Just three out of many words describing how our mentors feel while serving in Prinsep Lighthouse (PLH). I myself was apprehensive if I could be an effective mentor. Most daunting was the need to teach God’s Word to a classroom full of young, rowdy, and impressionable youth! What if I don’t know the answers to their questions? Or if I had taught the wrong thing? The weight of responsibility that a mentor has to assume made me feel so inadequate. Nonetheless, the need for new mentors and confirmation by several members convinced me to answer the call to join PLH.
It’s been 4 years since signing up and I still feel inadequate, very tired, and definitely older. The ministry scope of a mentor varies from teaching in discipleship groups, planning camps & games, and running around Botanic Gardens (after planning the games). There are also ministries within PLH which are led by mentors and youth. These include the befrienders, audio & visual, media, and worship. In the background, mentors meet monthly to plan activities and discuss topics relevant to our youth. It’s not all work only though! There are also quarterly class times where we just bring the youth out to eat and chill. As you can see, the ministry of a PLH mentor varies widely and requires much time and energy!
The greatest struggle I face in serving in PLH is the feeling of inadequacy –
inadequacy to teach God’s Word as well as knowing how to nurture our youth. In Exodus 4:1, when Moses was called by God to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, he answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?” Like Moses, I was feeling inadequate for the ministry that God was calling me to do. Feeling inadequate in ministry is inevitable and is a result of our fallen nature. I am a work-in-progress and there is still much for me to learn of God’s Word and to mature in Christ. In the subsequent verses of Exodus 4, God repeatedly assured Moses that He would be with him. Knowing that God is with us and that our ministries ultimately belong to Him provides us with confidence and adequacy in Him. Instead, the need to grow in knowledge of the Word and maturity in Christ so as to be a better mentor serves as an additional motivation to be disciplined in my spiritual life.
Being a PLH mentor is a weekly commitment that requires much perseverance, patience and energy. However, I’ve also found joy in serving when I see the wide-eyed, squeaky secondary one youth that Lydia (my wife) and I took 4 years ago blossoming into youth who are walking with God, serving Him, and enjoying Christ-like friendships with each other. This is by no means our doing alone, but it is heartening to know that we have had a part to play in their maturing in Christ.
While I was a youth in PLH from 2002 till 2007, Uncle Shih Kiat was one of my mentors and today he is still serving faithfully as one of our longest serving mentors in PLH. For many of us “younger” mentors, Uncle Shih Kiat, Uncle Jack and Aunty Choy See used to mentor us and it is a joy that we now mentor alongside them. The teamwork, fellowship and love amongst the mentors make serving in ministry a joy.
Today, we have 16 mentors caring for approximately 60 youth. Every now and then, the “older” mentors (jokingly) mention retirement during meetings, but before we can let them retire, we need to find new blood! On behalf of our long serving, can’t-wait-to-retire mentors, I would like make an appeal to those of you who feel the call to nurture and disciple our youth, and have the perseverance, patience, energy to faithfully teach God’s Word and disciple our youth, to join us as a mentor.