I live in a multi-ethnic neighborhood near the hospital. We are new to the community but have been encouraged by the camaraderie and openness of our neighbors since we moved in.
In the run up to Hurricane Florence, different communities tried to prepare as best they could. In our community the city stepped in and drained a retention pond for 36 hours before the hurricane hit so that it would be able to hold more water and prevent flooding if the rains were too heavy. Neighbors started Facebook threads to keep one another up to date on safety, tree downings, wind damage, flooding. People sharpened chain saw blades and machetes so that they would be ready to help remove obstructions for neighbors. I even heard of people volunteering to watch children if parents needed freedom to work on any problems on their properties.
I know the news has reported looting of a Dollar General store and there are a number of scams trying to take advantage of people in flooded areas, but in many communities, particularly here in the Carolinas, people have really pulled together. Yesterday, I was commenting on our neighborhood thread on Facebook and wrote the following:
“The skies are clear, most of us have no more than leaves and small debris to clean up. I noticed a fence down and a couple of tree limbs but nothing major. We were fortunate and should be thankful. But it also was a time/event to rejoice. Rejoice in neighbors who look out for one another, neighbors who help one another, neighbors who were willing to be “at the ready” for one another.
For me, it was also a time to assess,
“What kind of a neighbor do I want to be for my neighbors in between crises?
What can I do to serve my neighbor?”
I don’t know the answer to that question completely, but here is one thing I have determined to do. Twenty-six families gave their name and address in this thread. My wife and I have determined that we will be praying for each of you by name on a regular basis. It’s the least we can do but maybe a powerful thing we can do.
- We will be praying for Safety, Peace, and Blessing in your lives.
- We will be praying that hearts of gratitude dominate your homes.
- We will be praying that Jesus becomes more real to all of us.
- And we will be praying that our neighborhood continues to care for one another whether there is a storm or not.
Hope you have a great day.”
It was a simple gesture. I didn’t know how it would be received but I sensed God leading me to care for our neighbors in this small way. You won’t believe how positive the response has been! Already 11 of the families in my neighborhood have weighed in with thank you’s and other encouragements. No negative comments.
What might God do over time as my bride and I and other believers begin to pray for neighbors on such a basis? Might this be the start of a miracle?
P.S. This doesn’t take any special talent, training, or treasure. It could be duplicated in any community, by any believer, at any time. Do it in your neighborhood. Find a way to communicate to your neighbors that you want to be there for them in between the heartaches of life and certainly in the moments of crisis. And then just do it. It’s pretty simple.