solo un par
de veces, así como con las mujeres de los Focolares. ¡Fueron las
personas más amables y afectuosas que conocí en todo mi viaje!

The group Shalom is a Brazilian movement of consecrated lay men and women who work at the Basilica of the Annunciation of Nazareth. They invited me to spend a weekend with them and offered me a farewell lunch before leaving Israel. They were all very welcoming and Fatima on my left became a wonderful friend.
 El grupo Shalom, un movimiento brasileño de hombres y mujeres consagrados que   trabajan en la Basílica de la Anunciación de Nazaret. Me invitaron a pasar un fin de   semana con ellos, y me ofrecieron un almuerzo de despedida antes de partir de Israel.   Todos fueron muy acogedores y Fátima, a mi izquierda, se convirtió en una amiga   maravillosa.


With the Salesian Sisters of Nazareth with whom I lived for the last 6 months. To the left, with a sister from a country in war with Israel, so I can’t give her name. She is young and very smart, and we shared many things together. On the right, with Sister Anna (Italy) she was the spirit of the house! We also shared a lot of things together. She reminds me of my paternal grandmother, Amalia. The photos are of the trip we took to the Golan Heights.
 Con las Hermanas Salesianas de Nazaret con las que he vivido durante los últimos 6   meses. A la izquierda, con una hermana de un país en guerra con Israel, así que no   puedo   dar su nombre. Ella es joven y muy inteligente, y compartimos muchas cosas   juntas. A la   derecha, con la Hermana Anna (Italia) ¡ella era el espíritu de la casa!   También   compartimos muchas cosas juntas. Ella me recuerda a mi abuela paterna,   Amalia. Las   fotos son del viaje que hicimos a los Altos del Golán.


In the photo below I’m with Sister Carmen (Bethlehem – 88) who has a great sense of humor and with Sister Sabina (Italy – 86), who has been a missionary in the Middle East since 1966 I believe, and shared lots of interesting stories about the many wars she lived through. Both of them had tears in their eyes when we said goodbye, and me too.
En la foto de abajo estoy con la hermana Carmen (Belén – 88) que tiene un gran sentido   del humor y con la hermana Sabina (Italia – 86), que ha sido misionera en el Medio   Oriente desde 1966, creo, y compartió un montón de historias interesantes sobre las   muchas guerras que vivió. Ambas tenían lágrimas en los ojos cuando nos despedimos,
y yo también.


I will also miss the sounds…. In Nazareth, the 5 am calling prayer to the mosque (like a song) and at the same time the bells of the church. And in Amman, I’ll miss the sound of the gas truck that used to pass by about 3 times a day!

Natalia Liviero, VIDES+USA Missioner

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Joys of My Middle East Mission

What brought me the most joy was the love I could bring to the children of the
Syrian refugee camp in Jordan, to the Iraqi refugees, and to the students of the
schools in Israel (Nazareth) and Palestine (Bethlehem-Cremisan), and the
unexpected affection I received from them in return.

At the Syrian refugee camp I really felt for the children.
En el campo de refugiados sirios sentí mucho por esos niños.

3rd-grade students (A and B), my classmates in the religion and music classes.
The teacher in the photo below is Mais. She learned Spanish watching
soap operas and I called her “Andrea del Boca” since she looked
like that Argentinian actress.  She loved it! The kids used to hug me when I
entered their classrooms and everyone wanted me to sit next to them.
 Estudiantes de 3er grado (A y B), mis compañeros de clase en las clases de
religión y música. La maestra en la foto de abajo es Mais, aprendió español
viendo telenovelas a   argentinas y yo la llamaba “Andrea del Boca” ya que se
parecía a la actriz argentina. A   ella le encantaba! Los niños solían abrazarme
cuando entraba a sus clases y todos   querían que me sentara junto a ellos.
With Melad from Mosul, Iraq, in the Oratorio for Iraqi children in Jordan.
Melad also worked at the Caritas Restaurant of Mercy.
 Con Milad de Mosul, Iraq, en el Oratorio para niños iraquíes en Jordania.
Melad también trabajaba en el Restaurante de la Misericordia de Caritas.

Some of the Syrian refugees and Jordanian kids of the Caritas-Salesian
Sisters Music Project in Amman, where I helped last summer.
 Algunas de las refugiadas sirias y niñas jordanas del Proyecto Musical
Caritas-Hermanas Salesianas en Amán, donde ayudé el verano pasado.

Students from 8th grade at the Nazareth school.
They are so much fun!
 Con los estudiantes de 8vo grade en la escuela de Nazaret.
Son divertidísimos!

