I have been involved in a mentor program at my church, Port City Community Church, for about a year now. We are given a child that may have some issues with social skills or not enough attention at home. I have lunch once a week with a little girl and for the sake of privacy, whenever I blog about our lunches, I am keeping all information scrambled (different names, school name, days, etc.) It’s a great way to serve outside the church without having to go to a third world country. I mentored, let’s call her Mary, last school year and I’ve requested to mentor her again this year; I’ll probably stay with her until she leaves elementary school.
Last year was difficult, we barely spoke each time we had lunch, I felt like she didn’t want me there. Mary was most likely thinking “Why is she here?” So, I pushed through and carried on, acting like she did want me there and not caring about the eye rolls or the longing looks back at her friends. Anyway, the school year ended, I gave her fun stationary and stamps so we could write back and forth over the summer but she never wrote.
When the new school year began I signed up to be her mentor again (instead of requesting a different child.) I was dreading starting our lunches again. Imagine, having lunch with someone (for a year) you want to pour your heart into and help and they don’t even care that you’re spending time with them. I was praying all summer for God to watch over her and bring Joy into her life, and I was praying even more for something to talk about during our lunches and that my presence was helping somehow.
So, I showed up and as she saw me she ran to me and hugged me. I thought “this is what it’s about,” the long run, not the short term results, but what happens over time. Over our first lunch of the year she talked the whole time about what she did over the summer and that her mom didn’t think the Disney stamps I gave her were real and threw them out. My heart was relieved that there was another reason for not writing, not because she simply didn’t like me.
Our conversations still hit some road blocks sometimes and I’ll have to bring her attention back to me or purposely start a conversation about nothing to keep her focused. Even though I stress about keeping a conversation going, each lunch always works out and I leave feeling like I helped in some small way.