Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A quiet Christian

I work with a young man in ninth grade who is interested in becoming a mechanic some day. I'll call him John. Today, as part of his pre-vocational services, I arranged for him to shadow a mechanic on the job for an hour. I loved watching as John checked out the garage, examined the engine, and even got to help install a belt. He was so happy and clearly impressed by the mechanic. John goes to school near the garage and said he hopes to walk down on a lunch break some time and visit.
I left the visit feeling very optimistic. Optimistic about John, who appears to have found something that truly interests him with which he can make a good living. Optimistic about our educational system that provides alternative programs for children who simply detest standard academics (John is in a vocational BOCES program). Optimistic about the effect of a Christian witness. The mechanic, Jim Ryckman, is the owner of Rytek Automotive and uses his work to quietly witness to those around him. Amidst car magazines and the issues of Reader's Digest that grace every waiting room, you'll find a Bible and some Christian articles in Jim's shop. More often than not, Christian radio is playing in the garage. Jim himself is a caring, compassionate, and honest man who values people over things and relationships over money. I called him this afternoon around 1:30 to see if John could shadow him at some point. Jim knows my husband and me from working on our cars, but we are customers, not friends. And yet, when I explained that I had a young teen who was interested in auto mechanics, Jim didn't hesitate. Of course he would give of his time and expertise to a woman he barely knew and a young man he may never see again. He asked nothing in return.
I don't know if John will ever walk down to Rytek Automotive on his lunch break. But if he does, and if he finds a mentor in Jim, he will be truly blessed.

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