Praise through Mentoring!
I tend to equate my interaction with the mentored in a missions kind of manner. The reason for this is that I am a missionary at heart. I view myself as one who leads people to the Lord at His appointed time and who coaches them forward in the ways of the Lord.
In my little corner of the world, around the bend, next door or up the street, I can show the same heart for missions. My heart for God. My mission field may be right in my own backyard. It is still my outreach but I am bringing people into my surrounding area -into my home. This gives a warm, cozy, comfortable touch to my mission and impact. Ultimately, my in-home reach becomes an extension of my outreach to people in my small town. I especially enjoy this.
I’ve mentored some young women who have been involved in substance abuse both individually and in a group. When one becomes entangled physically and mentally in the drug culture, the absolute and only way to wholeness is by the power of the Lord working in his or her life: the effect of drugs taps into every aspect of the person’s life, i.e., personality, work, relationships, honor, trust, mood, socialization and the list goes on. No matter where a person may be in the journey, there is always hope when the Lord is beckoned through prayer to take control.
Casual conversations around the table with coffee, tea and crumb cake, Danish or cookies –nothing fancy. All that matters is sincere communication, a loving heart and a desire to impart the light of Christ. These are not the only times for gathering. Stopping in a department store or a fresh produce stand; going for a walk may serve as an opportunity for mentoring, in many ways. Your message of God’s love is carried in your attitude and behavior; the way you deal with people, your manner of interaction, your courtesy in driving, your communication at Bible Study or church, your conversation with her or him on the phone and the way you present yourself in a multitude of settings speak volumes to the person who desires to emulate you.
My maternal grandmother, a lovely woman of God, was my mentor since I was a young girl of 7 years old. We sat together in church on Sunday mornings; we went for walks together; read the Bible together and just thoroughly enjoyed being with each other. I wanted to be like her because she was kind and loving and fun. When she spoke about the Lord, there was a spiritual lilt in her step, a kind of tangible joy. The exchange between the Savior and her. The trust she experienced in Him. Her gentle voice, her sincere and encouraging manner with those around her. I guess I watched her every move and loved her because of her love for the Lord. My relationship with my grandma became deeper and stronger as the years passed and I treasure the gift of having known her the way I did. She so endeared herself to me and I chased her zeal for the love of God and developed a passion for souls.
Mentoring is not just a one-hour-a-week situation. It will occur for as long as you mentor -and in whatever situation you find yourself with the mentored. Your behavior as well as your words represent who you are in Christ.
Carol Ann Castagna