Lueda and Roger Green were married just two years ago, but they have a 10-year-old son —at least they have a boy they love at much as a son.
Lueda and Roger are members of College Heights Christian Church in Joplin, where the church has a new mission. The church saw a need for children with only one parent to have a mentor, who would also mentor the parent.
After a lot of prayer, the Greens decided to serve as mentors. They were assigned a single mother and her 10-year-old son. The Greens got their new family in April and it has been a real joy. They are getting as much from the relationship as the mother and son.
"I keep in touch with the mother by email or text message every day or so. I just ask how she's doing," Lueda said. "If she's having a bad day at work — or a good day, I get to hear about it."
The Greens had a chance to take their "son," on a field trip one day while his mother was working. They brought him to the Neosho National Fish Hatchery for the Kids Fishing Derby, and in the afternoon, they visited the George Washington Carver National Monument, Diamond.
"At Carver we visited the museum and talked about Carver — what a good man he was and how he got up early in the morning and went into the woods to study plants," Lueda said. "We all really had a good time."
At the fishing derby, Lueda took "about a hundred" pictures of the boy and was able to share them with his mother. She was happy and said it was almost like being there with him.
About four or five times since April, the Greens have hosted their new friends for supper.
"We don't do anything special, but they seem to appreciate it," she said.
Lueda believes that, "Kids need to learn leadership and responsibility and they learn it by watching adults. I think boys need a man in their lives and girls need a woman. My husband is just a big kid and he gets along with the boy so well. They joke and have a lot of fun. We want him to learn to be a good, Christian man."
The Greens give their "son" lots of praise. They believe that it takes ten praises to wipe out one negative, and they believe some children have received many negatives all their lives.
The Greens' relationship with the mother is very good.
"She is so grateful to have someone who is encouraging her. She told me she doesn't feel so overwhelmed now, and she appreciates having someone to talk to once in a while," Lueda said.
Page 2 of 2 - "We don't have money to give, but we can give them care and love," she said. "That's what a mentor does."
Lueda has two hobbies: Writing and photography.
"I especially like to take pictures of flowers," she said. "You can see even the tiniest part and the wonder of how the flower is made. When you see that, you know that only God could have designed that."
And seeing the good in people, as well as in plants, is what makes Lueda Green this week's good neighbor.