In November 2016, Jessica and Mariah were matched through RBI Austin’s mentoring program. A year later, they’d built some rapport and moved past the initial, be-on-your-best-behavior stage. 

Being one of nine siblings with a father who had been incarcerated, Mariah comes from a full house with many inconsistencies.

Jessica came to find that while Mariah was quiet and reserved, she carried a hard, cautious attitude and could pack a powerful punch with her words. 

Last fall, when her father was released from prison and returned back home, she was on a particularly steady streak of being rude and disrespectful. 

I knew she was experiencing some hard things at home with her dad and in school with her friends, so I was trying to remember that these actions were a result of a deeper hurt and because of some inconsistency in crucial relationships,” shared Jessica.

One day, after many unsuccessful attempts to redirect Mariah’s hurtful behavior, Jessica’s patience ran out and she told Mariah, “We can’t hang out anymore today. You can call me when you think you are ready to be kind and want to hang out again.

A few days later, Jessica came across a passage in the Bible that reminded her about how Jesus pursues us.

I started thinking, I mess up all the time and Jesus still pursues me! Part of my role in loving Mariah like Jesus is that I get to pursue her again and again,” Jessica recounted.

Two years after their match date, Jessica and Mariah’s relationship is stronger and deeper. They are now regularly meeting with another RBI Austin mentor-mentee pair to study the Bible together. 

One of the ways Mariah loves studying the Bible is by drawing what she’s learned.

It has been so encouraging to see how excited the girls are to read the Bible,” Jessica shared. “It is really cool to see these two girls become friends and to be excited to learn about the Word of God together.

Thanks to your support, Mariah has a godly woman investing in her life year-round.