by Courtney Fukushima
I first started serving at Evergreen SGV when I was about 19. It started with VBC over the summer with the 6th grade girls, which was when God really began to grow my heart for the youth. People suddenly began asking me to cabin lead at youth retreats which eventually led to being called into ministry as a Surge Junior High advisor about 2 years ago. Soon after, the Lord provided the first mentor and Junior High mentee relationship into my life. Since then, I have been mentoring 5 girls; 2 who are currently in 8th grade and 3 that are freshman in high school. And what a joy and unique experience it has been.
These mentoring relationships have shown me how necessary it is to have our personal walk of faith. To have someone in your life to point you to Christ in every situation you are going through, and who can show you the light even when you can’t see beyond the present may just make all the difference.
Despite knowing this, there were still moments when I doubted and questioned if I was adequate enough to mentor these girls. However, in these moments of doubt God would always step in and tell me that this is not about me. That these discipleships are not only for Him (or for me or my girls), but it is most importantly from Him. I am reminded that it is not my job to transform hearts, but it IS my job to walk alongside these girls and point them to the only One who can. And as the Lord continues to grow me as a disciple of His own, I find my focus centered less on having the “correct advice” to say, but rather on having the correct heart to mentor. “For out of the overflow of [the] heart [the] mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45), so with a right heart of worship, the words will follow.
Mentoring really is a humbling experience because as you learn to lean on the Lord more, you begin to see His power in the work of the other person’s heart. I think this is what makes mentorship relationships so special. With my girls and with my own mentor, we know that the foundation of our friendship is on Christ. And as a mentor, it is so vital and important to keep revisiting this and making sure that this is always true (a good reminder especially in the midst of having so much fun!).
Through these relationships, God has taught me how to truly trust and submit to His guidance before, during, and after every meeting. As a mentor we have such a privilege and position to grow in love, listen well, speak in truth, and to relate to others in a Christ-like manner as we spend quality time with those in our life.
One of the defining moments I had in discipleship was when I realized that God was using the very specific trials from my past in order to bring hope into the next generation. Who would have thought God could use the most painful events in our past to bring Him so much glory?
I’m reminded of a quote from one of Pastor Rocky’s sermons that says “God doesn’t call the equipped...he equips the called.” And we’re all equipped with a story and called to disciple and to build one another up. Mentorship has really showed me that everything we go through isn’t only to grow ourselves but God can also use our stories powerfully in someone else’s life. How will God use your story to impact somebody else’s?