Kairos Stories

Kairos—καιρός  There are two words for time in Greek; chronos and kairos. The first identifies chronological time while the latter emphasizes an opportune moment in which to seize. God provides the moment and we are charged with responding to the opportunity.

The Kairos Adventure – God Showed Up! – Chapter 9

CHAPTER 9

GOD SHOWED UP!

“Nothing Happens Without Prayer”

Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Matthew 9:38

Through the years, I have learned how important these words of Jesus’s are…I have found that if I want to see God move in my neighborhood I have had to be faithful in praying for my neighbors regularly. Through this regularity of prayer, God has made Himself evident through my neighbors’ lives in surprising ways. I have found that prayer walking works best for me, because it helps me focus when I pray. Prayer walking has also allowed me to connect with people in my own neighborhood like nothing else has. When I am walking, I cross the path of neighbors who are walking their dogs, those who are taking their children on walks, and other adults on walks. It has opened the door to so many opportunities. It took me years to learn the significance of prayer for my neighbors. This became so obvious to me when I watched what God did in Domingo’s neighborhood many years ago. It all started when Nadine and others began to pray for his neighborhood. Let’s see what God did.

Domingo Cabral’s Neighborhood

Neighborhood Initiative began in 2008 when we adopted eight square blocks around our church’s facility. We called it Mission: Reseda, back then. Today it has moved from the safety net of church ministry to personally adopting neighborhoods where we live. Domingo Cabral lived in one of those eight blocks. There was a team of people praying specifically for his neighborhood.

On the very evening we first started Mission: Reseda, a representative from the Los Angeles Neighborhood Housing Services walked into our church and asked our senior pastor, Bill Dwyer, and me if we would be interested in participating with others in the community to paint five homes. The timing was remarkable, but the location of the five homes was even more so. These homes were right in the neighborhoods that we were adopting. Approximately one hundred people from our church and two hundred from other service-oriented groups participated on that sunny day and the Lord used that activity to open the hearts of neighbors in the community.

Domingo lived in one of those five homes. He came to the Lord while in prison and he was looking for a church that did what Jesus did. He was taken aback by those from our church who showed him this kind of love, but he kept his distance to see if we were genuine. We told him we would help him trim his trees in the backyard and when we followed through he began to realize that we were serious about being a presence in his community.

What also captured his attention was when he saw a young woman walking through his neighborhood with her children on several occasions. He wasn’t sure what she was up to. Nadine Erickson, a woman from our church, made a practice of praying through Domingo’s neighborhood. She would take her four children on stroller rides through the streets and pray for the neighbors. From those early days of prayer God has moved significantly in Domingo’s neighborhood.

Within his neighborhood, we have hung Christmas lights, gone Christmas caroling, held major block parties, and had many free car washes. At one car wash, more than 100 people participated. Two Mormon missionaries from Utah, who lived in the neighborhood, were very excited about the whole experience. One of them said to me, “This is the most exciting thing I’ve seen since I’ve been in L.A.”

Domingo has since become very involved with our church and very committed to serving those in his neighborhood. He has painted the side of one of his neighbor’s houses, helped build a driveway gate for another neighbor, helped put in a new sidewalk for another, and has done many other things for his neighbors, because of the love shown toward him. More importantly, he has developed meaningful relationships with many of his neighbors and has been there for them when they needed someone. Domingo and I have become best friends and I was privileged to help him with a Bible study for his neighbors at his local Starbucks.

One of the neighbors in that small Bible Study now attends our Sunday gatherings, because of his young daughter. We’ll call her Marissa. She was probably only four years old at the time. There was something very special about Marissa and her unique love for the Lord. I am sure she was attracted by the love displayed by Domingo and this small group from our church that came into her neighborhood. Marissa was so touched by this love that she wanted to be a part of our church family. There was only one way for her to join us on Sunday mornings and that was for dad to take her. He would tell me on different occasions, I am here because of Marissa. Fast forward ten years, dad is still attending our services and Marissa, now fourteen, has participated in Christmas plays, Vacation Bible School, and is very active with our youth group. Whenever I see her, I receive a big hug…no words are needed. I am deeply touched by her humble spirit.

Marissa’s story is one of many in Domingo’s neighborhood. It all started with a group praying and a mother walking her four young children in a stroller and praying for those in Domingo’s neighborhood and then God showed up. Nadine knew that nothing happens without prayer…asking the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest field.

A time for reflection:

Do you think Nadine would have imagined all that would have taken place in Domingo’s neighborhood by simply taking her children on stroller rides and praying for those in his neighborhood? Her prayers, along with others, served to awaken believers to join together to participate in a remarkable work of God in Domingo’s neighborhood. I will never forget around 100 people, young and old, caroling in his neighborhood. I remember saying to my wife Jo, “That was one of the highlights of my Christian experience.” So many people were touched in his neighborhood that evening. It all started with prayer. Have you considered walking and praying for your neighbors as Nadine did and seeing what the Lord will do? I would encourage you to make it a part of your rhythm of life and watch and see how the Lord shows up in supernatural ways…this is The Kairos Adventure.

 

 

 

The Kairos Adventure – The Power of Love – Chapter 8

CHAPTER 8

THE POWER OF LOVE

“Thanks for loving me.”

Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?… If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right.  James 2:5, 8

Loving our neighbor is one the most powerful weapons we have in our arsenal. Neighbors may be critical about us because we are Christians; however, once they experience the flow of God’s love through us they often find it difficult to maintain this perspective. Jesus tells us, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) The word Jesus uses here for “good” is kalos, which means beautiful…beautiful because the deeds glorify our heavenly Father. When we allow the light of God’s love to be expressed toward our neighbors, they often find it attractive and are irresistibly drawn to it. This is even in the case of desperate neighborhoods like Joe and Heidi’s. Observe how the love of God expressed through Joe’s life impacts a young man named Danny.

