Greg Evers, C.PP.S., a candidate in advanced formation with the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, recently completed an internship at Taller de José, an organization in Chicago that accompanies people and serves as a bridge to the social, medical and legal services they need. He wrote this piece for the Taller de José website, tallerdejose.org.
As I reflect on my internship at Taller de José, I think of the various clients with whom I had the opportunity to work and accompany, and I find myself asking, how did I do this?
I came into this internship with a limited grasp of the language and even less mastery of how to navigate government structures and programs. I don’t know how, but somehow I was able to navigate those structures, despite my imperfect abilities.
Throughout my time as a compañero, I would listen to the other compañeros converse with their clients in seemingly fluent Spanish, and I would find myself wishing that I was half as good as them. As I worked with more clients and became more familiar with the vocabulary I needed, I gained confidence in my ability to navigate the language barrier and more effectively communicate the resources available to the client in a way that they could understand. Even if my Spanish is broken, I have found that the clients could still comprehend what I was communicating and have been able to take the necessary next steps towards achieving their goals.
This realization came to me when I accompanied a client to obtain funds to help pay utility bills. When we met with the case worker, we presented the required documents to begin the application. An issue arose when the client presented two bills, both of which were addressed to the client, but at different addresses. I had to act as a mediator between the case worker and the client to resolve the issue. It took a little time and patience for all of us to work through the situation and determine what documents we needed to bring. Eventually, we successfully submitted the application and the client received funding for utilities for the next several months.
My time at Taller de José gave me a renewed sense of confidence in myself as a compañero and as a minster, and that I can make a difference in someone else’s life despite my own imperfections. Being a compañero at Taller de José has helped me embrace more fully who I am as a person and as a minister. I am not going to get everything right all the time on the first try. None of us is perfect. I don’t think most clients expect perfection either. What matters is that we put forward our best effort, despite our imperfections and shortcomings. We all have a line to contribute to the great story of life. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I write very crookedly. But despite our greatest imperfections, I believe that the Great Author knows how to write straight with crooked lines.