Ran and Roua, 8th graders, were very sweet, and gave me a neck-
lace with two girls to remember them, as if suddenly I had twins!

 Ran y Roua, de 8º grado, eran muy dulces y me dieron una
cadenita con dos niñas para recordarlas, ¡como si de pronto
hubiera tenido mellizas!

With Leen and Shaheed from 9th grade, two sweethearts. They gave
me a tour of Nazareth downtown after school. We had a shawarma
and then an ice-cream in McDonald’s.
 Con Leen y Shaheed del noveno grado, dos dulzuras. Me dieron un
 tour por el centro de Nazaret después de la escuela. Comimos una
 shawarma y luego un helado en McDonald’s


At the school in Cremisan, the 2nd grade students were also
sweet and affectionate.
 En la escuela en Cremisan, los estudiantes de 2 ° grado
también eran re-dulces y afectuosos.

Another aspect of my service that brought me joy was serving
food to the poor, and to Syrian Muslim refugees during Ramadan,
through the Caritas Restaurant of Mercy. Caritas, a Catholic
non-profit that belongs to the Vatican, provides free schooling,
free health services, and free meals to refugees in Jordan
(and also in other countries that received refugees), the
majority of them Muslim. I’m a big advocate of interreligious
dialogue and unity and could put it into practice by being an
example through my Catholic values and volunteering with Caritas.

With Caritas serving food and talking with Syrian refugees
during Ramadan last summer.
 Con Caritas sirviendo comida y hablando con refugiados
sirios durante Ramadán el verano pasado.

Natalia Liviero, VIDES+USA Missioner

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Getting oriented in the Middle East

Syrian refugee children asking for more food during
Ramadan last summer.

 Niños sirios refugiados pidiendo más comida durante
el Ramadán el verano pasado.
My room in Amman was big and comfortable, but needed A/C!

 Mi habitación en Amán. Era grande y cómoda
¡pero necesitaba aire acondicionado!

The main challenge I encountered was the weather. In Jordan, where I stayed during summer, the temperatures were very high and there was no air conditioning in the convent nor in my room. The fan that I was given was not enough, and at times annoying, especially at night. Whereas in Israel, where I stayed during fall and winter, there was a lot of wind, the temperatures where very low and the central heating in the rooms and house was only turned-on for one week in January because it was expensive. The house and the rooms were usually very cold. The electric heater I was given was not enough to warm my room at a comfortable temperature for me. I fell sick five times from September to January. After living in Miami for 15 years with A/C all the time and with no winters, my body had a hard time to adapt to those extreme temperatures.

My room in Nazareth one day in January when my electric heater
Fortunately, the sisters turned on central heating that night!
 Mi habitación en Nazareth un día de enero cuando se rompió mi
eléctrica. Afortunadamente las hermanas encendieron la
central esa noche!

Although Middle Eastern food is one of my favorites and meals were delicious in every community I lived and in the Caritas Restaurant of Mercy, I didn’t eat as healthy as I was used to and had some digestive issues. In the school in Nazareth, for example, students, teachers, and employees usually brought sweets and cakes to celebrate births, birthdays, weddings, and other life events. Furthermore, in the Arab culture, you have to eat even if you don’t want to, to show appreciation to your host. As a result, I gained weight, something I never thought it could happen being a missioner!
A typical breakfast, tea or coffee with milk, whole wheat pita bread
with labneh (a type of yogurt)
zaatar (thyme and sesame seeds), cheese, and olives.
 Un desayuno típico, té o café con leche, pan pita integral
 con labneh (un tipo de yogur)
 zaatar (tomillo y semillas de sésamo), queso y aceitunas.

One of the many reasons why I wanted to do my mission in the Middle East was to improve my Arabic language skills. I studied Arabic at the university as part of my graduate studies at FIU in 2010 when I was interested in peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but I hardly used it. At the beginning of my mission, I was happy the official language of the Salesian Sisters was Italian since they are an Italian congregation, and I am fluent in that language. But, it didn’t play in my favor since the sisters from the Middle East never spoke to me in Arabic. And in Jordan, the majority of the people with whom I interacted spoke English very well. It was only in the school in Nazareth when I could improve my Arabic. The students helped me a lot!
On a normal day, I was speaking and writing in Italian, Arabic, English, and Spanish, in that order, plus Hebrew when I had Hebrew classes, plus Portuguese the few times I met with the consecrated lay groups Shalom and Canção Nova in Nazareth. I always liked to communicate with people from different cultures and knowing languages is very helpful.

