A Much-Needed Mentor
Two years ago, I registered for a four-week teen leadership program called Leaders-in-Training (LIT) at InterVarsity Pioneer Camp Alberta, and it was one of the most spiritually and mentally enriching experiences I have ever had! The material we covered pushed me to wrestle with big concepts that I previously hadn’t considered. Calgary Campus Minister Vanessa Kordupel, the LIT director that summer, was an engaging speaker and really focused on connecting with me and the other girls in the program. She always checked in with us, answered questions that came up in Bible study sessions and made the learning environment personable. She became like a big sister to me, and I enjoyed talking to her about my walk with Christ, my anxieties about what was coming next in my life, and other little things each day.
Away from Camp, Away from Home
After LIT, Vanessa reached out to me, emailing me about things I had brought up in the summer and remembering all the small details. I was surprised, because I knew how many campers she interacted with over the summer and how busy her life was. But her reaching out warmed my heart, because she had been a major role model to me. I appreciated the fact that, though she lived three hours away, she was still choosing to be present in my journey.
Now that I’ve moved away from my tight-knit Church community at home to a wide-spread university campus, finding older students or peers with the same passion for Christ has been a struggle. Though the transition has been tough these past few months, Vanessa has been a rock for me, my number one resource. I know that if I ever needed to talk, she would be there to share a cup of coffee and chat with me.
The Conversation Continues
Vanessa has taught me to look at the positive in any given opportunity and to make genuine connections with everyone I meet. Her grace and her open heart have encouraged me to listen to the small details and to be loving toward others in times of struggle. Because of her example, I am more apt to take risks, share my faith openly and connect with my community. I am forever grateful for the effect she has had on me, and I continue to stay in contact with her to talk about university courses, questions I have about my daily devotions and the new experiences I am having after moving away from home. I could never thank her enough for the doors she has opened in my life and for her continuous belief in me!