I believe in mentoring young people because mentoring was a powerful force in my own life for great good when I was young. I came to the Lord out of a very traditional Jewish background when I was in high school, a bumpy time for most young people. For the first two years of my faith, I floundered spiritually, because I was only in fellowship with other believers sporadically.
God then brought along a couple, David and Linda, who understood what a young, confused, Jewish believer needed. I wasn’t an easy person to deal with, but they lived the life of Yeshua before me with love and acceptance. On more than one difficult occasion (I can hardly remember now what the particulars were, but when you’re young everything seems difficult), Linda stopped what she was doing when I rang her doorbell. She sat down and listened to me each time as if I were the most important thing she had to deal with all day.
David and Linda mentored a group of about 20 high school students. Of that group, about seven are in full-time ministry today. I believe that there is a correlation between being deeply cared for and listened to as a young person, and the value you can learn to give and have for others as you serve when you are older. As young people under their consistent care, each of us in our group came to believe that we were significant.
I met another couple through David and Linda. They were Jewish believers who took a great interest in me. I was about 16 when I met Isadore and Ruth. They helped me further understand that believing in Yeshua was the most Jewish thing I could do. Somehow, they also saw in me great potential and they believed that God had a future and a hope” for me: and a Jewish husband, Steve, whom I married in 1977.
I began to get my own vision for mentoring in 1992 when I served at Camp Gilgal. When the lights were out at night, my cabin of 12-yearold girls started to talk about the deep things that were on their hearts. Somehow, with the lights off and the sound of crickets outside, inside our cabin they found acceptance and trust in me and in each other. Some of these girls are still part of my life to this day.
Right now, as a mature woman in the Lord, I have several young women whom I’m purposefully trying to encourage. It is not a haphazard action; I’ve decided to pour into them what has been given to me. It’s such a blessing to try to help them, but sometimes I feel that I’m the one who’s receiving much more than I give.
As adults we don’t realize what big marks we leave in the lives of young people. A kind word fitly spoken at the right time; stopping to pray over a difficult problem although you have more “important” things to do at that moment; making a meal out of the nothing you have in your refrigerator because they’re hungry … all these things speak powerfully of the love of Messiah.
Mentoring has more to do with loving and availability than anything else. The time you give to a young person is never wasted. It can reap results in ways you never thought possible; I’m proof of that.