7/18/13

An invitation for Good in my neighborhood

     I first heard the term "Good News in the neighborhood" over at one of my favorite youth ministry sites, The Youth Cartel. It's a term I immediately resonated with. Taking time to savor, like a good cup of coffee, all those words really mean in everyday life. In MY everyday life. For me it means walking with eyes wide open. I live in a fun busy urban area of downtown El Cajon (east county of San Diego) with buses and trolleys, sidewalk cafes, funky museums, art, a Starbucks within walking distance (my general rule for anyplace we dwell!) and a local library a few blocks away serving kids free lunches for the summer.  A busy, busting with life, diverse area of town. We love it!

   With our kids on their scooters and a happy toddler in her stroller we often partake in lazy walks through our neighborhood. Most often to Starbucks (of course) for Frappy Hour. While walking we notice needs, celebrations, and life happen around us. Talking with the kids about how we can be "good news in the neighborhood." From this walk and several like it, spawned a "to do list" of ways to love on our neighborhood. And as my 11 year old said to me, "Mom we can Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn" (Romans 12:15). 

Here is what we came up with so far:
1) Cat sympathy cards!

The kids making their "cat sympathy cards"

The lost cat banner


We walk by this house a lot. We drive by it several times a day. It's hard not to notice the missing cat banner. This "cat house" as we proclaim it to be, has donned a missing cat banner for a long time. Telling the whole world "Hannah is missing."  Like a long time. So they made sympathy cards to leave at their door. Cat sympathy cards. Hey the kids can "love their neighborhood" in their own style. My daughter writes, "So sad to see that your cat is missing. I wish we could find her and bring her to you." 





    #2 A meal delivery

This is an easy one. As we were coming back from a neighborhood walk,  we spotted a couple who lives a few doors down taping these baby boy decorations to their next door neighbor's garage door. A very visible indication of Good News happening in this house and we wanted to help! So off to my favorite grocery store (Fresh and Easy) to pick up some yumminess. Every new mom needs a meal, so that's what we did. Bring a meal over to a new mom. How easy is that?  I spotted this video on YouTube (see below). I love it...simple ways to be Good News in our own neighborhood.


 
#3 Helping those suffering from homelessness

Another "need" we notice daily, by living with eyes wide open are the number of men and women who are suffering from homelessness who congregate in the doorways and edges of the Shadow Mountain International Ministry Center behind our development. My kids suggested we save extra snacks and deliver them to these men and women. Or pick up some disposable coffee cups with lids and walk down with some coffee and muffins in the early morning. Our "home church" (where we met, married, I did an internship and spent several years of my life) is launching a prayer walk as a tangible way to begin a very intentional ministry of delivering hope to those in this community. As another favorite church of mine puts it..."We believe that we were created to live deeply with one another, carrying each other’s burdens, sharing our possessions, to pray for and confess our sins to each other, to suffer and celebrate together."  Sounds like Good News to me!



How to be more intentional about neighborhood ministry: 
To sum it up...the best way to Be GOOD News to those in your neighborhood, is to engage and pay attention to what's going on. Look for "lost cat" and "welcome baby" banners. Notice the poor, the suffering, and the hungry. Pay attention. Meet needs. 

HOW do YOU demonstrate to your family or youth ministry practical and tangible ways of delivering hope and help to your neighborhood? 

5 comments:

  1. Both Jon and I have been on the road almost all summer, so I'm sorry to say that I just saw this. This post quite literally brought tears to my very tired eyes. Thank you for living this stuff out in your neighborhood. So stinking cool!

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  2. jonhuckins7/22/2013

    Amen to what Adam said, Thanks for living, loving and leading in such dynamic and tangible ways in your hood. Amazing what happens when you follow Jesus into places that happen to be right next to us, but that we often overlook if we choose not to have the eyes to see. Beautiful. This stuff matters. Carry on!

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  3. Thanks guys for commenting and for inspiring our "good news in the neighborhood" adventures. It's amazing how easy it is to spot needs when you live with eyes wide open.

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  4. Thanks Adam! I am thankful for the Youth Cartel...instigating a revolution for sure! San Diego is a fun city where we can "walk" our neighborhoods year round and see so much life happen. With many needs to meet.

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  5. Thanks Jon! I am thankful for the opportunity to live and serve in such a fine city. Just walking out the front door (of most anywhere) offers so many opportunities to BE salt and light...but pretty cool when it's right next door.

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