Community life

After living by myself for so many years, it was a challenge to live in a community as large as 9 members, with unknown people. I stayed in 5 different communities, some for only a couple of weekends. I had to adapt to different people, personalities, cultures, ways of doing things, convent superiors, and schedules (wake-up, daily mass and prayers, meals, bed-time). I always wanted to know how leaving in a religious community was, and I had the chance to experience it. The nuns make a lot of sacrifices to dedicate their lives to God and to serve others, and I admire them for that.

Being a blogger during my mission was something I really enjoyed. I had never written a blog before, and I found it to be fun. I actually enjoyed going through my pictures and writing about my experiences; it was like living them again!

Being selected to write for Global Sisters Report was also a wonderful experience, although it took a lot of my time during the four months I wrote for them. I was fortunate to work remotely with Pam, the managing editor, who guided me through the editing process for each blog post in an enriching manner and with a great attitude.

Something I discovered during mission: I love writing!

Cultural                                                                                                                                                  Jordan, Israel, and Palestine are very similar. I was shocked to see so much street garbage in Jordan and in Nazareth, the high levels of dust in the air -that I found daily in my rooms- as well as seeing people smoking in bars and restaurants. The reckless driving, disorganized transit -and excessive honking in Jordan-, and the hostility of the people in the street was also shocking. On the other hand, the Arab culture is generous, affectionate and welcoming; people always invite you to their homes, even if they hardly know you, and like to offer you food and give you gifts.

Although I felt safe at all times in Jordan, Israel, and Palestine, there were a couple of situations that worried me and that are worth mentioning:
1) Last May, I visited a Syrian refugee camp for the first time, which was located in the north of Jordan, near the Syrian border. I had read there were ISIS members infiltrated in the camps and the US Embassy had warned US citizens to avoid the area, so I was hesitant to go. But my Iraqi friend who organized the visit assured me the camp was inhabited by a single family (of 150 members) and it wasn’t dangerous. When I got there, I saw the camp was safe so I felt relieved and visited it for a second time about a month later.
2) I was in Jerusalem on Friday, July 14th, when the attack on Temple Mount. The sisters’ house where I stayed was few blocks away from the Old City and we could hear the helicopters and police after mass was over by 7:30 am and they told us to avoid the Old City area. In fact, the Old City was closed and nobody could get in nor get out.
3) I left the school in Cremisan (Bethlehem-Palestine) on December 5th, the day before Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. I was lucky to leave since Israel closed the check-points to and from Israel to the West Bank for a couple of days. Two weekends later, I was traveling to Cremisan again to spend Christmas in Bethlehem, so to be safe, I had to take a shared taxi from Nazareth to Cremisan (about a 3-hour ride). I had to avoid the demonstrations in Jerusalem near the Palestinian bus station in East Jerusalem and to arrive in the West Bank early on Friday in case Israel closed the check-points.
4) On one of my last Sundays in Israel, February 11th, we went to the Golan Heights as a fun day with the Don Bosco Oratorio and some of the sisters. The day before the trip, there was an incident between Iran, which is currently in Syrian territory, and Israel (Iran sent a drone into Israel on Saturday morning and Israel sent a Jet to strike on the Iranian base in Syria right after, which Syria shot down and fell within Israeli territory). I was afraid of an escalation of events as the Golan Heights is a Syrian territory occupied by Israel since the 1967 war and is the border between both countries. Thankfully, nothing happened on Sunday. I imagine that if there was a safety issue the Don Bosco church would have canceled the trip, but nevertheless, I was worried.

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Rising with Jesus – Sarahi Perez Update

This month has been by far one of the toughest. February has passed and so the honeymoon stage came to an end. I began having feelings of loneliness, and frustration. Adapting to community life was much harder than I thought! During this time however, I’ve noticed that I have become stronger in prayer, patience, and love for others. Saint Mother Teresa has been a great motivator for me. I’ve been reading a book with her thoughts, prayers, and stories and I’ve learned to accept everything that comes with joy. Doing this has made tough moments more bearable and has made me never forget that the one I am working for is Jesus!

The most impactful experience this month was the Holy week mission I went on with the youth group. We went to a small village about an hour away from town. I was able to see Jesus in all the children and families I served. In every smile, in every hug, in every moment of encounter, I felt God’s presence.

I was surprised to learn that I was one of the first laywomen to ever go on mission to that village. This gave the girls there so much hope, to see a young woman like them doing something that men usually do. To hear their stories and share with them the struggles of womanhood was truly a blessing. Jesus has called me to do things that I never thought I was capable of doing, to be his instrument and bring hope to others. I realized that not only do I represent myself, Salesian missioners, and VIDES, but I also represent what an American is, what a young Catholic woman is, and who Jesus is.

