I knew very little about Love INC prior to my introduction to Relational Ministry about two years ago. Perhaps you are like me—I noticed the Love INC advertisement in Your NFC seeking mentors. Each time I read the announcement, I caught myself thinking, that’s something I can do. For me, mentoring has been a thread woven throughout my adulthood in both personal and professional capacities, but the timing of this particular opportunity never seemed right and I always had a quick reason why now wasn’t the time to dive in: Thursday night is date night; I just had a baby; this is what I do all day for work; I have too much going on—and so on. All valid reasons that took time to process, but eventually I e-mailed Love INC, asking if they needed more mentors. As it turned out, they had a new group beginning in two days and did need additional mentors. I showed up, went through training, and the following week was meeting my mentee for the first time. Boy, was I nervous!
Two years and five mentees later I wish I had gotten involved sooner! Mentoring has been a valuable way to connect with someone whose reality is different from my own—whether they live in the Love INC shelter, are a 21-year-old mom attending PCC, have experienced home foreclosure, have extremely challenging family situations, survive on government-issued disability or social security checks, or aren’t quite sure if they are going to have enough money to pay their bills or buy food. These relationships keep me grounded in reality—not necessarily my own day-to-day reality, but one that, perhaps, is relatable for a great many in our community.
In addition to giving me a better pulse on my Newberg neighbors, Love INC has made me proud to be part of the church. The organization provides a beautiful model of how we can productively work together across denominations. According to their website, 43 churches in our area partner with them, agreeing that through “serving others and demonstrating the unconditional love that Christ has for us, God will work through us to transform lives in our community.” Isn’t that what it’s all about? Oh! That certainly makes my heart hopeful.
If you have ever read the Love INC advertisement and had your interest piqued, I encourage you to take another look. If you can be a friend to someone, you can be a mentor. If you tend to be more introverted, there are many other ways to support this remarkable community-focused organization, from other outreach ministries (you know, where you have to talk to people) to putting together some breakfast bags or just dropping off some extra toilet paper at a local church (no talking required). At the very least, I encourage you to check out their website, be encouraged by some of the stories there, and take hope that really good, Christ-honoring things are going on through the opportunities provided by Love INC.