Age is just a number...until you go to Kenya and realize you're officially in the "older group" on your team.
Mentorship is such a crucial step in the development of relationships at Neema, and I have seen that more and more on this trip (my third). From all of the teachers and leaders to the girls, older girls to younger girls, and girls to their kids, God has used Neema to create a safe environment of learning and growing in knowledge and wisdom. Not only does this happen consistently day to day, but team visits give a unique opportunity for cultural and age differences to unite in learning.
I had the wonderful opportunity to sit and chat with Diana (a team member) on our way to Neema one morning, and we discussed the fact that so few people listen to each other anymore (it truly is a gift) and this seems to be especially true of the younger generation. It's rare that younger generations even view mentors as a good thing in their lives, but what a critical portion of growth that is being withheld when we do not take opportunities to learn from those who have come before us and simply experienced life before we have. I have had the privilege of witnessing such amazing wisdom on this trip in particular.
- Wisdom in culture where I felt completely inadequate in my ability to cut cabbage
- Wisdom in knowledge of the Bible and leadership from the pastors
- Wisdom in love from the teachers and girls at Neema
- Wisdom in God's divine work through purposeful orchestration
I remember my first trip to Neema, looking over to see Melinda off to the side with a Neema girl's arm wrapped around her, intentionally listening and feeding words of life into that heart. And then somehow it happened to me this year; I was standing with a girl's arms wrapped around me, intentionally listening and praying that God would speak words of life into that beautiful heart.
My role has begun to shift in life, and even though running around and playing games means more breaks and possible leg cramps in the middle of the night (that may or may not have happened), it also comes with a beauty of life experience and hopefully wisdom.
My challenge is the continued use of this new role in my life through my profession as a teacher as well as other opportunities to positively influence the next generation in church and community. My challenge to you is the same. Who is your mentor? Where do you see chances to mentor those younger than you? We never stop learning and growing, so when you take in knowledge and wise council, turn that around to someone else whom God wants you to lift up.
Stop. Savor. Listen.
2017 Neema Trip Team Member