"For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps…" 1 Peter 2:21
It’s been nearly a year, and I never imagined that my dream of flying from Germany to South America as a volunteer at the FSSP mission apostolate in Anolaima, Colombia, would come true.
I began my journey to this beautiful and green country in early August, full of anticipation and high expectations. I’ve been volunteering at the FSSP school Colegio Campestre Santo Domingo Savio for almost 7 months now. I’m learning about other cultures, customs, philosophies, and the natural beauty of the country. But the primary reason I came this far was to spend time with God, get involved, and serve.
This has not been an easy time for me, and even though I frequently face significant barriers, I am confident in God’s will for my life, which gives me the strength to persevere and conquer these challenges. This has been one of my life’s most significant blessings and moments.
My responsibilities include assisting the school’s instructors, whether it’s with English classes or other everyday work. There is always lots to do, but I spend most of my time working with the three kindergarten groups.
Children are always looking for something to do, so I keep an eye on them, play with them, and teach them right from wrong. Despite the fact that it takes a lot of effort, and the kids occasionally misbehave, seeing the delight on their faces as they learn and the love they return to their instructors is extremely fulfilling.
Teaching the children the moral aspects of life is an important part of their growth. We do this by involving kids in fun activities. Students learn to respect and care for one another while playing. Fortunately, we have many green spaces where they can have fun and forget about their family problems.
Because we live in the country, the school has a farm that we try to visit once a week, which is wonderful for them. It’s amazing to witness how much the kids like being in nature and to see their unique perspectives on things.
Without a doubt, Catholic education comes first. The children learn to pray to our Heavenly Father with devotion from a young age. We make every effort to establish a contemplative environment. When the bell rings at 12 p.m., all school activity comes to a halt. Everyone in the room rises to their feet and prays the Angelus.
Aside from my regular duties, I’ve had the opportunity to assist with Gregorian chant at Sunday masses. For recreation we occasionally go on field trips on Sundays. When it isn’t possible, we simply keep ourselves occupied with the remaining tasks.
Difficulties? At first, the language barrier was unquestionably a significant impediment. It was challenging to speak with others. My Spanish was limited, but with daily engagement and assistance from the staff and students, this barrier has nearly vanished. As a result, education is reciprocal: they learn, and I learn.
Working with children is especially rewarding because they always tell you what they think. Children are diminutive beings who delight in the insignificant. One student in particular regularly says to me, “Good morning Miss Felicitas, who is always smiling!” Some days are difficult but I try to live up to Mother Teresa’s maxim: “He gives the most who gives with joy.”
This opportunity in Colombia is a wonderful and formative experience for me. I have already gained experience and can continue to get more. This year will always hold a special place in my heart. I will always remember the wonderful individuals I met and the amazing memories I made there.
God bless you all!
Guest Blogger and Missionary
Joyfully volunteering at FSSP Colombia’s St. Dominic Savio Country School in Anolaima, Colombia
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