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A Week in the Life of Next Step

Posted on April 9, 2012 at 1:50 AM

This week at Next Step: If you don't have time to read it all, just read the highlights marked with an *.

 

*Took my son and a new NS boy to the riverfront, Bass Pro, and lunch. He's an intelligent, helpful 5th grader and God has a great future planned for him. His biological dad lives out of state and he has no father figure living with him. Glad his mom found us on facebook. Going to have to start recruiting and training men to be mentors - my personal group is almost too big to keep up with.

 

*Spoke with a divorced mom at a church we attended who says she's been dropping hints for men to spend time with her son, but no one has really picked up on it yet. She was a little discouraged by this but was very happy (began smiling!) when I asked to include her son on our NS prayer list and begin working to find him a mentor. And, I hung out with him this week, too. He's a good guy in a new high school. I've got hope for his future!

 

One evening this week I took 3 NS guys to a revival meeting in Danvers, IL. I was afraid they wouldn't really want to go to church, but hanging out with each other and hanging out with me and stopping for ice cream on the way home may have helped. I wonder if any of their fathers ever took them to an "extra church service?" They paid attention and we talked about the message on the way home...a little. Mostly we joked and stuff ourselves with the free junk food the church sent us home with. I picked up and dropped off the boys strategically so I could spend some time talking one on one with 2 of them.

 

One of my NS guys called me this week. He had punched a whole in the door because he was angry about spilling bleach on his shoes. He asked if I could buy him a new pair (I bought him the ones he spilled on). I've got to be honest - I'm no expert on how to be an excellent mentor who stands in the gap for an absentee father. So, I told him what I think my dad would have said. I'm paying you to read a book - finish reading it and you can use the money to buy a new pair. Still trying to figure out how to help him get over his anger issues. For now, I'm just committed to caring about him whether he is angry or self-controlled. Pray for him...and the people around him!

 

*I was thrilled when a student for whom I have been praying gave me a call this week. I had known him as a grade school student and recently ran into him while volunteering at Manual. He has grown up without a father in his home, attended some of the churches I am friends with, and he knows the Lord (but sometimes struggles with how God fits into his life). He also has serious, yet understandable anger issues. I had been praying for him even though he missed a couple of my attempts to take him to lunch. But this week he called me! We went to lunch, I helped him get his driver's license replaced, and we had prayer together. He hopes to be a state trooper after going to college. Please pray for "Samson." He is strong and intelligent and "likeable." I get the impression he is a leader. Think of how God could bless and use this young man, and pray for him, please. If he lives for the Lord, he'll make an AWESOME NS mentor one day.

 

I also spent a great deal of time reading, studying, and praying.

 

*I am very concerned about choosing the right board...I guess I'm a perfectionist. I keep thinking I don't want to make a mistake. Maybe I should just start asking people who I think would make a good team and let God work out the details. Aside from my personal ministry, NS as an organization is at a stand still until this matter is cared for.

 

I joined Big Brother Big Sisters as a volunteer this week. 2 reasons: 1- There is a young man on their waiting list who I met at Manual. I hope to become his Big Brother since his mom has already agreed to him having one. 2 - I wanted to learn from the "professional mentors." Just reading their list of potential problems in mentoring (in the volunteer manual) has already been a real help to me. Makes me realize that some of the experiences I've had are normal.

 

I took Thursday off to celebrate my sweet Luke's 4th birthday. My wife does a great job making birthdays special at our house.

 

*I know that my work is different than most people's work, but I am confident it is what God has given me to do. Each week I act as though I have an employer and will be receiving a paycheck. I document my activity every day in a log book and average 40+ hours each week. And, I love my job!

 

*My family and I have been trusting God to meet our needs, and He has consistently done so. It has been humbling to literally get on my knees and ask Him to take care of us. I didn't do that too much when I had a regular paycheck coming.

 

This experience has also increased my faith and given me numerous opportunities to see God's grace through the generosity of people who love Him. A couple of weeks ago I was handed an envelope with my name on it and $1,000 cash inside. The gift was anonymous, but I'm confident it came from someone who loves the Lord. At a Rivermen game I attended with a NS guy, someone asked how my ministry was going and how I was personally supported. I said, we're like missionaries - we're going to have to raise support. The person handed me $50. Of course, we tithed on God's provision, but we were also able to pass on a portion of God's provision to some friends who needed it. I love God's economy! (Also, I'm glad I'm married to a beautiful woman who is not stingy! She insists that we tithe and gladly agrees to share even more of our income.)

 

God has not only provided through gifts, but also through opportunities to earn money at just the right times. I was asked to substitute teach for 6 weeks at one point when we needed funds. This kept me from being able to work on NS like I wanted to, but it became obvious that God wanted me teaching at that time.

 

*Without a regular income, it is difficult to create a budget, but even this forces us to pray about every expense. So far, as we have sought God's wisdom and tried not to be frivolous in our spending, we have continued to live as well as we ever did with a paycheck, and God has enabled us to remain debt-free except the mortgage!

 

*Wow! I sure didn't mean to turn this post into all that! If you've read this much, God bless you! And thanks!

 

*Since I did end up talking about finances, let me mention an awesome opportunity to become 1 of 100 Personal Investors. You would DIRECTLY impact the lives of countless fatherless young men if God led you to participate in this unique opportunity.  Click 100 Investors in the menu for more info.

 

 

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2 Comments

Reply justonewatt
11:35 PM on June 27, 2012 
Thank you for your interest and the compliment!
Reply Gabe Salazar
11:41 AM on June 27, 2012 
Good Job Ben!