Temporary Neighbors? Yes, Please!
I’m excited for you all to meet my friend, Karen, and hear what she's learning lately about neighboring.
Karen and I grew up in a small town in the panhandle of Florida. We lived across the street from each other, both relocating there in elementary school as military kids. Long summer days of playing in the woods, exploring the neighborhood and frequenting friends’ houses, we became fast friends and remain so today.
We recently traveled together for a few days and as we stayed in other people’s homes, our conversations often circled back to neighboring, hospitality and how we naturally share Jesus through these means.
We’ve both been pretty intentional in sharing our homes and hearts with those in our lives. Karen recently sold her family home (her husband passed away several years ago and her children are grown) and has taken to adventures on the road in her camper. She shared about one of the things she misses most not having a house: her neighbors.
She’s found it difficult to engage in meaningful ways with others due to her nomadic lifestyle. She misses sharing a meal or a backyard barbecue with her friends, having a place to offer weary travelers respite and rest. Because her “love language” is acts of service, she is challenged to find new ways as a “traveler” to create a community where she can share her gifts of service with others.
In comes the Turquoise Table! Many of you have heard us mention this movement. It’s basically challenging us to set up a table in our front yards and create an inviting space for our neighbors to stop and join us for a few minutes of conversation and community. While I know this doesn’t work for everyone, hopefully it will inspire a few of you to consider an opportunity that you can adapt to your situation. And that’s just what Karen has done.
On her campsite, Karen has set a table with a turquoise tablecloth. She’s decorated it with some flowers and keeps a few coffee mugs ready should any of her neighbors mosey on over. She’s looking forward to having some games on hand and when she has time, a few baked goodies to share with her new friends.
As she’s very new to this, she’s remembering to be open to God’s timing and His direction. She’s done the work to create a simple, inviting space. And now she’s excited to see how God rewards her efforts. She’s not discouraged when no one comes the first few days she's at a new campground. She’s realizing it takes time to develop connections.
I pray that Karen’s openness to being a good neighbor wherever she is will encourage you to do the same. There are so many possibilities and opportunities to be creative in our neighboring endeavors. Spend some time in prayer and ask God what He might have in store for you and your family!
And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth; having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place. Acts 17:26
Michele Husfelt serves as a ministry assistant for NorthStar Church Network and heads up our Neighboring Initiative.