As I was reading Restless by Jennie Allen last summer, I began to pray and think through what I was truly passionate about in ministry. One of the areas I returned to multiple times was coming alongside and helping and encouraging other women who are preparing to serve or are serving overseas. Because of my current responsibilities I imagined this area of ministry might not become a reality for a couple more years.
However, I decided to begin investing more intentionally in the lives of those I already knew in overseas ministry. What I didn’t anticipate was being contacted about being a mentor for Velvet Ashes Fall Connection Groups. But I was. God had already been preparing my heart for this ministry, and after I spent time praying about the opportunity, and I agreed to be a mentor.
Even though I agreed and was excited about mentoring a group of women, I was anxious as well. What if I was the youngest person in the group? What if the women had struggles I couldn’t relate to? What if I was unable to help and encourage the women? What if they didn’t like me? What if there was a technology problem, and I couldn’t solve it?
The day of our first meeting I was nervous. Nervous about hosting a group video chat on Skype because I’d actually never even participated in one before, let alone hosted one. Nervous about meeting the other women via Skype. Nervous about leading and directing the conversation. I wasted a lot of time asking what if questions and being nervous because after the first week, I felt like I had a new group of friends.
As we met on Skype and shared in our private Facebook group each week, our friendship and connection strengthened. And instead of viewing myself as “the mentor,” I began to view myself as simply the one in charge of beginning the Skype conversation, asking a few questions and posting to Facebook. This change was simply a reflection of how well all of us connected and how the women in the group encouraged and helped me each week.
As we began to share prayer requests in our Facebook group, I saw a change in our interaction on Skype. We were becoming prayer warriors and encouragers for each other. No matter the situation or request, we came alongside and helped. Although some of our countries of service overlapped, none of us were close enough to help each other in person, but all of us believed in the power of prayer.
As I looked at my Facebook notifications one morning, I saw one of the women, Kayla, had posted on our group page. She and her roommate had experienced a home invasion the night before. Thankfully they were safe and hadn’t woken up, but some of their things had been stolen, and their sense of safety and peace was shaken. My heart broke.
Part of my story of serving overseas includes a serious home invasion. I knew what it was like to be thousands of miles from home and to no longer feel safe. As I prayed for Kayla, God put it on my heart to send her some Scripture verses which I had clung to after my home invasion. Verses which helped calm my fears and allowed me to sleep at night.
I hadn’t chosen my connection group, and the women had mainly signed up based on the time which worked best for them. However, God knew what would happen. He knew how our group would bond and pray for each other. He knew Kayla would have her apartment broken into. He knew I would be her group leader and would be uniquely equipped to help and encourage her during this difficulty.
The conversation during our Skype call that week focused on celebration. The week hadn’t been easy for our group, yet as we compared stories about fireworks and parades in foreign countries, there was laughter and joy. Seven weeks of sharing with and praying for each other created a community who loved and helped each other during difficult days.
The close bond our group formed wasn’t something I anticipated, and it certainly isn’t something I can take credit for as the mentor. All of us entered the group willing to be vulnerable in a safe place and seeking community with other women who serve overseas. As the mentor, I was simply the one God chose to guide an incredible group of women through discussion questions each week.
What has been a help to you in this season?
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