By the urging of our daughters, my family and I started attending CCV in early 2011. They had attended a few of the children’s services with some friends from school and wanted us to go “as a family”. After the first visit to CCV’s campus, my wife and I knew we had found our new church home. On October 21st, 2011 I was baptized along with our oldest daughter. What a special day. I remember coming up out of the water feeling like a huge burden had been lifted off my shoulders. I had a new perspective and a new sense of purpose. I found reassurance in the fact that God had wiped my slate clean. I had received the opportunity for a new start. An opportunity I wasn’t going to waste.
It wasn’t long after getting baptized that God was ready to use me to fulfill one of His plans. Mentoring is something that He has been planting and watering in me for many years. Even as a teen it was something that was always at the back of my mind and I never knew why. Fear kept me from acting on this thought so it was suppressed. Looking back now, I realize that God had been placing this act of service on my heart but it wasn’t time to move. While reading The Mentor Leader by Tony Dungy, I heard the small voice of God tell me it was my time to get off the bench and put this particular plan of His into action. I decided to become a mentor to a child that needed a rolemodel in their life.
Evan and I were matched on 4/25/12. At the time, Evan was 10 years old. Since our match was initiated, we’ve met almost every other week for 3-6 hours per week. We do various activities during our time together including: seeing movies, bowling, golfing and fishing. I was with him when he caught his first fish! Evan has even helped me greet at CCV.
After cleaning out my garage, and getting rid of an old sand rail, I was left with nothing but the Volkswagen motor. While trying to figure out whether to repurpose the motor or sell it, the thought came to me about building an old VW Beetle. The Beetle could be used as a good foundation to teach Evan about something all boys his age like….cars! I could teach Evan various “guy” skills that he would be able to use throughout his life. Things like restoration and customizing, wiring, metal work, welding and even body work. Building cars also involves important skillsets including planning, measuring, math skills and patience. Lots of patience!
In September 2013, I purchased a 1974 Volkswagen Super Beetle that would become our project car. I knew nothing about Volkswagens so Evan and I would be exploring uncharted territory together. The car had no wiring, no interior, it was missing body parts, the floor pan was rusted, it had no engine, and had been used as a canvas to practice the art of excessive body filler to hide all imperfections. The paint job was terrible and was oxidized in many areas. It was perfect! It would allow me the opportunity to spend quality time with Evan, while teaching him new things. We regularly discussed our vision and ideas for the car and shared pictures of other Bugs through Instagram. Since beginning this project, it has been great to see Evan’s excitement when we get together to work on the car.
In the past, I’ve mentioned to Evan about entering the Bug in the CCV Carshow; when it was ready of course. When I informed Evan that CCV brought back the car show this year, he said we should enter the car. At this point I realized that it’s not about the car but about what the car represents. It represents the enjoyment we receive from quality time spent together, learning new things and continuing to build our match relationship. The car show was a great opportunity to share our project, and our match story with those who attended.
For anybody that has ever considered volunteering their time, wherever this may be, but are hesitant to take the next steps, my advice is to go for it. Time is often the excuse we use for many different things. When it comes to my mentoring relationship, I’ve determined that this commitment represents less than 1% of my total time each month. It’s easy to make excuses why we can’t do something but the joy you’ll receive from volunteering your time, regardless of where the volunteering occurs, is immeasurable.
Remember that God has provided us with various skills and abilities for a reason. It is our responsibility to determine how we can use these skills and abilities to fulfill His plan by serving those around us. Follow your heart and trust that God will be alongside you every step of the way. The small voice you hear, telling you to move, is most likely that of God. So I will challenge those who read my story with a simple question: “How can you use the skills and abilities that God has given you to impact the lives of others?” (Proverbs 3:5-6)