Last spring, our pastor asked us what we are doing in our own neighborhoods to grow relationships that could point our neighbors to JESUS. To point them to the One who loves them more than they could ever hope or imagine being loved.
I was struck dumb when I thought about it.
Most of our neighbors save the ones on either side or below us I don’t even know. I know some of their names and would recognize their faces maybe but that is as far as it goes. I decided to pray for ideas about what I might do and decided to resurrect our outdated neighborhood directory, penned before we arrived in 2003.
I put a letter in everyone’s mailbox inviting them to join. With the responses I made a spread sheet and email group, then printed and laminated a hardcopy. Next, I rolled the sheets, tied them with ribbon and put one in every mailbox, weather they signed up or not. At first, only half the residents joined, once they saw it many more did.
Having an updated directory has been so great to warn each other about thieving foxes, menacing bears and mountain lions prowling about. We have used it to secure house sitters and baby sitters, to borrow eggs and share holiday sentiments.
Then last fall, just before Thanksgiving, a band of burglars invaded our street. In one night at least 6 houses were affected. If we hadn’t had the directory, we wouldn’t have known each other had been hit. When the police came they listened to everyone’s account of the events and cautioned us that it sounded like the thieves were casing the place. Trying to see how easy it would be to gain entry. The officers warned the burglars might come back and really load up.
In the weeks following, we’ve been amazed to watch our community. On our way home one afternoon a truck with a trailer parked at the end of our cul-de-sac. I stopped and politely asked the men standing there what they were doing. One of the men looked at me with a puzzled expression and said they were renovating the house they were parked in front of. From their faces, I knew they had been asked that question before.
Ryan to the South of us, installed security cameras pointing up and down our street so anyone who enters will have their license plate recorded.
Everyone is more friendly and talkative. We have all been keeping an eye pealed for any unfamiliar vehicles or individuals.
Seems funny that GOD would prompt me to renew our neighborhood directory just a few months before it would be a GODSEND? This experience has been a great reminder to me that He is all knowing, all powerful and all in control. And He has our backs.
I am trying to be a better listener to His prompts on my heart. We are hoping to have a get together in the spring and invite the whole neighborhood crew.
How about you? Do you know your neighbors? The mission field is ripe for the harvest but the workers are few. It’s not necessary to go to Africa to be a missionary.