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Natalia Liviero in the Holy Land

Natalia Liviero Refugee Camp4
A Dream of Peace in the Middle East

Being acknowledged as a peaceful presence of love and kindness among the adults, youth, and children I served both in Jordan and in Israel is the highlight of my service experience.  Muslims and Christians interact in their daily life in the Middle East and respect each other. At the school where I served, Muslim and Christian children are best friends.

Natalia Liviero Refugee Camp3
Visiting a Syrian Refugee Camp
Refugees are people just like you and me who studied, had a job and a family, and had to leave everything behind to save themselves. In Azraq, near the border of Syria and Saudi Arabia, I visited a camp with Syrian refugees. The trip was organized by Fatima, herself a refugee from Iraq, who raised funds from friends to buy a playground, then new clothes to bring to the children so they could celebrate Eid al-Fitra, which is like Christmas for Muslims. It is important for the kids to wear new clothing on that day. When we arrived at the camp, the kids were playing on the playground brought by Fatima. We were so happy to see them having fun!

Natalia Liviero Refugee Camp5
For now, I am still offering my time and love
to touch the lives of the young people –
one child at a time,
and living out Salesian loving-kindness and joy.
I am just happy to be of service!

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from Geneva

Theresa Nguyen at UNWhat does a VIDES volunteer, serving as an intern at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, do?

Theresa Nguyen, currently there, explains:

My duties include:
— attending Human Rights Council (HRC) sessions, Universal Period Review (UPR) sessions, treaty bodies (TB) meetings, and other related United Nations (UN) events.
— After each session/meeting we write reports and web articles. Currently we interns are writing oral statements to give in front of the HCR and representatives of member states.
— Depending on our skills we translate, create videos, prepare presentations, provide computer support, and organize the office. My specific office duties are to organize the IIMA Human Rights Office library and update all the office computers.

My greatest challenge:
— limited engagement in conversation because I do not speak Italian or French, the main languages of communication

— I pick up certain phrases and repeat them over and over again and use them when I can in conversation.

My greatest Joy:
— moments in the day when all the interns burst out laughing and our sense of community

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Sarahi Perez in Guatamala

My 2nd and 3rd graders are my biggest joy, and being their religion teacher is truly what gives me the strength to endure anything…
I have this motto that no matter what space I enter, I should always leave it better than when I entered it – like fixing a torn poster, picking up trash, leaving my classroom clean for the next person…

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I recently went to some of the poorest communities with one of the priests from our parish here in Carcha. The community he went to celebrate Mass in had, no electricity, shortage of water, and the people spoke only their native language – no Spanish. I did not say much. I smiled and nodded a lot, but somehow I felt like I was preaching the word of God louder than if I was speaking. Going to witness Fr. Victor baptize 13 people and welcome a whole family to the faith was the most beautiful thing I have witnessed so far.

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Meet Estefani

  1. Me
  2. Mission
  3. formation camp1801 CommMass (75)

My name is Estefani Crisostomo. I graduated from the University of California Riverside with a bachelors in Psychology in June of 2016. I have been working as a behavior therapist for the past two years. Many of the clients I work with have autism or adjustment issues. I have also been trained to work with emotionally disturbed children. My work with youth ministry has allowed me to develop a fond love for children and youth, motivating me to further my professional career. I am currently on my 2nd out of 4 semesters in a masters program in clinical counseling so I can become a licensed marriage and family therapist.

Mi nombre es Estefani Crisostomo. Me gradue de la Universidad de California Riverside con una licensiatura en psicologia en Junio del 2016. He estado trabajando como una therapeuta de comportamiento para ninos diagnositicados con autismo o problemas de desarollo. En estos dos anos he aprendido sobre como motivar a ninos con deficits de entendimiento causados por problemas de desarollo (sindrome de down o autismo). Mi trabajo es reducir malos comportamientos como berrinches severos o aggression a si mismo o a los demas a causa de infexibilidad. Tambien tuve un ano de experiencia como una asistente de una clase localisada en una escuela no publica. Todos los ninos en mi salon tenian problemas emocionales a causa de ser huerfanos, ser abusados, o vivir en casas inestables. Este trabajo me dio experiencia en como construir buenas relaciones con jovenes que necesitan apoyo pero se les dificulta expresar sus emociones. Atravez de una relacion que establece la confianza y buena voluntad, los muchachos y muchachas pudieron aprender sobre el gran valor que tienen y lograron expresar sus emociones. Los anos que he estado trabajando en el grupo de jovenes en mi parroquia me han motivado para continuar mi Carrera academica. En este momento acabo de empezar mi Segundo semestre de 4 en una maestria en consejeria clinica. Mi meta es estar certificada como una therapeuta matrimonial y familiar.


