Ask me to describe our Hosea Mentors in one word? That’s easy, HEROES!
At Hosea we firmly believe that the services we provide and programs we offer are very important to the success of the young people we serve, but they are not the most important part. Relationships are! We currently have a group of 12 adults who give not only their time to the young people we serve, but their lives as well.
They model 1 Thessalonians 2:8 with incredible strength, joy and humility.
“Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.”
The 12 youth who are participating in our Thursday night Life Skills classes through our Life Discovery Program have been doing well, working hard and making incredible strides for the past 9-12 months. However, in the past 5 months since we have integrated mentors actively doing life alongside these young people on a more regular basis, the amount of growth and progress we’ve seen has been unreal. Often when people say we have seen growth and progress, they instantly think of the obvious areas that are easy to measure like consistent employment, housing and showing up for school and passing classes. Don’t get me wrong, those things are huge and they are definitely happening. But something far more significant than a paycheck is taking place.
We have started to see an incredible shift in all of these courageous young people, a shift in their spirits, in their hearts and in their minds. We’ve noticed many of them choosing patience over anger more and more, conversation and expression over assumption and defensiveness, choosing positive activities to occupy their time rather than defaulting to using drugs or drinking. The biggest one has been watching them really open up on Thursday nights to each other, their mentors and themselves. You can clearly see as they’re sitting there sharing celebrations, struggles and dreams that they are physically, mentally and emotionally choosing to show up to “the table” that is about their own personal growth and about embracing the future God has for them. I have seen some of these same faces show up to this table in the past, unable to really embrace and believe that their lives could be about more, that they themselves were good and capable of good things! And that my friends, is happening. They are taking what they’re learning on Thursday nights and from their times with their mentors throughout the week and really applying it to their lives and relationships. Instead of letting the day run them, they are choosing to wake up most mornings and take advantage of the day!
All of this is a direct reflection to the countless hours of prayer, conversation, adventures, life on life and often just sitting and listening that our mentors do with our young people every week. Our mentors do more than show up once a week on a Thursday night for a few hours. Throughout the week they are getting coffee, eating together, going to Duck Games, watching Super Bowl games with their families, going grocery shopping together, volunteering in elementary school classrooms, lifting weights and working out, playing Basketball, working fundraisers together to earn money to go to YoungLife camp, going on 5 day camp trips, rafting and camping trips, going to dentist and doctor’s appointments, enrolling in school and job hunting. The list goes on and on.
These incredible mentors are relentless in their pursuit of these young people. Their continued courage, initiative, love and resiliency to stand in the gap- becoming a bridge for these young people to a world and lives they thought may never be for them, is inspiring, admirable and a significant example of the way Jesus loves us. It is an honor and a joy to call them friends and to serve along side them!
~ Tauna Nelson, Drop-In Center Director