In his sermon the pastor said, “If you are going to be salt, you must be in direct contact with those God has called you to minister too.” At that moment, I realized I could not think of a ministry where that is more appropriate than Long Island Youth Mentoring’s one-to-one methodology.
I asked *Adam, a twelve year old, if his mentor had shown him something new about God. Without any hesitation he said, “*Troy radiates Jesus and I hope that I will shine like him someday.” Now I knew Adam liked to talk and that words are his friends, but to hear this poetic answer from him still brought me to tears right there in the middle of Applebees.
I asked a question of each of them, “Do you think of God any differently because of your match?” Faith*, the mentor, readily answered that she has found that God has a sense of humor through her match. She finds spending time with Denise* a great joy. Denise took a little more time to ponder the question as she removed all the unwanted items from her banana split, including the bananas! She finally answered…“I can hear God now.”
Mrs. Ramsey is also very depressed and has had many serious health issues as well as financial crises. Her Area Director has been there to encourage and pray with and for her; to exhort her to keep on keeping on not only for her children’s sake, but because Jesus loves her and died for her too. It is truly amazing to see what God can do through friendships that point to Jesus as the source of love and hope that has been experienced.
July turned to Susan and told her face-to-face, “You were always there for me, throughout everything, and not everybody was. Your encouragement kept me going when I wanted to give up and your compassion let me know that I could tell you anything.”
Katie* was and is a troubled young woman. All of her life’s “demons” have yet to be exorcised, but at the very least, the reality of how much her Youth Mentoring friend has meant to her over the last 10 years is finally sinking in. As we conversed about nothing and everything, the most poignant sentence she spoke to me was regarding Lois and her husband. Her exact words were, “If it wasn't for LIYM, I'd be dead.”
He wanted to thank John for the ministry of Youth Mentoring and the life changing effect it had on his life. He is currently enrolled in Culinary Institute and has a promising future. He is happy and well adjusted and has had a good life with many happy memories, which he credits to his Youth Mentoring match. He related that he has a brother who did not get matched with a Youth Mentoring volunteer and unfortunately, that brother has been in and out of trouble for years, is not happy and has no plan for a future.
I think that if we sense a “tug on our conscience” to do something that God’s word or Jesus’ life agree with, then God may literally be telling us to do it. This distinction is very important. I believe that the reason many people get a “tug on their conscience” and then put the idea aside because of busyness, fear or finances is that they do not attribute the thought to a direction from God.
Shandra is a kid who stands out in a crowd of her peers and to them, it is as if she carries a sign that reads, “Pick on me.” She is sweet and talkative with a positive outlook on life, but she just doesn’t “fit in”. The subject of friends is conspicuously absent from the conversations between Beverly and Shandra. There is an aunt she loves, mom and grandma, but no friends to talk about. School is simply a lonely place for her. This is an at risk kid in the making.
I pulled up to the front of *Bridget’s house. She was sitting outside on the stoop waiting for me to arrive. She turned and yelled through the door to her older sister, announcing that she was leaving. She was running to the car before I could even open my door. We were off to the circus. It wasn’t just any circus, it was the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and she was so excited!