by Mary*, Asia
When I think of mentoring, I think of relationships …
… with Cheryl, who met with me weekly when I first committed my life to Christ. She instilled in me the importance of having a daily quiet time (time of Bible reading and prayer), a discipline that has been a lifeline ever since.
… with Myrna, who led a weekly Bible study when I was a young mom with two active kiddos. Her commitment to God’s word, to seeing him at work in the details of life, to prayer, helped shape me in those early years of parenthood.
… with Linda and her strong emphasis on building a godly marriage, on learning contentment, on recognizing that true intimacy comes from a relationship with God.
My definition of mentoring is coming alongside someone, helping them navigate life, doing life together. Sometimes it is formal, organized, intentional; other times more accidental. But it is something I love to do, something I gravitate towards wherever we live.
During our years in Romania, I met with a group of young women I affectionately call “my girls.” We initially got together because they wanted to work on their English. I told them anyone could help them with that, but if they wanted to study the Bible together I would be willing to meet. We learned from each other as we studied the word; shared life’s ups and downs; had sleepovers, bridal showers, baby showers, pizza nights. We grew up together. Yes, WE. Even though I was the age of most of their mothers, I learned a lot from these dear sisters in Christ. We are still in contact via Facebook, WhatsApp, Viber. Technology has enabled those relationships to continue growing despite being a continent apart.
Moving to Asia has led to some new mentoring relationships. One is with Jessica, a young mom I met while attending Entrust’s Facilitating Relational Learning training our first year here. She and her husband are church planters, which can be very difficult, draining and demanding. When I asked her, “Who is asking you how you are doing? How do you nurture your soul?” her eyes filled with tears. “No one, in my seven years here, has ever asked me that. I’ve been praying that God would send me someone who could mentor me!” Initially we got together to chat, see how we were both doing, encourage each other. Now we’re reading a daily devotional book on Proverbs and meeting weekly over coffee to talk about what we’re learning.
Another young woman and I meet to study The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges. We also attend water aerobics together … spiritual discipline and bodily discipline!
Mentoring, to me, is not so much about doing content, but rather doing life, together. Being available, being a friend, being willing to listen and to be vulnerable are what makes it work. And it is worth it! SO worth it!
“Mary’s girls,” Cristina on far left
Hi! I am one of Mary’s girls.
I was one of the last ones to enter the group just two years before Mary left Romania. It was great to have Mary as a mentor. I come from a quite dysfunctional family to whom I cannot turn for good advice, so Mary filled that place. She has a pleasant way to teach you, she knows how to comfort you or how to help you take action. She did all kinds of Bible studies with us, trying to cover all the aspects of our modern life and to help us cope with everything. Every meeting was such a pleasant surprise. She is truly a daughter of God who is making him proud and a good example for each of us. We all miss her here.
*The author remains anonymous due to his ministry in restricted-access regions.
This article first appeared in the Spring 2018 Engage.