By Becky Holcomb
When you think of a missionary, you probably picture someone who is sent to a faraway land, speaking a different language and eating strange food. Well, just over 12 years ago, I was called to the mission field.
We moved to Erdenheim when our oldest was just 9 months. The moment I drove down our little street, I felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit in a new way. He was not just providing a home for us; He was “sending” us here.
From our earliest days, I kept a paper plate on the top of our refrigerator with a sketched-out map of our neighborhood. Every time I learned a new neighbor’s name, or their dog’s name, or their occupation or hobby, I would write it down. When my children were little, I would use every excuse to barge into our neighbors’ lives. We would make Valentine’s Day cookies, share extra produce from our garden, play in the front yard instead of the back, linger at houses on Halloween and go on timely walks around the street to bump into people who happened to be outside.
Over the years, people have opened up about the hard and messy parts of their lives. We have walked beside our neighbors through illnesses, marital difficulties, alcoholism, trouble with the law and countless other hardships. As a neighbor is sharing, I pray that the Lord will open my eyes about how to love them. I also ask the Lord to open a window in our conversation to pray with them in that moment.
Nowadays our outreach looks a bit different. We have campfires in the summer that we set up out front, making sure we have a good stock of s’mores. We also have an open door and plenty of snacks for seemingly endless streams of kids to play at our house. At Christmas time, we are sure to get some type of small baked good to everyone on the street. It is a great excuse to knock on someone’s door and have a conversation.
The geography of my cul-de-sac street made it easy for us to define our neighborhood, but I challenge you, what makes up your neighborhood? Is there a simple way, where you are naturally gifted, to reach into the lives of those people?