West Baptist Church

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Family Mentoring

July 8th, 2011 by Thalia Kehoe Rowden

In June 2011 we at West began a new adventure, in partnership with the West Baptist Community Trust, Spotswood Primary School, Fresh Perspective and several other churches and agencies.

After 18 months of planning and praying, the Trust has employed Deanna Weir as our new Family Mentor.

Dee’s role will be to strengthen connections between Spotswood Primary School families and West folks, and foster life-giving mentoring relationships. She’ll have responsibility for training us to be volunteer mentors with Fresh Perspective, a fantastic national family mentoring agency, and supporting us as we each step out of the boat into mentoring relationships.

  • If you would like to have a mentor, please call Fresh Perspective on 0800 555 300 (click here for more ways to contact them).
  • If you would like to train as a mentor, please call Dee on 751 2089 or 022 527 9244 (022 5 2 SAY HI).
  • To find out more about Fresh Perspective, check out their website.

And here’s Dee to introduce herself in her own words:

Hi everyone,

I’m Dee (short for Deanna), mum to 21-year-old Dillon, and aunty to five nephews and three nieces – enriching experiences. I am born and bred in Taranaki, spent 12 years in Bell Block during my latter school years, some time living and working down the coast, but predominantly in New Plymouth.

My professional background involves working with children and families across the education, health and social sectors. I have been a registered nurse for five years, working in community health, and attained a postgraduate certificate in Tamariki Ora specialty nursing in March of this year. I am passionate about children and families having opportunities to reach their full potential and challenge themselves to aim higher than their expectations.

As a single mum, who has walked a journey with the Lord that has involved Job experiences and at times discouragement, it is my hope that through those experiences I may be able to encourage someone else. Romans 8:28 was my life scripture for many years as a new Christian:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

God truly does work everything together for our good for those who love him and are called according to his purposes. He is good, always.

In a volunteer capacity I have been involved in the Marfell Community as a Marfell Combined Culture Trust Board member for the past two years, coming alongside and supporting whanau/families. I have also been involved in children’s, youth outreach and encouragement ministries which I have also immensley enjoyed. I currently assist with Lifefocus and Dynamite Bay after school programs at Marfell school. I guess if I could sum my passions up in one sentence, it would be this from 1 Corinthians 13: ‘Faith, hope and love… and the greatest of these is love.’

When I saw the Family Mentor position advertised my spirit was immediately ignited. What an opportunity to share the love of Jesus at a grass roots level, to bring hope, support and nutruring to the broken. To come alongside people in our community, encouraging potential, goals and God-given talents, celebrating small steps and challenging expectations. Bridging the gap between hurting and broken families and nurturing loving people as mentors.

In today’s world, even in our close-knit communities there are extremes of poverty, a sense of hopelessness and basic needs of love and belonging not being met. Poverty though is not often the cause or the issue, it’s the personal valuing of people that is vital, particularly for our tamariki/children who are our future. Poverty is not only material lack, it is often hard to escape for some families who may be experiencing violence or lack of access to services, lack of hope, difficulty relating to others, malnutrition, lack of knowledge and feeling powerless to make changes. Connection, love and relationship are key.

The Lord commands us as Christians to care for the poor and seek justice for the oppressed, a redemptive restorative work for his glory. We are called to be engaged, participating with God in his great work of restoration. As Paul writes in Ephesians:

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

By stepping out of the boat, we are challenged, but the Lord is with us all the way, we are his hands and feet in a hurting society, the salt and light of the earth for his glory

Gabe Lyons writes in his book Next Christians something I found very inspiring:

The Christian has a calling and a responsibility to think, work and live in terms of how the world ought to be in contrast to reacting to how it really is… They see injustice and fight it, when confronted with evil they turn it for good, they are motivated to bring the love of Christ into every broken system they encounter. Instead of being cynical and hopeless, they bring optimism and expectation.

I’m certainly challenged and really looking ahead with excitement, to what our amazing God is doing and going to do in the midst of our communities and nation. All things are possible to those who believe; we serve a supernatural amazing Lord.

If you are interested in finding out more about Fresh Perspective and family mentoring and would like to share your love, encouragement and skills with a family who would like a hand-up and someone to come alongside, I would love to talk with you.

Blessings and love

Dee Weir

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