Don’t feel equipped to mentor teens? Be encouraged, mentor Jon Beerman tells others. “If you feel you can’t relate to the kids … you’re right. But do it anyway.”
Jon has seen first-hand how years of investing in young people through various programs and ministries matters, even if there are challenges or it takes a while for the impact to become apparent. He also knows that the eternal significance of sacrifices like time spent or financial giving may not be fully appreciated or understood this side of heaven.
Jon says he has never regretted his decision to get involved with COYFC, from conducting tours at the City Life Center, to following God’s prompting to personally help out with the Equip Skills Center (formerly the Wheels program) in teaching teens about automotive repair. A self-professed “gearhead” and “kid at heart” who loves cars, the Equip Skills Center seemed a good fit for the salesman and professional driver.
In time, Jon met a young man “J” and was invited to mentor him while the teen’s single mom worked hard to provide for their family; the Equip Skills Center program was a vehicle by which their friendship grew. They also spent time getting to know one another and talking about life, school, friends, family and faith over many games of basketball, ping pong and ice cream at the park. “We had some good times, but it was also tough,” explains Jon. When “J” ran into some trouble, Jon was by his side in the courtroom.
“Mentoring can be stressful in an awesome way,” Jon reflects. “I think I helped.” He doesn’t say that as a pat on his own back. He shares how humbling his youth outreach experiences have been over the years and what he’s learned from them. “It’s so rewarding, and it’s shown me that it’s not about being able … it’s about being available.”
“J” is grown up now. He got his GED and holds down two good jobs. He exhibits personal responsibility, cares for his mother and seeks to grow with God. About a year ago, “J” reached out to Jon and asked to go to church again with him.
“He came to Christ this past year, and we started getting together on Saturday mornings to study,” Jon beams. “I just got him his first Bible.” Jon prays for the other teens he has taught over time, that they might remember their many lessons on God’s grace and grow up like “J” to seek out Christian fellowship and pursue spiritual growth.
Please join us in praying for them, for Jon and for our other current mentors. We also invite you to prayerfully consider becoming one of the new mentors we believe will answer the call to get involved with Youth for Christ in 2024. Jon says he also hopes he can “be ready” and be obedient if another opportunity to serve a kid like “J” becomes available. “And if someone suggests that to you, too, that’s probably God speaking through that person like He did to me.”
Even now, Jon is doing what he does best — moving others to step up and sign up. Why not reach out to us today to learn more about becoming a mentor this month? Together, we can be the change and build the future.