Monday, October 29, 2012

Simple Acts of Kindness: Tangible Ways to Love Your Neighbor- Community

I must be honest, as I sit to write this post, I am a little overwhelmed and unsure where to start.

This is because I see so much need here, at home, in our own communities. But I also see so many ways that we can take action in loving our neighbors in our own cities, towns, and neighborhoods.

If you missed it, I wrote a guest post over at Peace It All Together a couple weeks ago about being intentional. If you missed it you can read it here: Be Intentional. This post may help explain why serving in my own community is so important to me, and why helping those in need in my own neighborhoods is not on option. Because I have lived much of my life in a place where I often depended on my neighbors for the basics, I know what it is like to go without, and I know what a blessing it is when others go out of their way to give.

Personally, I have a great passion for my own community, and a great desire to be the hands and feet of Christ here, where God has me. I hope that you feel the same, and if not, that you would pray for this desire to love your actual neighbors.

As I share ways to get involved in your communities, please keep in mind that this is just a list to spark ideas and hopefully motivate some action. There are many more ways to serve and many more organizations to get involved with. Issues range from place to place. Most of these ways to serve target issues that plague my own community, such as gangs, poverty, teen pregnancy, and homelessness. If you have ideas or organizations you would like to share, please feel free to do so!

Where to Serve:
*Check out your local Rescue Mission and ask when they have the highest need for volunteers. Invest time, not just on the holidays.
*See if Youth for Christ has an office in your area. YFC is best known for their on-campus ministry, but they have many programs you may not know about, including urban outreach, juvenile hall ministry, and discipleship and training groups for teen moms.
*Get your hands dirty with Habitat for Humanity.
*Get involved with a local school as a classroom aid or an after school tutor. Many places also have ministries that partner churches and schools, such as Every Neighborhood Partnership.
*Become a mentor!
*Make regular visits to a local nursing or convalescent home. When visiting my own grandparents in these places, I have come to realize that there are many people here who are overlooked, forgotten, and would love nothing more than conversation and a listening ear. And honestly, there is no better place in the world to absorb some wisdom!

Being Intentional in Every Day Living:
*Do prayer walks around your own neighborhood or around an area or school that God has placed on your heart to serve. This often times provides opportunity for conversation and building relationships.
*Prepare "goodie bags" to have on hand for when you meet a homeless person. They can include items like a toothbrush and toothpaste, soap, razors, deoderant, as well as some personal touches such as a card with a verse, a gift card for a fast food restaurant, and a Bible or other reading materials. Throughout the year I keep yarn in my car, and in moments of down time I will crochet scarves to include in the goodie bags for this time of year.
*Create meal and child care sign-ups for families in your community in times that they may need some extra support, such as illness or surgery, a new birth,  adoption, or a loss of a job.
*Keep important numbers in your phone, such as the local rescue mission (incase you are in a situation where you are unsure how to act, such as the day I met Greg), the local police department, and the National Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888).
*Focus on building real relationships and growing respect and love for eachother, creating a give and take that benefits everyone.

As I end, I would like to say that many of the ways we are able to love our neighbors do not feel comfortable, and often times do not feel safe. But that's okay, because Christ never commanded us to be either of those things.

To read the rest of this series, click here.

1 comment:

Sybil said...

What I have discovered in the past few months, is that I have been able to reach people in new ways. It has been amazing, but it has also been difficult! I have found that the more I do, the more I pray for and encourage others, the more burdened I feel. It's almost as if I am taking on all their emotions, their hurts, on top of mine.

I know that emotion is powerful. And, love is the greatest of all emotions because it can lead to the greatest of actions.