Shelterwood Mentors dedicate a year of their life to serving our teens as they journey towards restoration. These young adult men and women disciple our students — but it’s a journey for the Mentors as well. While Mentors help develop teens, they are growing in their own spiritual walk. Mentor and Assistant House Director Stephen Green shares his reflection on how God changed his heart during the Shelterwood mission trip to an orphanage in Haiti.
“As I got on the plane and began the final flight to Haiti, I felt my emotions begin to rise up into my nasal cavity and over take my face like a fever. I played music to distract myself but it only aided in turning the knobs that unlocked the waterworks. I felt the Spirit move in with His scalpel and all I could do was sit and let Him cut me open as I began my ascent to 30,000 ft. Despite my resistance, God had called me to go to Haiti and in my reluctant obedience He was able to put me right where He wanted me. Haiti was His seven-day project on my heart and He wasn’t going to waste a minute of it.
That night, I chatted with various members of my team, including the students that we brought along with us. I still felt the heaviness of the Spirit doing his work on me, and it was anything but pleasant. I was approached by a beloved friend, Kyle, who expressed the desire to speak later concerning what was going on with me. Little did I know that he would be the instrument by which God would begin to really remove the junk out of my heart and then also be the stitches that closed my open wound.
Looking back, I can only say that the moment was one of providence. I had been set up through circumstances and various different elements of my life leading up to that conversation. My journey to that moment could not be limited to the afternoon flight and orphan visit. No, it had been in progress over the course of many months. Everything was somehow connected. The healing I sought was not what I thought I wanted, but was more than I could have asked for. It was irony. It was inconvenient. It was Haiti. It was friendship. Lastly, it was unbridled and courageous confession.
With each orphanage we visited, I found the Spirit drawing me out and doing something in me. On the second day we went to a town called Hinch where I met this beautiful little boy named Miguel. He stayed with me the entire time and, unlike several others, didn’t care that I had nothing to offer. He wanted to be loved and he wanted to show love. We met each other exactly where we needed. We gave each other time and we spent our time being grateful that we had someone else that existed to spend time together.
In Les Miserables there is a line stated multiple times that “to love another person is see the face of God.” The next day I met Brianna. That precious girl that I had the privilege of pushing on the swing went out of her way to find me and be with me. In a time when I felt unloved and unlovable, God sent me two beautiful, innocent little kids for me to love and love me in return. In the midst of my darkness, God brought me a little light.
I want to love well. That is my heart’s desire! I am, however, tainted by sin and by suffering and lack what is needed to truly love well. Haiti broke into a part of me that had been walled up. Even though I still suffer and I still struggle with all of my insecurity, I long to love others and to bring them to a place of healing and show them there is more to life than sitting in their pain and suffering. There is life that lies beyond their circumstances. There is healing.”