Languages spoken: Spanish
Languages read and written: Spanish, some English
What was your family life like? I grew up with my parents until I was 8 years old, when for financial reasons, they went to work in Brazil, leaving me in the care of my grandparents, along with my younger brother, Yamil. It wasn't easy for me because my grandparents didn't show me the love my parents showed me. But I'm very grateful to them since they, especially my grandfather, instilled great values in me, like respect and honesty. They gave me food and clothing, and in spite of the sadness I went through, God was always with me, even though I didn't see Him. When I was 4 years old, I started attending Beth Shalom Church and the Compassion child development center, where they taught me about God's Word and helped me grow as a Christian and a person. In 2009, my grandparents went to live somewhere else, and I was left in charge of my home. Since 2011, I've been living with my parents and my brother like a real family. I feel very happy and very grateful to God for allowing us to be together.
Describe your childhood community environment: The environment in which I grew up was the Compassion center. They helped me grow according to the Word of our Lord Jesus Christ. At school I started relating to children my age, and Compassion helped me manage more easily. The biggest challenge I had to face was not being with my parents, but I was able to overcome that with God's help.
What are some of your personal interests and passions? My interests are music, economics and society. My passions are teaching children, spending time with young people, dancing, playing the tambourine in the praise ministry at my church, running track and field, and being with animals.
Tell us about your spiritual, physical and academic goals for the next few years: My spiritual goals are to grow according to God's plan for my life and get to know Jesus Christ in depth. I will help more young people come to know our Savior. I will take care of my body and my health, maintaining an appropriate diet and exercise to avoid sicknesses. My academic goals are to do well on exams and have good grades.
Is there anything else you want to share? I consider myself a friendly person, very eager to help others and serve my society. I have big dreams and wishes that I hope to fulfill, with God's help. I play the saxophone and tambourine, and I know how to create choreographies. I won a medal for participation in track and field.
How did you come to accept Christ as your personal Savior? I accepted Christ as my Savior when I was 12 years old, at home. The situation I found myself in at that time was nothing easy. I had to stay with my grandparents, whom I loved, but the treatment I received from them was not pleasant at all. They never showed any sign of affection toward me. During that year my grandfather gave me a small dog, which I loved a lot. She was the only one who listened to me at home. She watched me cry when my grandparents scolded me or spanked me, and she was always with me until one day when she got sick. We didn't have the money to take her to a veterinarian, so I made home remedies so she could recover. I prayed to the Lord that my parents would come back soon and that He would heal my dog. When my grandmother said mean things that hurt me, my dog barked at her, and my grandmother dunked her in a barrel of cold water. My dog got sicker and died. I locked myself in my room and said to God, "Help me. I need help. Give me strength to keep on." Then He told me that He was with me. I felt incredible joy that erased my pain. I realized that God would always be there and that I should never doubt His Word. He helped me comprehend that my parents hadn't forgotten about me and that they were working far away for my future and that of my brother. In that moment I decided to accept Christ as my only Savior and Giver of life. From that day on, I've never felt alone again. I know that God is with me in the good times as well as the bad, always holding me up so I don't fall, and if I do fall sometime, I know He will lift me up.
What is God teaching you right now? God is teaching me to be stronger in order to be able to overcome problems. He has taught me to live with joy, peace and harmony and to have absolute trust in Him. He is my guide and the light on my path. He is also teaching me to see the positive and beautiful side of life.
Describe the impact Compassion has had on your personal and spiritual development: Through the tutors, I learned more about Jesus Christ and the Word of our Lord. All the while, they gave me the support I needed to overcome the problems that plagued me. They taught me to have personal communication with God, and they taught me values like respect, loyalty and honesty. Thanks to Compassion, I was trained academically. They gave me courses like basic English, and they allowed me to enroll in an institute where I was able to study to be a Windows applications and computer assembly technician, which is very useful to me. Compassion always will be my second home, where I developed as a Christian and as a person. They never stopped believing in me.
How are you currently serving in your local church? I participate in the praise ministry, playing the tambourine and dancing for Christ with my group, called Joram.
Who has had the most influence on your life and why? They are my parents and my paternal grandfather. My parents, because I owe all the achievements I've had up till now to them, because I did it all for them. My grandfather, because he was a role model for me. He wasn't very affectionate, but he was always just and impeccable and instilled values like respect, humility and punctuality in me, values I currently live by.
What are some of the problems in your community? The common problems in my community are gangs, groups of alcoholics, people who don't believe in God, the extreme poverty of some neighbors, and aggression within families.
How do you plan to use your degree and leadership skills to address the problems in your community and advance the kingdom of God? I’ll use my profession as a tool for God by tithing, and in that way, keeping the church on its feet and growing to do God's work. I want to create a group for young people determined to leave gangs, alcohol and drugs, with the goal of them coming to know God and accepting Christ as Savior. I want to stimulate the economy through a business to give employment to needy people.