By Stephanie Ziebarth, Barnabas Coordinator
I still remember when Melinda Gahan attended a Barnabas mentor training at Joy El’s Christian camp four years ago. She was a little nervous, and she was very excited. She knew the significance of mentoring Rylee Knepper, and she wanted to do it well.
Melinda and Rylee already had great history together. Their families are so close that Melinda had known Rylee since Rylee was six weeks old. When it came time for Rylee to choose a mentor to help her make the most of the 4.12 Leadership Training Program, Rylee says there was no question in her mind, “It was just natural for me to ask Melinda.”
“You made me cry,” Melinda reminisces. “Not only because I was so honored, but because I was wondering, ‘Can I do this?’”
Rylee and Megan walked the tough road of serious medical issues for Rylee right away, involving lots of prayers, care, hospital visits and watching God respond. Four and a half years later, Rylee’s health is much improved, and their mentoring relationship is still going strong.
Rewinding three and a half years, Melinda’s daughter Jessie also joined the 4.12 program. “It was almost a rite of passage,” Jessie explains. “And I knew there was one logical choice for a mentor: Megan. So it kind of turned out to be a swap.” After all, Megan is Rylee’s mother, and Rylee and Jessie both consider each other’s parents “extra” sets for them. They are thankful for their ever-strengthening support system.
Megan and Jessie have also had a wonderful mentoring relationship. One exciting thing God has done involves a Bible study that Megan coached Jessie in leading.
“It was an opportunity for me to take what I’m learning at camp and put it in action outside of my comfort zone,” Jessie shares. “Starting a Bible study with friends developed me even more into a leader. And the content was really good for me, along with everyone else in the group.”
“She did a great job leading it,” Megan affirms. “Two of the girls’ moms texted to thank me for getting it started. They shared that their daughters were really struggling and how good this was for them. Another way doing the Bible study showed that God is working is that one of the girls from Jessie’s lunch table came. We had been praying for those friends.”
All four of the women mentioned above highly recommend that everyone find a spiritual mentor:
Melinda: “I was so inspired as I mentored Rylee that I found my own mentor [who happens to be Rylee’s grandmother]! She is helping me fill in my spiritual gaps, focusing on Jesus.”
Megan: “Mentoring is very special and keeps me growing and focused on the right things.”
Jessie: “It’s been really beneficial for my spiritual life—I’ve grown so much! We help each other and care about each other very much.”
Rylee: “Do it because it’s an extra person to care for you. We all always have room to grow. A mentor can help you, call you out. It’s someone to walk alongside you and to learn from and with.”
For people interested in learning more about/joining the 4.12 program, the following meetings take place this summer at Joy El:
. 07/16, Thursday – 4.12 Informational Meeting
. 07/23, Thursday – 4.12 Informational Meeting
. 07/28, Tuesday – 4.12 Informational Meeting
To learn more about Joy El Generation’s 4.12 Leadership Training Program, visit here: https://joyelgeneration.org/4-12-leadership-training/start-here/
To learn more about the Barnabas program, visit here: https://joyelgeneration.org/4-12-leadership-training/barnabas-program/
To learn more about mentoring, visit the following links:
Upcoming Joy El Events Bible Adventure Weekend Mother-Son Retreat Father-Daughter Retreat