Kids Hope showed me what it looked like to be a part of a community as a Christ follower. The church is important, but I love that through KH, the church gave back to their local community. It's important to me to try not to live in a Christian "bubble" and I think interacting with my child's family allowed me to see a lifestyle that was different than mine.
My time with Jada was valuable to her because she didn't get one-on-one attention at home, and our hour was all about her. I believe she felt loved and seen by me. In the hour we spent together, my job was to love this little girl who needed it. Now that I think about it, I see much of my relationship with God through the relationship that Jada and I shared too. She didn't need to do anything to receive my attention and love, she just showed up to the Kids Hope room and got love. Although it feels crazy to me, that's what God does...we show up broken and needy and He is there, just because that's who He is.
When I reflect on my time serving with Kids Hope, I am just amazed at how incredible it was to have shared my time with a precious child and be a presence in his life. And I am so grateful he found my presence to be rewarding because I valued every single minute he shared with me.
I never expected that I would be the mentor of a 4th grader at a nearby elementary school in my sophomore year of college. And I did not anticipate developing a relationship with him that I greatly treasure. I have to give all credit to God for showing me every week that the smallest of actions can have the greatest impact. I’ve learned that it is not my responsibility to solve everyone’s problems and save them in a Superman-like manner. But I do have a responsibility to faithfully act and serve others regardless of how certain I feel about the effect of my efforts. I’ll leave that determination to those I encounter in my journey. They can decide the impact of my efforts on themselves. I just hope to be unhindered by personal aspects in how I serve others because I realize the weight and depth of the smallest actions.
I have learned a lot in my time as a mentor. In fact, titles such as mentor can be distracting, since I received as much if not more as I offered. Everyone has something to share with each other and I’m looking forward to seeing how God continues my story and that of the gifted, kind-hearted Kids Hope child I had the unique opportunity to mentor. -Justin