By Stephanie Ziebarth, Barnabas Program Coordinator
Every day at 10 AM, Lonnie Gulledge calls his Barnabas mentee, Devin O’Hara. Devin is ready on the other end, and the two spend about 15-20 minutes checking in for the day. The Barnabas Program is the mentoring aspect of Joy El’s 4.12 Leadership Training Program.
They read the assigned Scripture for a third-year 4.12 program student, and then they talk about anything they don’t understand and how they can apply the Scripture to their lives. They pray. They catch up on life. They share wisdom and answer each other’s questions.
By the time the call is over, they are more encouraged than they were before.
“I look forward to him calling every day,” Devin says. “I really like spending time with Mr. Lonnie because he’s pretty cool, and even today he helped me with something I didn’t understand from my devotions.”
Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Lonnie and Devin connected one to three times per month at a favorite cafe or each other’s homes. Phone calls were not a regular part of their routine. When people were ordered to stay at home except for “life-sustaining” outings, they moved their mentoring routine to the phone.
“I told Devin, ‘We can’t just stop meeting,’” Lonnie explains. “We came up with a way to connect on the phone for him to discuss with his parents, which he thought was a good idea, and it developed from there.”
As much as they are enjoying and benefiting from their phone connections each day, they do plan to go back to their old routine, once they have the freedom to do so. “We miss the socialization of those times,” Lonnie says, and Devin agrees.
Despite missing their times together in person, Devin is really grateful for this season of daily phone connection. “I’ve gained a lot of knowledge from our phone calls,” Devin says. “Talking about the passages every day keeps us from being rushed. We can really dive deeper.”
Lonnie and Devin are among the almost 115 Barnabas mentoring pairs who have been forced by the global pandemic to be creative in their connections. The pairs have continued to meet however they can, and God continues to work in and through them. Lonnie and Devin are a great example of persevering so discipleship can continue.
Even more exciting is that all of the spiritual growth Lonnie is investing into Devin will be reinvested by Devin into campers this summer at Joy El. Devin will be part of the junior staff that serves at Joy El’s Christian camp in PA, sharing what he has learned with younger students. It’s spiritual multiplication at its best!
*Lonnie and Devin are pictured above at the October 2019 Barnabas Fusion event.
Learn more about spiritual mentoring: