Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Betty Huizenga says when an older woman becomes a mentor, it benefits the body of Christ in many ways.

Betty Huizenga: Mentors can be surrogate grandparents for those who do not have their parents around. We have children who have moved away, so we know what that’s like, that the kids don’t always have someone to take to the grandparent’s day at school.

You can do that. Mentors, older people, have so many talents and gifts they can share in their churches that they’re not doing. Just look around you and think of the things you can do to help the young families in church, to teach them things you’ve learned, the men, as well as the women. It just makes such a difference.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Tuesday, July 31.

We’ve been in a much-needed series on mentoring. If you’ve missed any of it, you can hear the programs or order them at Here’s Nancy to introduce our guests.

Nancy: Well, when we started this series, I anticipated we were going to perhaps give two days to it, then it became three, and now, here we are on a fourth. I’m so glad we’ve had the chance to extend this time because we’re talking about what is such an important and very desperately needed subject for women today.

That is: How can younger women be mentored in their roles as wives, as moms, and even as single women anticipating what God may have for them down the road.

God has put on the heart of a woman named Betty Huizenga a ministry called Apples of Gold. We’ve been talking about it throughout this week. If you’ve missed any of the previous programs, I hope that you’ll order a CD.

If you go to our website, you can find more information and a link about Apples of Gold. There are lots of resources. It’s a practical way for older women to fulfill the mandate of Titus chapter two, which is for older women to teach younger women the ways of God.

So Betty, thank you for starting this program, and thank you for coming with your husband and two of your friends here today to talk with us about this ministry that God put on your heart.

Betty: It’s a joy. It feels good to have your support team around you.. I’m glad you mentioned, too, Nancy, that Apples of Gold is for all women.

You don’t have to be married to be in Apples of Gold. The things taught there are helpful to every woman because it’s right out of Scripture, and all Scripture is profitable for us, according to Second Timothy.

We have single women, we have divorced women, we have married women, and more and more, I’m getting women who are writing to me who are past 50 and saying, “I know I should be mentoring, but I was never taught these things, either.” So we know that the need is there.

Nancy: Well, thank you for stepping in to meet that need. As we’ve talked, I’ve realized that you never in your wildest dreams imagined 15 or 20 years ago that the Lord would ever have you doing something like this.

Betty: That’s very true. Sometimes I think about my mom and dad, who are with the Lord, and I’m thinking, “They would never have thought this either!” What a joy! I know so many women I never would have met, but more than that, I’ve seen the joy of ministering in a new and fresh way.

Nancy: And you weren’t a speaker. You weren’t an author. You weren’t a leader. You were a wife and a mom and then a grandmom. Then you came to that season of life where your husband was retiring, and you began to seek the Lord and say, “What do You want for me in this season of life?”

So you’ve done that, and I think that’s a challenge to older women who may be wondering, “What am I supposed to be doing now at this season of my life?” If you had known 10, 11, or 12 years ago all that was going to unfold, you might not have signed up for the task. But God just let you know enough to take the next step, and you did that—and then He has unfolded it.

Betty: Sometimes I question God, “Why did You choose me?” I feel so humbled by it. And I think, “The reason God chose me is because that’s the very thing He wants.”

I’ve made lots of mistakes in my life. God can use women who have made mistakes. God’s redeemed me, and He can use me because of that. It’s the very failures sometimes in our lives that God chooses to use.

I’m humbled by it, but I’m just so grateful that I learned how to say yes. Just to watch Him work is way beyond anything I could ever ask or think for this ministry to watch God at work. So when it’s God’s idea, He’ll do it. I cannot take any credit for what’s happened. He has just carried it.

Nancy: And Betty, I think that word and the example of your life is going to bring a lot of hope to some of our listeners who are maybe feeling useless or shelved or maybe not knowing what their purpose in life is. And knowing that at this older season of life, you can really be making a difference with your life.

Betty: I’ll say I want to be “refired” instead of “retired.” I think that’s really true. I want to live every day of my life to the very end with joy and purpose. That’s my goal.

Nancy: And you’re doing that. Thanks for modeling that.

Betty: Don’t miss the fun!

Nancy: You’ve got two women with you today who are also in that pilgrimage. Dee Horne is on the board of Apples of Gold. Dee, you’ve been involved with Apples of Gold since the very beginning. In a nutshell, what has it meant to you to be involved as a mentor in younger women’s lives?

Dee Horne: I am the original kindness mentor, which is the first lesson that we teach.

Nancy: So do you feel on the spot? Like if you’re not being kind that you’re really being watched, and you’re highly accountable.

Dee: I do. It’s been a challenge to always be kind.

Nancy: But isn’t it true that as we teach others, we become more accountable? I know the things I teach on Revive Our Hearts come back to haunt me so often. God challenges me: “You’re teaching other women these things. Are you living them?”

Dee: That’s true, and that’s what makes this program so unique and wonderful, because as women, we are given the opportunity to give out to younger women all the things He’s taught us in our lifetime, and what a great opportunity that is.

What a wonderful opportunity to love and get to know these younger women. They have taught me so much.

Nancy: One of those younger women is here with us in the studio today, Margo Topp. When you started out in this program, Margo, ten or twelve years ago, you were a very young wife and mom, and now you’ve been maturing.

You’re on your way to becoming an older woman. You’re going to be a mentor and God is probably using you now to encourage and bless some of the younger women in your life.

Margo: Right. Definitely. At that time, I would have had three young daughters, elementary age, and now they’re grown. One daughter’s married off in Washington, and I have another adult daughter and a teenage daughter and two little boys yet.

Apples of Gold has been an incredible part of my life, not only in the lessons I learned being part of the very first session, but continued to be, and now have impacted my family and as well my daughters.

Nancy: Betty, the details are available in the resources that are available through your ministry, and our listeners can go to and find out more information about your ministry and find the resources that are available.

But in a nutshell, somebody’s been listening this week, they’re an older woman or they’re a younger woman, and they’re thinking, “I’d like to start into this program.” Without going into all the details, just give us a glimpse of how they might get started. What would be a first couple of steps to take?

Betty: I think one of the first things to do is to pick up the book Apples of Gold and Gifts of Gold if you’re thinking about mentoring. Read through them, and then if you agree with them or are interested in that, pray about it, bring it to your church or to a group of your friends.

Begin to pray together. It’s key that we pray for our mentors because there’s been times when people say, “We just don’t have mentors.” And as people were praying for mentors, someone just comes up, and they’re just the right mentor for that topic.

It starts with knowing what the program is about and then going to your church and asking them, “Would you consider doing this ministry for our young women? They really need it.” It’s not difficult to start Apples of Gold. It really isn’t. It’s a pretty easy ministry to start.

Nancy: That’s one of the things I appreciate about it. It’s not complicated.

Betty: No, it’s not.

Nancy: And it does take prayer. It takes dependence on the Lord. It takes a willing, available heart. But the mechanics of it are not all that complicated, and you’ve provided these resources that give a track to run on. They just take your hand and walk you through how to do this. Thank you for making those resources available.

Betty: I think you need a home in which to meet. One of my friends in Minnesota moved into a new neighborhood, and she saw a lot of young women there, so she gathered up her friends and started.

Classes have been going on for several years now. You need a home, you need a couple of good cooks, and you need your mentors.

We usually have a greeter every week. When the young women come to the door, they’re already greeted with a loving word and a hug, and they’re given the recipes, and maybe we’ll spend some time praying for them.

At the very end, we have a dinner with spouses, which is called our “celebration dinner.” At that dinner we get to share how God’s been changing us.

It’s how can I be the woman God wants me to be, and then the response comes. When we obey God, He changes the husband right in front of our eyes. It is so important for us to know that we’re only responsible for ourselves before God, and God will change those around us.

Nancy: As God has been changing the lives of these young women, the Apples in the Apples of Gold program, I know, Betty, that some of them started to say to you, “What about our daughters? How can we train them young, younger than we were when we learned these things so that they don’t make some of the same mistakes?”

As a result of that burden, you’ve started a new part of the Apples of Gold ministry called Appleseeds. Tell us a little about how that works.

Betty: Appleseeds is really written for preteen girls. That’s a great age to reach young girls.

Nancy: So what, ten-to-thirteen years of age?

Betty: Ten-to-thirteen years of age, and I know many women have also been waiting for something for teenage girls, but ten-to-thirteen-year-olds have hearts are really open. They want to learn, and it’s a great thing. It prepares them for the teenage years. It’s ministry that can be done in a home or a church.

It’s fun to do it in a home. It’s three parts, like Apples of Gold. The first part is making a craft every week when the girls get together so they learn to work together. They make friends during that time.

The craft is always something that is a reminder for the lesson that week. The second part is a lesson. In the lessons, we start out with who is God and how can I know Him because that’s foundational.

Girls ten-to-thirteen can learn a little theology, too, and I really want them to go deep, as well, so they can understand that God is holy. If they know the attributes of God, then they begin to know He’s trustworthy. So we start with, “Who am I?” It’s like a top-to-toe lesson for girls.

When they’re finished, they’re pretty equipped to know how God wants them to live in the world. And it’s fun.

