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 final column by Baeverstad is below.
As our last week of Totus Tuus comes to a close, a mixture of emotions is rolling through my head. I am so grateful for the gifts The Lord has provided me through this summer so it is sad to know that it has all come to an end.
We spent the past week, July 21-25, at St. William Parish in Fort Lupton. This parish provided another unique and fruitful week for us.
St. William’s is a primarily Spanish-speaking community. This provided a large challenge for most of our team because we do not speak much Spanish. However, one member of our team, Adrian Hernandez, is from Mexico City and acted as our head translator.
It was great to hear Adrian speaking his first language all week because we saw a different side of him that came out with his natural self. He has been working on his English all summer so it was quite the treat to see his interactions when he was comfortable with the language.
This also created a special relationship with the kids at the program. Many of the kids were bilingual and understood English well. They got excited when the teachers would try Spanish. The kids would help us teachers and laugh with us at our mistakes. I was touched by the natural Christian charity each one of them possessed. It was humbling to be the one learning from them most of the week.
The kids also showed a genuine longing to know and follow the Lord. They were so motivated about the classes—almost more than anything else because they were interested in learning more about the faith. The growth that we witnessed from the kids was incredible. I credit that to their willingness and openness to the Lord.
The night program also brought new experiences to us. Most of the parishes we’ve visited had well-formed youth groups established. At St. William’s, the youth program is relatively new. The teens that were involved were enthusiastic about their youth group and had a desire to grow as men and women of Christ.
Every night we split into small groups with the guy leaders and the girl leaders meeting with the guys and girls respectively. Usually it takes about half the week to get the teens to open up and ask questions and challenge us. This group, however, drilled us with questions the first day. Their passion for Christ was apparent and stirring for us to witness.
It has been a wonderful summer and I am happy that I was able to be a part of the Totus Tuus program. I am sure all the blessings the Lord has provided this summer will have a lasting impact on those who attended and those who taught these past seven weeks.
I am thankful for Totus Tuus. The program will always have a place in my heart. Totus Tuus Maria.
Brett Baeverstad is a native of Fort Collins who is studying biomedical engineering at Colorado State University. This is his first summer teaching Totus Tuus. When he’s not studying, he enjoys spending time on the golf course, shooting hoops, skiing and doing anything outside where he can enjoy beautiful Colorado.