Liz & Jessi’s story

At 24 years old, there have been many days I’ve deemed monumental throughout my life. Getting my license, graduating from high school (and almost college too!), getting married, my first real “big girl” job…you know, the kind of monumental days that we all anticipate having in one way or another. But then there have been the monumental days that I have in no way planned for, most of which have a connection to my involvement in YoungLives.

I joined YoungLives almost 4 years ago completely unaware of the effects that it would have on my heart and everyday life. At first I was skeptical of what I could possibly bring to these teenagers’ lives since I wasn’t a teenager that long ago myself. Then I met Liz and her daughter Melonie. Our first conversation ended in Liz asking me to be her mentor and I was both excited and extremely nervous! Our relationship was shy at first, we had a couple of lunch dates here and there and I picked her up for club regularly each month. Then one day Liz came to me with a question, “Hey Jessi, I have a question for you but you can totally say no.” After failing her driver’s test, she wanted me to teach her how to drive.

My mind immediately went back to all of the driving tips my dad drilled into my brain when I was learning how to drive. I thought, well my car already has a few scratches on it, what’s the worst thing that could happen? From there, I spent a couple nights a week in an empty mall parking lot teaching Liz everything that I knew about “Driving 101”. When the day finally arrived for Liz to take her driver’s license test, I watched her drive away with the instructor in my little Nissan Sentra. Once the two drove out of my sight, I can tell you that I have never been so nervous in my entire life! If she came back and got out of the car with a smile on her face, that was the sign that she had passed. If she came back and got out of the car with a frown, I’m sure we both would have cried. (Or maybe I would just be the one crying!)


We rejoiced when she got out of the car; Liz was a licensed driver! Now fast-forward a couple of years. Since the day she passed her driver’s test, a lot of things have changed for Liz. She graduated high school, is wrapping up her freshman year of college, and Melonie is officially a 5 year old. I am so happy and grateful to have witnessed these monumental days in her life, and this week we added another one to the list.  A few short days ago I handed over the keys to my car (the car Liz learned how to drive in!) to one of the most influential people in my life. Liz now has her own set of wheels to drive herself to college, to pick her daughter up from play dates and soccer practice, and I could not be more proud of the responsible individual she has blossomed into.

Life is about celebrating each other’s monumental days and I absolutely cannot wait to keep on delighting in all of Liz’s accomplishments! Thank you YoungLives for bringing Liz and I together, and for being the biggest demonstration of what God’s love can do.




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