New Beginnings

by Tyler Lemmons

I recently  had the privilege of being one of the mentors in our New Beginnings class, which is designed to be a jumping-off point for those that have recently been baptized.  The class briefly goes through the Bible in a 12-week study and also pairs up each new believer with a mentor.

I was paired with two teenage girls whom I have known for several years.  One of the girls started attending Impact about five years ago. She was on my summer route for our middle school program. She stood out to me because she was so reserved and quiet, I could never tell if she enjoyed coming, but each day she would be waiting for the van to pick her up. We have so many kids who come to our summer program, and less that come year-round. Teresa came all through the summer and continued regularly from then on. She is now in our high school program and is involved in basically everything she can be, including interning for our Impact VBS in the summer. Shortly after she started coming that first summer, she invited one of her school friends to come with her. Her friend Monica was a couple years older than her, but fit right in and quickly became part of Impact. Monica is now attending Harding University and is thriving. Monica’s mom has since connected at Impact and has also invited a few of her friends, one of whom was just baptized! What an amazing story! Teresa has been allowing God to work through her for many years now, and we are so excited to see what else is in store for her.

The other girl I was able to mentor was another high school girl named Estrella. Her family has been at Impact for about four years, but I hadn’t really connected with them personally until Hurricane Harvey.  During Impact’s relief work I was able to work alongside her whole family. Her two younger brothers (who are also in our mentoring program) would help gather and organize supplies, her mom worked in my room making toiletry bags, and Estrella walked around with those affected by the storm and helped them get the supplies they needed. Estrella and I connected over those few weeks and I was excited by the chance to sit with her in the class and be able to reconnect.

Since having my own children, I have had less opportunities to maintain and grow relationships with the older girls at church and have mainly focused on the kids we have in our mentoring program. I have missed my regular interactions with these high school students, and when I was asked to mentor by my husband Patrick, who is in charge of finding the mentors for the class, I saw it as an answered prayer—a way to reconnect. I have thoroughly enjoyed being able to walk with these girls as they navigate their new commitment. So as I look back on my experience, I mostly feel thankful. Even though I work at Impact, this class provided an opportunity for me that I wasn’t receiving elsewhere, and I believe it has done that for other mentors as well. And for the new believers involved, it is a great gift to be introduced to the Bible and make a new friend is this important time.

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