Follow the Adventures of our Local Young Adult Service Corps Volunteer in Brazil
Greetings from Seattle!
My name is Nina Boe, and I am a 24-year-old in the Diocese of Olympia. For 22 years I have been a West Seattle resident. Since 2005 I have been attending St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church in West Seattle, also working there as a youth leader for two years. Growing up in the diversity of Seattle and the public school system, I have long loved all things international, and an interest to travel and see things for myself. In high school I became quite interested in Eastern Europe, and after graduating in 2005 I visited Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina. I went on to attend the University of Washington for Political Science and Eastern European Studies, gaining fluency in Serbo-Croatian language and conversational Turkish. I spent summer of 2011 in Norway at the University of Oslo’s International Summer School taking a course on Peace Studies.
In January I applied for the Young Adult Service Corps, or YASC. It’s a great program in the Episcopal Church that provides young adults from the ages of 18-30 the opportunity to spend a year in service in another country in the wider Anglican Communion. I was invited with sixteen other young adults from throughout the Episcopal Church to YASC’s discernment retreat in Florida in early February. We had sessions with mission personnel, discussions with people who had previously served in YASC, and also an official interview for potential placement. I informed YASC staff of my interest in continuing the process, and within a week after the discernment weekend, heard back that they too were interested in my pursuing this opportunity.
Fifteen of the seventeen invited to the discernment weekend chose to pursue the process further, and so we began waiting for placements. YASC has service opportunities in various countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. At the discernment weekend we gave any preferences we have, but placements are contingent both upon our skills and interest, as well as the needs of the diocese in which we would be placed. I had given a preference for each region, but was curious to see where I would go. Early April, I received a call with an offer of a placement: Sao Paulo, Brazil! This was one of my choices, and the more I had thought about it, the more excited I became about it. I eagerly threw myself into learning Portuguese, and am still working on it.
The Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil is organized into nine dioceses and one missionary district. There are some 100,000+ baptized members with 45,000+ confirmed ones. The current archbishop is the Most. Rev. Mauricio Jose Araujo de Andrade. Brazil is the largest country in South America, and the sixth largest in the world (est. 192 million). Like the rest of Latin America, Brazil’s population is predominantly Roman Catholic.
I will be in the city of Sao Paulo (some 20 million) supporting the office of the Provincial Secretary, Arthur Cavalcante. Aside from being busy on a national role, he is also a parish priest at the Church of the Holy Trinity. I anticipate being involved with this congregation as well, and some parishioners have already been in contact with me! Both Church of the Holy Trinity and the wider church in Brazil are quite involved in numerous social justice issues – land issues & ownership, HIV/AIDS, sexual diversity, violence against women, to name a few. The Church in Brazil is also planning numerous activities in June around the same time as the United Nations conference on Sustainability in Rio de Janeiro.
This is just a brief overview of the information I have now, but I am very excited about this opportunity which lies ahead! We have two weeks of mission training in July, and it appears that most people will leave for their placements in August. I plan to be in contact with the diocese and sharing my experiences via The Episcopal Voice, and also my home congregation, but I would invite you all to walk with me on this journey via my website http://ninaboe.blogspot.com. As I am able before I go, I am also interested in sharing this information in person with congregations – mission is obviously integral to the church, as is encouraging more active participation from the young adults in our congregations.
I am thankful for Bishop Rickel’s willingness to share this with you and greatly appreciate the prayers and support of the Diocese of Olympia as my sending diocese in this wonderful opportunity of a year of service with the church in Brazil. Thank you very much / muito obrigada!