Pastor (DR.) Rander Draper, his wife and Mr. Jacques Masiko more known as “Uncle Jack” are my three mentors that God has used to shape my adult and ministry life. At the beginning of March, Uncle Jack and I traveled to the USA for a board member’s meeting. After which I decided to introduce him to a few friends which included the Drapers, it was a great honor and opportunity to introduce my mentors to each other.
When I first met Uncle Jack, I was a young man launching out in ministry at Gaba. It was an interesting encounter when I went to his office to fix and install some electrical systems. Uncle Jack thought I was just an electrician and as for me I just thought it was just another organization doing Christian stuff in Uganda. Just before I left his office, I asked him what his organization was involved in and it is then that he told me it was Compassion International a child sponsoring organization. That day he also learnt that I was a young pioneer pastor who was working with his hands to earn a living to care for his needs as carrying out ministry at Gaba. This connection led to education sponsorship of children from Gaba that not only increased the numbers in Gaba church but created a relationship with neighbors of other denominations.
For the Drapers, we met when they came on a mission trip at the invitation of my late ministry partner DR. Gerald Sseruwagi. It was an 8-person mission trip but for some reason, this couple picked a strong interest in my colleagues and I. That encounter led to one thing after the other, at that time Gaba church was a small 50-member church meeting in a tattered tent. The following year the Drapers invited me to the USA and introduced me to their church Maranatha Bible Church, they introduced me to their friends and gave me a cross-cultural exposure. These two were used of God to identify potential in me and encouraged me to aim high and believe that everything is possible.
My mentors have taught me that in all of us there is a pearl which can only become when it is polished, it is those men and women who believe in us that reach-out to us and polish off the chaff from our inner being. Mentors take time, effort and resources to go an extra mile to reach out and relate with us. They have taught me that a mentor should always provide space for their son or daughter to come and learn. The Drapers opened their home to me even when they were raising their children, from them I’ve witnessed and appreciated the saying of “a friend-in-need is a friend-in-deed.” They have shown me that you can’t be a mentor if you’re not willing to share your talent and financial resources. Jesus was the master mentor, He ate, lived and walked with His disciples. Young leaders desire to have someone to guide them through the walk of life, they wonder how other people have made it thus far in their lives. Mentoring is not an office job, it is a life-on-life journey and can be best achieved with close steady contact between the mentors and mentees.
Today when I look back at my life, I can’t help but thank God for the people God has used to shape my life and ministry. Whenever I reflect on the importance of mentors in the lives of emerging young leaders I always ask myself; how many older leaders get out of their way to reach out to young leaders?
Do young leaders realize the importance of older men and women in their lives? Mentorship is close to my heart that’s why I make it a point to influence as many young leaders as I come across, I know this is not enough as I can’t reach everyone that’s why I’ve prepared a mentorship program that will be launched out within the course of this year to benefit more young leaders to the glory of God.