Thrown in the deep end in Juárez

As you all know if you’ve been reading this blog, I’ve gone to Ciudad Juárez to work on a new project created by the Salesianos, a Catholic group devoted to helping young people. Well, things have taken an unexpected turn for me. I had expected to be a simple worker bee, inserted into some appropriate slot. But on my very first day at work on Monday, my colleague Aarón (pictured in the car with me below) asked me if I wanted to be co-coordinator of the entire project with him. With a mix of excitement and terror, I said yes.

So, I have been thrown in the deep end, and to be perfectly honest, it feels a bit overwhelming. It’s a huge job, unlike anything I’ve done before. I feel like Dory, the fish from Finding Nemo, saying “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.” I’m trying to soak up as much as I can as quickly as I can. And since it is all in Spanish, the agua I’m in is muy profunda indeed. (Below: I’m at the door of our office on my first day.)

Yet along with the fear of going under, I feel genuine excitement and joy. I feel like I’m exactly where God wants me to be. And He has blessed me with lots of helpful people. I’m very grateful for Aarón and all of the staff at Desarrollo Juvenil del Norte (Youth Development of the North). They are deeply committed to bringing the love of God to our brothers and sisters in need, and they have all been so helpful and so patient with me. They’ve made it clear that they’re happy to have me with them. And frankly, they seem to have more confidence in me than I have in myself. (Below is a picture of some of our wonderful staff.)

I am, of course, learning more every day about the project that I’m now co-coordinating. It is called “Construyendo Sueños,” or “Building Dreams.” We will be working with youths who are either in trouble with the law or at risk of getting into trouble. We aim to give these youths tools they can use to build their dreams and live happy lives. We will be providing services like psychological counseling, family assistance, job training, cultural and sports programs, legal assistance, spiritual development, and more. Above all, we hope to simply offer our loving support and affirm our kinship with these young people as fellow human beings and children of God.

So, we’re off and running. On Wednesday, Aarón and I interviewed potential members of our team: social workers, attorneys, psychologists, etc. I never dreamed that I’d ever be able to conduct job interviews in Spanish, but I actually managed it pretty well, with a lot of help from Aarón. We have now hired all of the members of our new team. We had a team meeting on Thursday, and I’m already impressed with their dedication and passion for the project. I think we picked the right people!

Thus ends an amazing and life-changing week for me. It began in El Paso on Sunday, where Aarón and I went to do a little shopping. (I’ve included a picture of the border crossing above.) While we were there, we ate at the Panda Express Chinese restaurant, and my fortune cookie message seemed oddly appropriate, especially since the next day would be my first day at my new job. It said, “Your most important work is yet to come.” Fortune cookies are usually just silly fun, but I think God may have been sending me a message with this one. I’m clumsily dog-paddling right now, but this feels like it was meant to be. And so I trust that in time, I’ll learn to swim gracefully in the deep end.

P.S. Update on Scott Warren trials: Scott’s felony trial concluded on Friday. The jury deliberated for five hours on Friday but did not reach a verdict. Deliberations will continue on Monday. And still no verdict from the judge in his misdemeanor case.

10 Replies to “Thrown in the deep end in Juárez”

  1. Brilliant Greg! I’m absolutely delighted for you. Who could have foretold this a year ago? Keep swimming. I’m reminded of that saying along the lines of: “The wind of God’s grace is always available to you – you just need to set your sail.” You certainly seem to have set your sail!

    I wish you all the grace in the world.

  2. So happy for you Greg. It’s been a long journey but it’s finally all coming together. Your faith and dedication are an inspiration and a joy to see in how it will touch all our brothers. amor y bendiciones

  3. Wow Greg. What an adventure! You really did dive into the deep end. I’m sure your co-workers confidence in you is well placed. And of course it always helps to know, as you do, that you don’t walk alone. Heartfelt prayers and love to you, dear Greg.

  4. Yep, it is His plan and He is always certain about what, when and to whom we are to meet. Keep swimming, head up and repeat: His Plan, His Plan, when you have doubts about yourself.
    You have been feeling this in your bones for years, His call to action. Your mighty companions hold you firm without doubt that your are ready. Love to you brother.

  5. Greg,

    I am quite impressed at where God has taken you. He knows you are ready. The work you do there will have far reaching effects in bringing healing and light to those young men and women who need just the gifts you bring. Onward!!

  6. What a wonderful place for you to be. I send you hugs and blessings. You are an inspiration, and will bring miracles of love to all you serve.
    I love the big smile on your face. 🥰
    Angels go with you Greg. 😇

  7. Oh Greg I could not think of a better person than you to do this job. What a gift you are to this organization. With all the bad press the Catholics are getting lately (and rightly so) it warms my heart to see the good work they are doing as well. Sending you much love and appreciation you EMS.

  8. Oh my God!! Receiving such a promotion, before your first day of work is unheard of. And then conducting job interviews, on the 3rd day. It staggers the mind. I love the purpose of the project and the ability of your your colleague Aaron to do what looks like following guidance. I think you ARE in God’s care, where you can give your gifts joyfully, (fully with joy). It is so good to see God in action.
    Love to you and your friends!

  9. Greg, I’m so happy to see how you have been led to where you are. I’m sure you are in the right place and are qualified to do the job. May you be a blessing to everyone you encounter.

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