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New Year, New You: Mentoring And Support

Author: Araba Adjaye

Picture: www.catholic-ew.org.uk

New Year, New You: Mentoring And Support

In Channel 5's "Bad Habits, Holy Orders",  five party girls were transformed by spending quality time with nuns. Good mentoring is so important, says Araba Adjaye.

We often focus on the importance of having positive role models in our life, someone we can look to as an example, who we can learn from and whose good attributes we can model.

Whether a family member, a teacher or a public figure, role models can be found in many places.

I have found my development has come strongest through personal relationships in my life. I believe just one relationship can be life changing.

Having a positive mentor can be that relationship which develops and enhances someone’s life for the better.I have had the privilege of being on both sides of this relationship, as a mentee and a mentor.

As a mentee, I was given the space to discuss my experiences without judgement and be curious about decisions I needed to make. In a world which, unfortunately, is full of judgement, it is important to feel accepted and not be judged.

It allowed me to be honest, to really reflect on the impact of my choices and lead me towards choices grounded in truth.

Firm Foundations

Following my A Levels, I joined the formation programme at Sion Catholic Community for Evangelism. This year served to root me in my faith and firmly laid foundations for the years that have followed.

The year was truly blessed, though any year that includes a complete lifestyle change will be testing. Digesting these experiences within a mentoring relationship was necessary for me to absorb and understand what God was teaching me, especially in difficult periods.

As a mentor, I have used my experiences and learning for others. My passion for mentoring led me to coordinating and overseeing mentoring for theASCENT. 

TheASCENT is a three-year discipleship process for young people in years 10 to 13 that seeks to raise up a generation which is passionate about prayer and influencing their localities with the gospel.

Participants’ feedback I received indicated that they benefitted from getting to know a team member closely. It allowed them to see their mentors were people, just like them, who are on a journey towards God.

Here is a clip from Bad Habits, Holy Orders:

A Mentoring Relationship

After much prayer and discernment, we moved the focus of mentoring at theASCENT towards prayer as a foundation.

Inspired by Ignatian prayer, which uses an imaginative, reflective and personal style, it gave space for the mentor and mentee to pray together. By developing a mentoring relationship in prayer, it leads the mentee towards God as the ultimate mentor.

Prayer is a two-way conversation, involving talking, listening and responding: “Prayer is a surge of the heart.. a simple look turned toward heaven.” (St. Thérèse of Lisieux)

A mentor can help the mentee talk with God by asking such prompt questions as, ‘Where have you seen God today?’, ‘What was He saying to you?’ and ‘How did you respond?’

Being guided through prayer by a mentor in my parish in this manner, I found God’s personal way of communicating with me, which I continue to see in my life.

I realised that God speaks to me in a very physical manner. With this knowledge, I am able to discern better.

Tuning Into God

I was considering either a career change or returning to education, which, of course, can be a risky decision.

Through learning from my mentor, I was able to talk with God and feel His presence, which physically guided me towards the choice He desired for me.

In a busy, noisy world, I can still tune into God. I then, very confidently, went forward towards a new career.

If you are looking for a mentor or to be a mentor, your local church, Christian organisation or conference could be the place to begin.

  • Araba Adjaye, 28, is a social worker in a community mental health team in London.
  • To find out more about theAscent discipleship process, please visit: www.theascentuk.co.uk

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