The third part is “Manners Matter.” We all know it’s important that we talk about modesty and living a pure life and how to greet people, making proper introductions, writing thank you notes, all the courtesies of life that are so important.

We do a little meal and set the proper table, and we sit there and show them exactly where you put your napkin and how do you do all these things, so that when they do grow up, they’re equipped.

When they’re invited to a special thing later, they’re going to be comfortable. I believe that manners are really about the other person. If you’re confident in what you’re doing, then you can concentrate your tie on the people you’re with and not be self-conscious about yourself. We just want young women to know how special they are to God.

Nancy: I know a lot of our listeners are moms who have daughters in that age range or daughters coming up to that age range who want to disciple their daughters in the ways of God.

I’m so excited you’ve developed this Appleseeds program. That’s also available through our Revive Our Hearts resource center, and again, a hands-on manual that will show you how you can do this.

That’s part of our mission at Revive Our Hearts:Helping women find fullness and freedom and fruitfulness in Christ and then to pass that on to the next generation of women.

I’m just thrilled for these tools and resources that are now available to help women do that. As we wrap up this series, I want to just focus for a few moments on the whole impact that Apples of Gold can have on husbands.

I know, Betty, that you have not been in this ministry alone. When you felt God put this on your heart, you immediately went to your husband and said, “Do you believe God’s in this?”

You also went to your pastor and got confirmation there, but you and Lee have been partners in this ministry. He’s been a cheerleader and a supporter and an encourager and has really partnered with you in this ministry in his retirement years.

Lee, you weren’t planning on this when you came today, but we’re so glad to have you here. You’ve been such a huge part of this ministry with Betty, and you’ve done this as couple. Your hearts have been in it together. Betty didn’t just run off and start something on her own. You’ve been a cheerleader and encourager.

Share with our listeners from your perspective as a husband, a dad, as a man of God, why are you excited about the ministry of Apples of Gold, and why should other husbands encourage their wives to participate in something like this?

Lee Huizenga: Nancy, I’m the recipient of a wife that loves the Lord and seeks to be obedient and speaks on kindness and on loving her children, on submission, and that’s got some real implications for me.

My role is a leader of the family, the spiritual leader of the family. It’s humbling to have a wife that really believes in submission and then hospitality. It brings a life of great joy, of great peace, an exciting life.

Then when I see all the other young people getting involved in this, I used to be the one to prep the vegetables and clean up some of the things afterwards. Now these women that have been through the program the year before or years before all want to come back, and they’re scheduled way out in advance to come and help Betty.

I’ve lost that job, but I still enjoy seeing it happen. I also love the celebration dinner. It’s when the spouses get together with their wives, and these women put on the finest dinner they know how.

Nancy: This is at the end of the six week course.

Lee: That’s right. We’re out on the patio with the hor d’ourvres, getting to know one another, have a wonderful multi-course dinner. At the end of the evening, it’s a time of sharing and prayer and singing.

It’s just great to hear what’s happened to the lives of these young couples as their husbands share, because they, too, have been the recipients of women that are seeking to honor God in that way. I’m thrilled about it. I just want to support her in any way I can.

Nancy: And as a man, what are you seeing God do in the lives of women? Why should a woman get involved in something like Apples of Gold? Why should a young woman, and why should older women be involved as mentors? What difference is this going to make in their homes and in the men around them?

Lee: I think it brings great joy and great peace and great purpose to a home. There are stresses and tensions that they learn how to deal with. It’s great that they can call someone who’s been through this before.

I’m always thrilled to hear these young women call Betty on the phone and ask how to do certain things, how to handle certain things. I think it really makes a difference in their lives.

Nancy: Betty, Lee has really been a huge part of this with you, hasn’t he?

Betty: I could not do this without him. If I didn’t have his love and support, sometimes I get really bogged down or discouraged, and he’s there saying, “You can do this. With God’s help, we can get through this.”

At this point, this is no longer a little ministry, as it was in the beginning. Lee’s faithfully been there, and some nights, he’s working on the website with me. We’re working late at night to be sure that we answer emails and care for the needs of the ministry.

I could not do it without him. I wouldn’t want to do it without him. Working as a team is great. Lee’s also been able to mentor some of the husbands of the women who have come through the classes.

Some of the other mentor’s husbands have done that, as well, so it’s a team effort. That’s really what God wants us to be. He wants us to be a working team that glorifies His name.

Nancy: And Margo, you were sharing with us just a little bit ago about as a younger woman what it’s meant to you to have a couple like Lee and Betty Huizenga that you can see a marriage that it’s working. It’s Christ-centered, and what’s that’s meant to you as a younger woman.

