From the Perspective of Chicago Semester Social Work Students

From the Perspective of Chicago Semester Social Work Students

Friday, March 23, 2012

A New Sense Of Meaning At Breakthrough Urban Ministries, by Allison Theune

It's over half way through the semester, I'm really comfortable at my internship site, and I'm getting to the point of  utter exhaustion. This is the perfect concoction for complacency and monotony. I sometimes struggle getting up in the morning and have a hard time being excited to leave for work at 6:45 in the morning. I'm starting to recognize that I'm taking everything for granted, and not looking at them as I should. I need to be grateful about the opportunity I've been given. I need to give every guest the patience and time they deserve. I need to serve to the best of my abilities EVERYday, not just when I feel up to it.

Thankfully, the Lord has supplied me with incredible guests to work with at Breakthrough! I continue to be blown away by the amount of optimism and inspiration that I experience from the men and women that walk through our doors each day. Their desire to love and serve the Lord, determination to better their lives, and daily pursuit for justice is incredible! Just today, I met a man that is staying in our men's shelter who would have spoken to me all day if he had had the chance. And although his stories seemed endless, he was a true inspiration in the way he had been able to turn his life around. The way he spoke about God was an incredible testimony in itself. He told me of his past life full of mistakes and consequences but that he has since found peace and comfort in the Lord. He told me that he believes every word in the Bible because he has no choice, it's just the truth. This type of raw faith is so inspiring and genuine.

This example is just one of many encounters that have brought me to a new sense of meaning at Breakthrough. Many of the guests have adopted the lifestyle of taking life one day at a time. They daily thank God for waking them up that day. When was the last time you thanked the Lord for keeping you alive for one more day? I am challenged by this outlook because this faith is so childlike and wonderful. They have no doubt that the Lord will provide for them in His way and in His time. How is it that people living in such despair and desperation can have such a faith? In the world's view, these people should be just that- in despair and desperate. Yet through their need and lack of resources, they are able to not only endure but be hopeful about their future. They truly believe and know that God will provide for them.

This week, Chicago Semester put on a "Hunger Banquet", which helped raise awareness about the homeless and hungry in Chicago. We were able to experience the differences between social classes and to reflect on hunger and need right here in Chicago. Although this has been a common theme for me this semester, I was able to discover more about myself and the world around me. I also hope it brought more awareness to the other students as well! Having the banquet also made me rethink my role at Breakthrough, and how I've allowed my self to become complacent.

So this is where my apathy ends. These last five weeks are going to be full of passion and love for the guests that come in our doors. And I'm committed to doing whatever it takes to ensure that they get the services they deserve as well as the personal conversations they need. I'm not here for myself this semester, but for the glory of the Lord. I will allow him to use me as an instrument in his wonderful plan! And I will take moments to notice the small things that can cause so much joy and happiness, such as birds chirping, flowers blooming, and the sun setting.