Mentoring Across the Lines: Embracing Racial & Ethnic Diversity

I remember the first time I stepped onto her porch. It was a hot summer day in Maryland, and I was highly encouraged to go because this woman was offering a Bible study for young women, which was exactly what I needed. Although I was raised in the church, I was a young Christian at the time—only a year into my personal relationship with the Lord. I was unsure about a lot of things, so I waited pensively on this porch for a stranger to answer the door and welcome me in.

The door opened, I entered, and then Mary entered my life with her smile, warm hugs, and homemade bread and snicker cookies. It was Mary who cracked open the Word of God and taught me his truth. It was Mary who prayed me through some of the most difficult times. It was Mary who became one of my closest confidants and advisors. It was Mary who corrected me during the many times I was wrong.

Tom, me, and Mary
Tom, me, and Mary

Mary was an older white woman, a devoted wife, and stay-at-home mom who homeschooled her children. I was a young African American girl from South Carolina and a full-time student aspiring to become a naval officer. On the surface, it seemed like our worlds couldn’t have been further apart. We embraced each other, listened well, shared our stories, and my taking the risk to enter the home of a stranger, and her opening her heart and home, birthed what turned into a beautiful relationship.

Continue reading at Today’s Christian Woman.

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