Friday, October 29, 2010

This Halloween Serve your Neighborhood...

If you haven't already planned something for Halloween think about this weekend as an opportunity to get to know your neighbors and serve your community by resisting the isolationism of suburbia.

Tom Stack, a friend from church recently stepped out of the comfort-zone and served his neighborhood in a mission-minded way. Here's his story...

"Our family has lived on this block for 8 years (come February), and we have been really bad about getting to really know anyone on the street. We "know" the folks on either side of us and across the street, but that's about it (and not very well at that). We just thought that there are others on the block like us, we need to fix that and get to better know who's on our street. And with the weather as nice as it's been, it was just the right thing to do.

So we printed out a little flyer that we handed out, door-to-door, talking to each of our neighbors, and inviting them all to join us out in front of our house last evening. We said, "we'll bring the dogs, you bring your appetite."

We had a number that brought cookies, homemade crab cakes, a plate of nachos (covered in been and cheese), a platter of sushi, and some corn on the cob to throw on the grill. We were out there from 6 to around 8:30. Everyone was standing around, talking, eating, and I think really enjoying the chance to meet for the first time or reconnect with their neighbors. My wife and I both were surprised to overhear so many introduce themselves to neighbors they've never met. (our subdivision has all the garages in the back, on an alley, and that makes a difference).

But we found out that one family has a daughter in 4th grade at the same school as our kids! The wife is a believer, but the husband, a great guy, is not. I had a chance to chat a lot with him last night - about where we grew up, what work we do, their decision to homeschool, etc. Also found out that two families (one was not able to make the gathering) on the block both attend a large Chinese church here in Plano. One of the couples is our next-door neighbor (I did not know they were believers). Sylvia had a good opportunity to speak with the wife, and found out that they were Christians, and are very curious to talk to Sylvia more about homeschooling (they have two little ones under 6).

All this to say we had a long overdue chance to reach out and make connections with our neighbors - and just be good neighbors. Showing them care and kindness, and an interest in them and their families. If the Lord leads us to openings to share Him and His Gospel with any of them as we build relationships with these neighbors, great! We'll take it! Hopefully, as the old song said, "they will see we are Christians by our love," and we'll stand out as a light, and as friends upon whom they can depend."