Margo: Exactly. And like Betty was just saying, Lee has become a dear friend to my husband Doug and to myself, both of us.

With Lee being there and every once in a while, we’ll have a luncheon that will require some grilling, so Lee’s the griller. Just watching him and Betty their marriage, even though he doesn’t have a specific role in mentoring during the teaching time, just watching the dance of their marriage is just such an example to all of us.

So I’m so grateful for that and for the friendship that he has developed in his mentoring men—not formal mentoring, but it’s just occurred, by God’s design for the men. We’re very, very grateful for that.

Betty: At the dinner, at the end, in our home, Lee does this. We ask that one of the mentors' husbands give a little talk for the men, the husbands who are there for that evening celebration.

What Lee does in our home is encourage those men to encourage their wives. He'll say, “Your wives have learned a lot of things. Now, help them put it into action. Be their support and be their mate and love them.” It’s a really important part of the night.

Lee: It’s also thrilling for us to be invited to a young person’s home. I mean, these are our friends. When you go over and get together with their children, it’s just a real thrill to be there. It’s a special opportunity.

Betty: Mentors can be surrogate grandparents for those who do not have their parents around. We have children who have moved away, so we know what that’s like, that the kids don’t always have someone to take to the grandparent’s day at school.

You can do that. Mentors, older people, have so many talents and gifts they can share in their churches that they’re not doing. Just look around you and think of the things you can do to help the young families in church, to teach them things you’ve learned, the men, as well as the women. It just makes such a difference.

Margo: I think Apples of Gold is the real thing. This isn’t just something that’s just sliding by just on a whim, but this is a ministry that has been here for more than ten years.

It remains. It’s solid, and it just continues to build and to bless countless people. It truly, by God’s design—Titus two—if we truly follow what He said here and the older women truly do give of themselves, not on a one-on-one smothering relationship, but in this group setting, it truly works.

I really want to encourage women, older women, to step forward and to be obedient to God’s Word and to do this. And for the young women, don’t just sit back and let this area of your life go.

So many of us exercise, and we’re bringing our children to the sporting events and ballet classes and on and on, thinking we want to be all we can be and help our children be all they can be.

Really, God gives it to us right here. His blueprint is right here for us, and we do want to grow in these areas and be the wives and the mothers that we truly need to be, the way God would want us to be.

Nancy: I know that many of our listeners are going to be so grateful that we’ve had this series this week and are going to want to go before the Lord and say, “Lord, what do You want me to do? How do You want me to respond?”

We’re always saying on Revive Our Hearts, “Don’t just be a spectator, but be a participant, and ask the Lord, ‘Lord, what do You want me to do at this season of my life?’”

We’re not suggesting you add some new major commitment to your life, but just say, “Lord, how can I, as an older woman, be a mentor to younger women?” If you’re a younger woman, then, “Lord, how can I get the training that I need?”

Here is one resource, one program. It’s simple, it’s transferable. The resources have been developed. They’re available through, or you can call our ministry and we’ll direct you to Apples of Gold and show you how you can get those resources.

But stop and say, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” So, Betty and Lee Huizenga, and Dee Horne, and Margo Topp, thank you so much. I know you’re all busy people, but you’ve made the trip here to our office in southwest Michigan today to share with us.

Thank you for modeling what we’re talking about. Thank you for giving of your lives to minister to women. I know there are lots of women who are going to be blessed as a result and lots of husbands and dads like you, Lee, who are going to be really happy.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has given you a vision for what God could do in your life when you become a mentor to younger women. She’s been talking with Betty and Lee Huizenga, along with their friends Dee Horne and Margo Topp.

Let me remind you what was said today about becoming a mentor. An easy way to start is to read Betty’s book, Apples of Gold. See what the material’s like and pray about sharing it with younger women.

This book has lessons about practical life skills and relationships all set in the context of studying the Bible. We’ll send you a copy of Apples of Gold when you send a gift of any size to Revive Our Hearts.

We’ll also include the CDs of our current series with Betty on mentoring. There just isn’t enough material on this important subject. Younger women want to learn wisdom from those who have gone before them, and Apples of Gold and the CD series are a wonderful resource to get you started.

Ask for the book and CDs when you call in your donation of any amount. The number is 1-800-569-5959, or you can make your donation online. The address is

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Habakkuk—it’s a pretty short book towards the end of the Old Testament. Some people never crack the pages open, but Habakkuk gives us a lot of insight into issues that are on the front page every day.

Find out what Habakkuk has to do with your life when Nancy begins a new series, starting to tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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