At Grace Church about five years ago, Kathy King heard her pastor share some words about volunteering that impacted her. He said ‘you need to think about what keeps you up at night, to narrow where you found your passion to serve.’ Kathy had read an article about human trafficking and realized that the anti-trafficking cause was weighing on her heart, partly because she had daughters. In the middle of the night a few days later, Kathy woke up and was hit by the realization that God was calling her to anti-trafficking efforts. She connected with a church partner called Center for Global Impact (CGI) that was focusing on ending trafficking in Cambodia. She worked with them for over a year, but she found that she wasn’t experiencing the direct connection she wanted. Without the chance to visit Cambodia, Kathy didn’t get to have hands on experience she desired, helping survivors. So she was searching for a way to make a bigger impact when a friend connected her with Jessica Evans, the founder of Purchased.
After a brief introduction and some time spent in prayer, Kathy knew she was called to be a mentor. She signed up for the training and quickly went through the program. The training was over two Saturdays, where speakers from the FBI, DCS, and other organizations came to speak and inform the participants. The most significant thing Kathy learned during training was that to be a good mentor, you should first think of your mentee as just a regular teenager. Treating them like they were your daughter or niece helps them feel loved and accepted, paving a path for a fruitful relationship. Kathy found this to be true in the beginning of her relationship with her mentee, who we will call “M”. M grew up on the East side of Indianapolis in a large family. At this point, M has very little relationship with any of her family members, partially because she was originally trafficked at age nine. Kathy describes M as smart, talkative, friendly, and a natural born leader. Early on in their relationship, Kathy had to show M what a healthy relationship is truly like. M learned that listening can be more important than talking, but it is hard to do, and the best part of a new friendship is learning about the other person.
Most mentors find that one of the harder parts of beginning their relationship is helping their mentee re-learn what a relationship should actually be. Survivors of trafficking have warped views of love, and their history of being manipulated and exploited can leave them lost and confused. Helping another person regain their sense of healthy love is both rewarding and difficult, and Kathy could attest to that. The most difficult part of mentorship for Kathy has been working with a person who doesn’t have the same organizational levels as a typical friend might have. Kathy would make plans to meet with M once a week, understanding that consistency in M’s life was important. However, when the time came for them to meet, M might be late. They would struggle to reconcile this difference because to M, whose life had little organization, time was not very important. However, the challenges were far outweighed by the rewards. Kathy was most grateful that she got to watch M learn to trust her as not wanting anything other than friendship. Kathy watched M grow in understanding that she was truly cared for as a person, loved for who she was.
Through all of their time spent together, Kathy knew that they had truly connected when M chose to become baptized. M shared an incredibly impactful thought with Kathy before her baptism. She said that in the world of trafficking, you never feel clean or whole. M said that when she was baptized, she felt clean for the first time in years. Kathy paved the path for M to regain her personhood: that’s the kind of impact mentorship can have. Both Kathy and M have grown through their mentor relationship. M has gained a supporter, someone to trust, a person in her corner. Kathy has expanded her perspective, she knows more intimately that every person you meet is experiencing their own hardship. The impact mentorship has on both the mentor and the mentee can’t be overstated. Kathy’s story speaks directly to this truth: mentorship can change a life.
Interested in mentorship? Email firstname.lastname@example.org