I hope to be able to put my experience with youth to great use while on my mission trip this summer. I will be on mission from the end of July to the end of August. I am convinced that serving in a mission where Spanish is spoken will be the best fit for me. This will enable me to help my community the most possible if there is no language barrier. My top three choices to serve in this summer are Dominican Republic, Honduras, and Chile. However I am open to go where the Lord places me.

Deseo usar mi experiencia con jovenes y ninos para ayudar en lo que pueda durante mi mision este Verano del 2018. Los dias que estoy disponible para servir son los dias 26 de Julio hasta el 26 de Agosto. Estoy convencida que mi familiaridad con el espanol es signo de que deberia de servir en un pais donde la gente hable en espanol. Tambien hablo ingles y estoy dispuesta a tartar de ensenar lo basico durante mi visita a la mision. Los paises donde me gustaria servir son Honduras, Republica Dominicana, o Chile. Pero mas que nada, estoy disponible a ir a donde el Senor diga.


1801 FSC Estefani CrisostomoThe two week formation camp I have attended has helped me grow in my ability to properly accompany the youth I will serve in mission but also while I am at home with my youth ministry. The formation training has allowed me to deepen my faith by providing daily mass and time for reflection and prayer. The time I got to spend with the unaccompanied minors at St. Peter St. Joseph’s Children’s Home has been such a blessing. As the daughter of young immigrants, I felt blessed to care for the marginalized and really accompany them for the short time they were with us. Seeing a smile on their faces and their hunger to learn about God led me acknowledge that they gave me much more than I gave them. At St. PJ’s children’s home we were able to start a bible camp. The children who attended were given the choice to attend and the 30 we had were so attentive and inspiring to see. We led the teens in prayer, the acting out of the story of Joseph, songs, crafts, and team building games.

Durante las dos semanas de formacion, aprendi mas sobre como interactuar efectivamente con jovenes. La idea de acompanar a los jovenes en vez de estrictamente dirigir tambien fue presentada muy efectivamente. La formacion me ha permitido crecer espiritualmente al facilitar que atienda a misa diariamente y hacer mas tiempo para orar y reflecionar. Las horas que pude pasar con los jovenes imigrantes recojidos en la frontera fueron unos momentos de leccion tan hermosos. Los ninos en la casa St. Peter’s and Joseph’s hablaban espanol y ciertos dialectos. Como hija de padres de immigrantes, fue un honor servirles a los muchachos con mucha alegria y interes genuino. Ver la sonrisa de los muchachos y su hambre de Dios fue muy inspirante. Durante mi tiempo con los jovenes imigrantes pudimos ensenarles sobre la historia de Jose de Egypto , actuar una obra sobre la historia biblica, cantar canciones, orar, trabajo creativo, y juegos para trabajar en equipo.

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Meet Karia

Hello, my name is Karia.

Karia Roche with Bishop Pheifer

Karia chatting with Bishop Michael Pfeifer, OMI

I am from California. I obtained a B.A in International Business from California State University, Fullerton and currently work at Cerritos Community College. Throughout my academic and professional career, I have had the privilege to work with youth and adults from diverse cultures and backgrounds. While assisting students in their academic challenges I have developed a strong desire to teach. That is why, upon my return from mission, I look forward to starting the credential program for teaching. Among the few things that I enjoy very much are exploring nature, learning different languages, and outdoor activities. Therefore, I am very grateful for and eager about this amazing opportunity to go to Europe or Latin America and immerse myself in this cultural and educational learning and teaching experience. This is a special opportunity that, without doubt, will be meaningful and spiritual, as it touches the conscience and the heart by empathizing with humble and fragile communities.

The Formation and Service Camp provided is an essential component of the VIDES missionary program, for it provides the information, tools and practice that prepares the missionaries mentally and physically. For example, after learning a bit about the children at St. Peter St. Joseph’s Children’s Home, an entertaining lesson and fun activities were designed to lift their spirits through the Word of our Lord. We also joined the children at St. John Bosco School during their lunch and play time. We gave them a VIDES presentation and shared our mission purpose and plan. Both experiences were greatly rewarding, as the children actively participated, demonstrated their joy and expressed their gratitude. The Formation and Service Camp provided a road map for meaningful and quality service, all with the purpose to ensure success for both the mission and missionaries. I personally enjoyed it very much. In addition, it gave me a feel of what it is like to live, interact and serve in a community of sisters who serve and live for the love of God. I personally recommend it, as I have come to realize that we are all already missionaries, so I invite you to come discover why.

1801 FSC Joseph Skit (6)

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