Dhariana Balbuena was born and raised in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. She serves as Spanish Caribbean Field secretary and Nazarene Youth International (NYI) coordinator. Balbuena is also child development coordinator for the Caribbean Region, and active in her local church as a Sunday school teacher and NYI president. She is completing college, majoring in publicity.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
Because I grew up in a family where the only man was my dad, I learned how to do so-called "men's work," such as fixing stuff at the house using bricks, cement, cables, and so on.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be two things: a dentist for children, and a scientist. I loved to mix different things, and enjoyed discovering how things were made and worked.
How do you keep a consistent prayer life?
Every morning, before I get out of bed, I start my chat with God. After that it is easy to keep in touch with Him in prayer all day long in all I do.
Do you have any spiritual mentors?
My parents have been my spiritual mentors since I was a baby. But also some wonderful friends as I have grown up, such as Rosa Saenz. She is the wife of Carlos Saenz, director of the Mexico and Central America Region.
How do you handle being a role model?
It is not easy because people's eyes are on you everywhere you go. I always have to be careful with what I do and say, praying that Jesus makes me more like Him.
What do you want readers to know about the youth on your region?
The youth of the Caribbean are very creative and extremely talented, enterprising, and effervescent. They are free spirited, expressive, proud of their culture, and have an amazing knack for expressing their faith in Christ in their culture and context.
Is it a challenge to work with young people scattered across numerous islands?
There are certainly difficulties, such as the language barriers. The Caribbean Region is unique in that there is fusion of four different language groups: English, Spanish, French, and Dutch. The people share similar yet individual cultures, traditions, and practices. To see all these young people come together and worship God as one is truly amazing.
What person of history would you like to meet?
I have already met my favorite one, who was in the past, is in the present, and will last for ever and ever more: Jesus Christ.
Favorite scripture passage?
"Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this" (Psalm 37:4-5). We can enjoy what we do for God, trusting and obeying Him as a good father. He is willing to give us all we need even before we make a request. I have seen these words working in my life in powerful ways, allowing me to know and feel that I don't need to worry about anything because God is with me.
What brings you joy?
Spending time with a great friend, seeing how the work I do for the glory of God is having results, playing with kids, and having quality time with my family.