I am going to share just two of the miracles I witnessed this summer because they have shaped my idea of what mentorship means. Our true mentor is the Holy Spirit. But the amazing beauty of his mentorship is that he doesn’t like to divide us up and commune with us one-on-one, he loves to link us together and channel his wisdom and love to flow from one of us to another.
Miracle 1: an email
I was just leaving Shenzhen at the end of July when I received an email from a woman whose love and encouragement got me through the tough years of my childhood and whose continued prayers and encouragement have been getting me through my tough times in China. She shared an amazing story. During a time of deep confusion for me around a relationship with a man, the Holy Spirit alerted her to my need for prayer. As she prayed for me daily, she became more and more deeply acquainted with the specifics of the situation. One day, my mom visited her, and she mentioned something of what the Holy Spirit had asked her to pray about regarding me. My mom, who was one of the few people who I had talked to about the situation, was amazed. I had told this dear mentor nothing, and yet her prayers corresponded exactly in time and situation to my struggles.
The email in July shared all the details she had known without me telling her, and how she had been praying daily about them.
I cried for about an hour, crossing the city of Shenzhen in a bus. Throughout all my confusion in that relationship, I had been struggling with guilt that this was a struggle at all. There are Christians being tortured all over the world, and here I am bringing boy troubles before the Throne? But our mentor had something to show both of us. He wanted to show me his care is infinite, he is with me, and my boy troubles matter to him. He wanted to show her that his care is nearer than ever, her prayers matter, and he is lovingly at work in all situations.
Miracle 2: a chance encounter
I hope you recognize the tongue-in-cheek when you hear me use the word "chance". I ran into a student in Shenzhen whose contact information I had lost in a phone crash. Over a year ago, I ignored the advice of my colleagues and became friends with her. She shared so much pain with me. I did my best to offer the only comfort I have: the gospel. She didn’t want anything to do with it.
Fast forward a year. I run into her. She shares that she lived for some months in the city center with a Christian family. She finally realized her true problem is her enslavement to sin. She wants to be free. She wants to worship.
Because she lives too far from the Christians I worship with, I took her to a church near her home. After the service, they plugged both of us into a small group. I had to leave Shenzhen a few days later, but she is constantly in my prayers. Let her be in yours too!
Two-minute Check-in on my life
Some of you reading this know me, and are curious how I am doing. Well, I am back at school, teaching my students things like how to (fake) beat each other to death and understand Shakespearean wordplay. I’m still reeling from my first break-up/heartbreak/whatever you want to call it and learning that it is good to ask God audacious questions like:
"Why didn’t you give me clearer guidance?" (to which he replied Psalm 32:9)
and "I thought you were supposed to be sanctifying me! I was trying to so hard to follow you, and look what a mess I made!" (to which he gave me the story of Abram and Sarai and their misadventures with a Pharoah and slave girl from Egypt)
and "What did David mean when he said, ‘Against you, and you only, have I sinned’? It still feels like the one I’ve sinned against most is Steven." (still wrestling with that one)