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While engaged in mentoring relationships, Sarah understands that healthy connections are two-way, giving and receiving.
“I was one of the first people Brianna called when her brother was shot,” shared Sarah Bovan, with I-58 Navs in the Highland Park area of Detroit. Sarah earned her place alongside this family by years of friendship, support, encouragement, and mentoring of Brianna. “Brianna lost two brothers to gun deaths over the course of two years. Walking through grief with Brianna and her family, I didn’t always know what to say, but I was supportive in the process.”
The ministry of I-58 (Isaiah 58) engages in whole life discipleship with communities facing poverty, oppression, and injustice. Sarah maintains close relationships with the young women she mentors, but she respects their own family structure. Sarah shares about family relationships: “I am careful not to override the parents’ role in the lives of their children. Brianna’s mom has been very welcoming; she calls me Brianna’s second mom.”
While engaged in mentoring relationships, Sarah understands that healthy connections are two-way, giving and receiving. When Brianna’s mom wanted to make the wedding cake for Sarah’s wedding, she gladly accepted that gift as part of their ongoing relationship.
What does the future hold for Brianna? Attending college away from home, Brianna is still processing her losses. She is a tough girl, a fighter, with a tender heart. And Sarah is committed to walking alongside her, reminding her of God’s love and that He has an awesome plan for her life.
Resources to Support Relationships
The intense situations in the lives of women she mentors has spurred Sarah on to pursue a master’s degree in counseling. She is aware that discipling, mentoring, and walking alongside young women is important, but that the complexity of their needs often requires more resources. She is part of an Urban Scholars program with Moody Graduate School, providing education for those who are investing in ministry in the city of Detroit.
Sarah worked for years to bring relevant resources to the young women in Highland Park. Crisis pregnancies are a common issue for teens in the area, but other than an abortion clinic, there was not a local resource for pregnant teens. A crisis pregnancy center recently opened in the neighborhood and Sarah volunteers at the center. In the meantime, she walked alongside young women who were pregnant, driving them to appointments at a suburban crisis pregnancy center.
Now, as a mom herself, Sarah is able to connect through mothering with the women she discipled for years, as many of them have their own families now. Sarah has known Allia since she was 12 years old. They did life together throughout Allia’s teenage years, including Bible studies and facing practical life challenges. When Allia became pregnant during her senior year of high school, Sarah walked through that hard road with her as well.
Through a variety of ups and downs, Allia is now married and expecting her third child, a girl. Allia recently texted Sarah, “Everything you have instilled in me, that’s want I want to instill in my daughter.”
Allia is making choices for herself and her family, generational choices, influenced by Sarah’s life-on-life investment.
*Names changed in this story.
For more information about I-58 Navs ministry visit I-58Navs.org