Simple Things in the Neighborhood

Simple Things in the Neighborhood

This past weekend, we went into the neighborhoods to pick up trash, pass out flyers and candy, and pray with neighbors. Some would say these things are simple and ineffective, but as the day progressed, we noticed the difference we were starting to make.

Not only did the area start to look a little cleaner, neighbors were out, they were actually opening their doors for us, and they actually had prayer requests that we prayed for.

One woman who had driven by us a couple times, decided to purchase some waters for us because she so appreciated what we were doing. She purchased enough flavored water for all 15 of us to have a water bottle.

The group that was with me was not from Omaha, and not even from Nebraska. IT was a group of middle school students from a youth group in Iowa. They were able to knock on doors and pray with neighbors.

One such moment was unforgettable and will forever stay with me. A group of three or four students walked up to a house, knocked on the door and offered their flyer and bag of candy. The elderly woman gladly accepted and when they kids asked if they could pray, she requested prayer for her family to grow closer together. One kid prayed for her and then it seemed like they were coming to a close when a girl asked if she could jump in. She prayed passionately for this woman and her family and spoke of how important and special family are. By the time she was finished, both the woman and I had tears in our eyes.

One small prayer can be effective. One small act can be effective. A knock on a door or a little bag of candy can be effective.

We need to stop searching for so many big things to transform, and discover how small you can get.

The simple things this past weekend didn’t just affect the neighborhood and the people we encountered. They affected me, and each one of the people who were with me. We saw and experienced the power of a simple prayer, a simple kind act of picking up trash.

You will be surprised at who will say yes when you ask if you can pray. Try it!

Praying for the courage to step out in small ways and see how God will move.

Our Morning Without Water

Our Morning Without Water

Water is a necessity we all use daily, to drink, to shower, to cook and clean. When it’s taken away, we wonder how we will live or get ready for work, or wash those dishes in the sink. Yesterday our water was missing from our lives for just a few short hours.

They had been working on the pipe up the street since three in the morning, yet must have ran into some complications because it was not finished when they (or we) would have liked. My husband found out when he went to wash his hands and there was nothing there. A few minutes later, there was a knock at the door with one of the workers explaining what happened and that they hoped to have the water flowing by 1pm.

I found out by my husband coming up the stairs, asking how he was supposed to get ready with no water. He had been expecting to take a shower, brush his teeth and potentially do some of those dishes, among other things. As we discussed how we were to manage with no water for a bit, I was surprisingly unflinching.

I had a little water in my cup from the night before and gave it to him to brush his teeth. I had a full water bottle that I keep for class that he was able to use to “wash” his body.

I had face wipes I use for traveling that we could use to wash our faces.

I had dry shampoo to keep my hair fresh.

Just the day before I received a free one liter water from Influenster that would satisfy my needs for the morning.

There was an almost untouched cup of tea that I simply reheated in the microwave.

ALL OF THESE THINGS we had on hand, when just minutes before we wondered what we would do to prepare for the day of work. God knew- and it really wasn’t that big of a deal.

HOWEVER, (and this is where it gets a little more real) there are so many who do not have water daily, whether it is not clean, or they live in a place that the water is so far away that a day’s journey can only happen every so often. There are people who get water and other utilities shut off because they are unable to pay. Some say they made bad decisions and that’s why they are unable to pay for water. What about you? Should you get punished for every bad decision you make with something as extreme as a daily need of water?

Our water actually was turned back on by 10am and it was nothing more than an odd couple of hours where we had to come up with creative solutions. BUT some people don’t have that luxury. Some don’t have the water leftover from the day before because there was none the day before.

I’m not writing this post because I think YOU need to change your mindset or open your eyes to the realities that many in our world face. I AM writing this post to let you know how my perspectives and ideas about the world and how it works are shifting. I believe it is a good shift, and I am thankful for the shift, even when it is uncomfortable-like not having water.

I AM writing this post to let you know how my perspectives and ideas about the world and how it works are shifting. I believe it is a good shift, and I am thankful for the shift, even when it is uncomfortable-like not having water.

It only happens when I get uncomfortable, when life is interrupted and I’m not able to do what I normally do, but instead am forced to be still, think and pray and ponder on things that go beyond myself. Things out of my control.

I AM praying that you will allow yourself the opportunity to get uncomfortable, to allow yourself to comprehend another’s reality, and to sit and ponder and pray about what that means for you in your own context.

What is your first response?

What is your first response?

My husband and I met at the nonprofit where we work and are choosing to live in North Omaha to intentionally see the reality of there one day being no inner city in Omaha, NE.

We live in a “lighthouse” where we want to build community and spread love and hope so the people around us can reach their full God-given potential.

Recently we were driving home around 9pm and as we are pulling up to the house, we see two individuals digging through our trash. Immediately I felt this creeping sense of fear and surprise. Why would someone be digging through my trash?! What could they possibly be trying to find? Information? Food? Cans to sell and get a little cash?

Continue reading “What is your first response?”