Seven years ago I became a mentor. I started visiting a fourth grade girl at Holmsley Elementary. Every week, we spent 30 minutes together. We talked about school, friends, books, interests, and whatever else she brought up.
When the fourth grade year ended, she asked me to come back the next year. However, when fifth grade began and I returned, things progressed differently. Several times, special school activities were going on simultaneously with our meeting time. I could tell she wanted to go to participate in those activities with her friends, so I would let her go. I would tell her that I would see her the next week. Because of this, we did not spend as much time together in fifth grade as we did in fourth. Even though we did not always get to visit, I still went every week to see her. I began to wonder if our time together meant anything to this young girl or if it was just an “activity” she was obligated to do. The year ended, and my mentee did not ask to have me back again.
I never saw this student again until yesterday.
It happened when I was in Chick-fil-A with my son, Ben, having lunch. A teenage girl came up to me and asked if I remembered her. I knew she looked familiar, but I struggled to place her. After five years, she was a sophomore in high school and looked quite different. She told me she was the girl who I visited at Holmsley. I was so excited to see her, and I greeted her by name. She then introduced me to her friend saying, “This lady came every week to spend time with me.” She was all smiles!! I was so blessed that she came to greet me. From the look on her face, I knew our time together had been meaningful to her.
This year I entered the mentoring program again. But in my heart, I remembered what happened in the past. I wondered if my time would mean anything to the children I would meet. After running into the girl from many years ago – receiving her greeting and hearing her voice as she introduced me- I am deeply encouraged and am so glad I stepped back into mentoring.
I discovered that giving your time as a mentor may not have immediate visible effects. But, I believe that over time you have the opportunity to encourage and bless each child in ways you may never know.
This is why I share my story. Maybe you have mentored and wondered if your investment made a difference. Be encouraged- you made an impact. Maybe you have wondered about becoming a mentor, but had doubts about your ability or fears about mentoring. Be courageous- God takes acts of simple obedience and produces eternal fruit for his glory. You might not have someone come up to you with their testimony like I did at Chik-fil-A. But know this: your time and prayers matter to God. The Lord is working and I am so grateful!!