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HomeLocalWeek 2: Summer at St. John the Evangelist in Yuma

Week 2: Summer at St. John the Evangelist in Yuma

Two young adults—Brett Baeverstad and Summer Swisher—who are working as teachers in the youth summer program Totus Tuus being offered at parishes across the Denver Archdiocese, are writing a weekly blog about their experiences for the Denver Catholic Register. The week two column by Swisher is below.

Wow, I cannot believe that the second week (June 9-13) of Totus Tuus is already over—what a week! My team and I traveled from Yuma, Colo., west to Boulder. It has been a wonderful experience.

This week was rewarding yet challenging. The daytime program was beautiful. The first- and second-grade “power learning sessions” were filled with excitement as the children were blown away by how big God truly is; they just could not believe it. The third- and fourth-grade children were an energetic group and absolutely loved our silly songs like “Bessie the Heifer” and, my personal favorite, “Mr. Monkey.” The fifth- and sixth-grade kids were humorously sassy yet quite intelligent and open to learning new things. Although super fun, the days are quite tiring. As soon as the daytime program ended, we were thrilled to relax— but not for long, for soon the evening program began!

The change between Yuma and Boulder was surprisingly significant. Coming from a small Hispanic farming town of 3,000 to a larger city was quite evident in our interactions with the kids. Although it took a few days for the kids to warm up to us, the week turned out to be beautiful. The girls groups had great discussions about different topics such as how we are able to live our Christian life when family and friends do not. We also discussed vocation, having a deeper faith and trust in the Lord, and striving for holiness.

Not only do we desire to teach the kids and teens to grow in relationship with the Lord, but we also strive to bring the Lord everywhere we go. This week, our team met many amazing families who hosted us for dinner. It was refreshing to see families who were striving to live Christian lives and emulating the beauty of the Trinity. On June 10, our teams had the night off and were free to eat dinner anywhere we wanted. We decided to eat on Pearl Street, where we encountered a wonderful woman named Rose who was singing and playing a drum. Noticing a deep sense of pain in her eyes when no one was paying attention to her as she performed across the street from another performer who had quite an audience, we decided to approach and talk to her. She played a special song for us and was filled with joy that we spent time with her.

This is one of the beauties of the Lord and of Totus Tuus: the great opportunity we are given to not only meet so many different people but to truly encounter and love them—whether kids, teens, families or people on the street—in order to show that they are truly seen, desired and loved by God.

Summer Swisher, 21, is a recent graduate of the University of Colorado in Boulder. She earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology with a minor in dance and a minor in religious studies. She loves Jesus, people and dance. This is her first year teaching Totus Tuus, for which she feels honored and blessed. Summer Swisher

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Roxanne King
Roxanne King
Roxanne King is the former editor of the Denver Catholic Register and a freelance writer in the Denver area.

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