My name is Gail Reilly-Palmese and I have a mentor call on my life. I am from the USA. I was born in Brooklyn and raised as an only child to a single mother. My mother met and married my stepfather when I was 14. I hated him for coming into our lives and messing everything up (Teen Genius). Today I adore my dad. I couldn’t ask for better.
I was raised Catholic and did all the Catholic things (rituals) expected of you as a child. Even went to Catholic school for a few years and still didn’t know who Jesus was. I had my first child at 19 (out of wedlock) shortly followed by two more children (also out of wedlock) by a different man. So by this time I am tainted goods and a sinner. I tried doing the good Catholic thing and brought my children to church on Sunday but always left angrier than when I went in. It wasn’t until my step-daughter Rita passed away unexpectedly that I decided to go back to church and “tell God off”. I was mad and I wanted an explanation about Rita, about life, about everything. So I went to the church that I had watched for the past few months being built around the corner from my home. I hadn’t been in church in almost 17 years. Would they kick me out? Could they tell I was a sinner?
I remember the first service. It was “forgiving yourself and forgiving others”. What a concept! Could you really do that? I stayed for two services. I cried my eyes out. A weight had been lifted off of me. The pastor was so nice and held me as I wept. I couldn’t wait for the following Sunday. I wanted more! That Sunday I gave my life to Christ.
That was 9 years ago but still feels like yesterday. About a year into my walk, I started praying for a Christian man. God sent me Joe. Joe and I had dated as kids (19 and 20) He was definitely NOT a Christian. I was like, “Excuse me, God, but did you not hear the part about a ‘Christian’ man?” He said, “I know I didn’t send you a Christian man. I sent you a man who will become a Christian.” Joe came into my life in December of 2009. He gave his life to Christ in January 2010. We were baptized together in June 2010 and married in July 2010. Joe and I have served in several ministries. He ushers, I drive the van. He does Royal Rangers, I teach girl’s ministry. He does Hospitality, I do mission work. We both do VBS in the summer.
There are many other things we do and have done in our church, but now, I wanted to get ready for retirement. Because I was teaching these young girls about Christ, I wanted to discipline myself to study (not simply read) the Bible. Wherever I decide to retire to, I felt the mentor call from God. I want to be able to teach or mentor in some way with youth. I felt if I had some credentials under my belt it would hold more weight than just “some old lady at church”. I looked up “Christian leaders” and saw websites where you could buy a certificate. I didn’t want to buy it. I wanted to earn it. I enrolled in Christian Leaders Institute (CLI) because you hold yourselves and your students to a higher standard. It’s free and I can go at my own pace. I feel I googled myself down the right path on my mentor call journey. I’ve just started the course and I feel that CLI is exactly what I need to make me the mentor, teacher, and perhaps the minister that the youth today need.
A mom once told me that her daughter and the other girls in my class ‘Will remember you forever’. I said, “I hope not.” She looked at me stunned. I said, “I don’t want them to remember me. I want them to remember the message.” My children have not given their lives to Christ yet, but I pray diligently every day that one day they will as well as my grandchildren. They say I’ve changed a lot since the first day I walked through the doors of the church around the corner. Praise God! and I pray that they too will walk through those doors one day.
Learn about local “ecuministry” ordination at Christian Leaders Alliance.