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First Person: Reluctant...and Fruitful

 

The story of one woman’s outreach in her condo

 

I live in a condominium court. Though we live so close together, it’s hard to meet neighbors because most of us leave early to work and arrive home late in the evenings. I started to pray that I could meet some of my neighbors. I prayed for months. Occasionally, I would bump into someone at the mailboxes; some of us helped one another to shovel out during a snowstorm. At the same time, I was getting to know my downstairs neighbor very well. I started to think that having an Open House in December might be a nice way for people to get to know one another. I thought that giving the invitations by hand would be better so they could see I was somewhat normal! Would I get a door slammed in my face? How embarrassing if no one came! I almost didn’t hand out the invitations until a colleague reminded me that many people are lonely around the holidays. I thought, “I’m lonely at times, too. Okay. Here it goes.” Everyone was great when I knocked on their door and explained the invitation. I didn’t know if anyone one would actually come but at least they smiled and seemed to appreciate the invitation. Some expressed that they had “always wanted to do an open house” in our court.

Amazingly, 15 of 21 units were represented at the event. The invitation stated that it was a 3-5pm open house, come and go as you want, but most arrived at 3 and stayed until 6. A few stayed until 8. I learned that most were single, working women – a common bridge. One of the women asked what I do for a living, and learning that I’m in ministry asked if I would lead a Bible study. She said that she always wanted to study the bible. For someone wanting to lead a neighborhood bible study, it doesn’t get easier than that.

But, I didn’t want to lead a study! I had only wanted to get to know my neighbors. It took me a few weeks to get up enough nerve to start the study, praying that God really knew what he was doing by involving me. A few other women also wanted to join us, so a small group of us started to meet weekly in my home studying the book of Mark using the One-to-One Bible Reading method. Since I had a lot of doubts about my capability of leading a study, this method takes the onus off the “leader” and instead creates a way for everyone to just sit down and read the Bible together.

A few months later, upon completion of Mark, we are now going through a Beth Moore Bible study. Colleagues and friends have prayed with me and for the women involved in the study. The evolution of relationships and desire to study the Bible together has been notably a work of God. I am thankful that he has allowed me to be a part of it, changed by it, and I look forward to how he will continue to work in each of our lives.