Thursday, April 6, 2017

On Mentors and Mentoring

In the last two days I have been impacted by both my writing mentor and a young writer I have mentored.

The one writer whom I credit with launching my writing career, Lettie Kirkpatrick Burress, has seen many sorrows in her life. Her first husband died many years ago from cancer, her only daughter (she has four sons) lived life handicapped and passed away quite young, and her second husband suffered a severe major stroke five years ago. Yesterday, he passed away. My heart has been heavy for Lettie and her family.

In 2009, when I was still unpublished, I attended a writer's conference where Lettie taught a workshop on freelancing small pieces like articles and devotions. I went home and successfully applied the information she taught in her very informative workshop. Without her willingness to share what she knew, I would have never known the basic how to's of freelancing. She opened up the world of writing to me.

Though my heart is heavy for my mentor, today it filled with joy over a young Nigerian writer I have mentored. Some years ago, a Nigerian man sent me a FB friend request. I am very selective in accepting friend request from people I do not know, especially men. I checked out his profile & saw that a) he was young enough to be my son, and b) his statuses we're very Christ honoring so I accepted his friend request.

His statuses kept grabbing my heart. At Christmas he wrote that he walked into work & all his coworkers were downcast & dejected because they had not been paid in two months, he told them, "This is the season that we celebrate the birth of our Savior! Be of good cheer!" 

That along with some other similar statuses prompted me to send him a private message telling him he would make a good devotional writer. Via email & FB, I mentored him in devotional writing. And I also sent email inquiries to the various devo magazine I write for. Sadly, the only one that could get a payment to Nigeria was The Upper Room. 

Today I received my complimentary copy of The Upper Room (because I am a contributor.) To my joy, not only was a devo in there by him but also by a young woman in his church whom he has mentored. 

On the heels of these two very different events, I am left pondering the joys and sorrows of connecting with others, of mentoring and being mentored.

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