A Mentor Matters

“I met a little ten year old girl 7 months ago when I volunteered to mentor a child from a local children’s home. It did not take long for her to capture my heart. She is the oldest of six children and has had a lot of responsibility in her first decade of life. Her house mama told me to let her have some fun! Alright I can “do” fun!!

We went swimming at my neighbor’s pool with a little friend. My neighbor served hot tea and cookies which Alicia loved! I took her to the bookstore and let her pick out some books and we read together. She came to my house and met my family and dogs. My family eats food that was very different than what she was used to eating. Many things she had never had before like corned beef and cabbage or eggplant! She even liked most of it.

Alicia called me the “Craft Lady” because I love to make things. We made a quilt for her bed together, Thanksgiving turkeys, homemade Christmas cookies, and clay necklaces. When we made the necklaces she made one for everyone in the home. She thoughtfully went about deciding on the color and design for each one.

Once, she and I went to a Thai restaurant that used cloth napkins. She was fascinated by the folding technique of the napkins not to mention why they even used cloth instead of paper! Before we left she asked the waitress for a lesson on napkin folding. The waitress was amused by her curiosity and child-like wonder … so was I.

Alicia is very smart too. She asked me so many questions about life. Once she asked why she was called an African American when she wasn’t from Africa.”Well… a long time ago someone in your family was from Africa. Just like my great grandparents came from Italy”…. She still was not satisfied…” why aren’t we just called Americans because this is where I was born?”

I was also her Sunday School teacher so we could connect on Sundays as well. She soaked up the Bible like a sponge and was answering questions like she had years of Bible training. What a blessing for her to be at the Children’s Home where she was loved and nurtured in the Lord.

Alicia renewed in me an appreciation of life. The simple things I take for granted were seen through her awestruck eyes. Things like going to the mall, baking cookies from scratch or having tea were all adventures and full of love and laughter.

I wonder why . . .

A few weeks ago she and her siblings were sent back by the court to the home they have been removed from several times. I don’t understand why. I watched her blossom in the past seven months. I did not get to say good-bye because I was sick. I hope she understood. I hope she and her siblings will be ok. So many thoughts are zooming through my head and heart. I need to trust in the sovereignty of God that He will take care of them and work out His plans in her life and those of her siblings. I know that Tuesdays will never be quite the same for me.”