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With the Sheep

Blog Headers 2023-24 (22)

Editor’s Note: Inspired by a passage from the Gospel of Matthew, lay missioner Victor Artaiz considers his time on mission as accompanying Jesus’ sheep.

Being here on mission in Bolivia since January 2022 has allowed me to review my journey, to contemplate my experience, and to discern future steps in my life. Being steeped in Franciscan formation focusing on accompaniment, simplicity, vulnerability, and humility has made me realize my ongoing conversion to being a disciple of Jesus Christ…to being with His sheep.

For me, the highlight of the Evangelist Mathew’s chapters 22 and 25 is following Jesus’s greatest commandments: loving Him with all your heart, soul, and mind, while loving your neighbor as yourself. This encourages me to call and invite The Holy Spirit into my daily walk. With the yoke of Jesus, I have been able to care for the sick, to visit the imprisoned, to give drink to the thirsty, food for the hungry, and clothing to the naked, many of whom were strangers to me, yet gave me in return smiles and tears of love and mutuality.

The sowing of the FMS tools of prayer, leaning in, vulnerability, and perseverance have reaped an abundance of sincere and mutually loving relationships for me here in Cochabamba and other places of Bolivia. 

Attending Mass and Adoration in the Franciscan community, El Abra’s men’s prison chapel, and the country hillside chapel of the community of Los Molinos provides me with the nourishment of The Holy Eucharist and Holy Word to sustain my daily camino. By being present and alert to accompany others on the margins of this country, and both provide and receive the gifts God has blessed us with, I have been granted wisdom to realize the truth and joy of scripture and The Holy Gospel. 

A continuous and evolving journey to share the Word, Body, and Blood of Jesus Christ as His disciple has and will continue to be the call that I am heart-fully drawn to. His sheep will one day hear Him say: “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Mt 25:34) “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Mt 11:15).

Question for Reflection: How do you describe your own evolving conversion?


After a 30 year career in international business and serving communities in Kenya and locally in New Haven, CT, Victor Artaiz is grateful for the opportunity to serve and accompany individuals living on the margins in mutuality and simplicity through FMS’ Overseas Lay Missioner program. Victor's ministries in Cochabamba, Bolivia, include addiction recovery services, accompanying men who are incarcerated, and serving meals to people experiencing hunger.