Joe and Heidi White’s Neighborhood (Jackson Neighborhood)

When I saw Danny for the first time, I knew that he would cause us trouble. Danny was not just a typical teenager in our neighborhood, he was a known gang member. He wore the color red to indicate his gang and he wore a scowl on his face. He wouldn’t look you in the eyes when you said hello and he would never dare to smile or even acknowledge you if you said hi. It was clear that he had a hard life, but it was also clear that he had a hard heart.

Occasionally, my wife and I would see Danny walking through the neighborhood and we would always make it a point to roll down our windows and yell, “Heeeeey Daaaaaaany” and wave as we drove by. For months, he didn’t even acknowledge us. The only reason we knew his name was because one evening he walked by our home and we asked him. He was apprehensive to tell us, undoubtedly uncertain as to why we’d even care to know.

What would it take to love Danny and others like him? Our neighborhood is filled with “Dannys.” They hate school, have dysfunctional homes, are gang affiliated and many have criminal records. The Dannys in our neighborhood end up in one of 3 places: dead, jail, or live in perpetual poverty. They have extreme barriers to employment.

According to the latest Barna Research (a visionary research and resource company), Fresno has the highest church attendance rate on the West Coast but it also has the second highest rate of concentrated poverty in the nation (Brookings Institute). What does this mean? It means, at minimum, that church attendance isn’t transforming our cities.  Most desperate neighborhoods and kids like Danny are becoming the latest statistics for crime rates and school dropout statistics.

What does it mean that Jesus would ask His church to love their neighbor, Danny? As a church in the Jackson Neighborhood, we obsessed about this question. He wouldn’t come to church with us and we couldn’t force him to learn something at a school he hated. It was under these desperate conditions and with an obsession to love our neighbor Danny, an idea was born.

Behind our 100-year-old home was an abandoned workshop that at one time was used as a mechanics garage for the Jackson Neighborhood. It had been in a state of disrepair for the past 100 years. We wondered if we could turn that workshop into an artisan space where kids in our neighborhood could learn job transferable skills like welding and woodworking. Would kids like Danny with extreme barriers to employment thrive in an environment outside of the classroom in a scenario where learning was possible under the mentorship of skilled artisans?

For the next year, in an attempt to love our neighbor Danny, we renovated this shop into a beautiful space filled with high end woodworking equipment. We created a business called Neighbored Jobs which would train and employ Danny to make Little Libraries. Little libraries are little houses that people mount on a post and often are painted to match their home. They are filled with books that neighbors can take, donate, and return. They are a “little library” for your neighborhood.

We invited Danny to come over one day to show him the workshop. He was amazed at all the cool woodworking equipment. We asked, “Danny, would you like to make money? We want to start a business that you would run. We will teach you how to make little libraries and we will find effective ways to sell them. When we sell them, all the profit will go to you.” To our surprise he said, “Yes!” Over the next year we taught Danny to make the little libraries and we sold them. By hiring Danny to build Free Little Libraries, people were providing an opportunity for him to prove his potential.

Danny used high quality cedar, birch, and poplar and all of his libraries were waterproof and durable. People bought them like crazy and as sales increased so did his confidence. He began to smile and say hello. He began to exchange his gang colors for shirts which had the company logo. As his skills increased, so did his joy — he wasn’t just a school drop-out, he was a craftsman and a business owner. In the following year, he began to attend church with us in the neighborhood — each week he gathered with neighbors and participated in the community of neighbors. Recently I asked him, “Danny, you’ve come a long way in these last few years. Do you see how much has changed in your life since we first met?” Danny isn’t a “talker”, he’s still quiet and reserved but what he said spoke volumes. He said, “Yeah.” And after a long pause said, “I’m gonna do something great with my life. Thanks for loving me.” Jesus, the Master Carpenter is welcoming his apprentice Danny into a new future filled with hope and opportunity. Everything is possible when we love our neighbors.

A time for reflection:

As you reflect on Danny’s story, think of Joe’s level of commitment to love him as himself. Who sacrifices like this for another today? It is otherworldly. Back in the early 70s there was a little book by Francis Schaeffer entitled, The Mark of a Christian that had great influence in the body of Christ. The mark he referred to is love…the love of God flowing through us to another human being. This is the kind of love that Joe demonstrated in Danny’s life. The fact that Danny said, “Thanks for loving me” reveals that God’s love touched his life in a profound way. Is the Lord calling you to love someone, particularly in your neighborhood? Who might that be? Are you ready to uncap the Lord’s love and let it flow through you to this person? Where should you start? Ask the Lord to give you direction and then follow His lead.

(Joe and his wife Heidi are the founders and lead pastors of Neighborhood Church. Joe is the preaching pastor and directional leader for Neighborhood and has a heart for church planting, leadership development, and urban ministry.  He grew up in Fresno’s highest-crime lowest income neighborhood as the son of urban missionaries and has been nurtured and trained in CCD principles (http://www.ccda.org) his entire life. He has a BA in Biblical Studies, a Diploma in Urban Ministry, a Diploma in Christian Studies, and a Master of Divinity. Like all the Neighborhood Church Staff, he lives in the Jackson Neighborhood with his wife and 4 kids. They absolutely adore their neighbors and neighborhood. You can connect with them at: www.joeandheidiwhite.blogspot.comwww.neighborhoodchurchfresno.com.  (You can order a little library at www.neighborhoodjobs.info.)

The Kairos Adventure – Things Aren’t Always What They Seem – Chapter 7

CHAPTER 7

THINGS AREN’T ALWAYS WHAT THEY SEEM

“Open the eyes to your heart.”

“Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields!

They are ripe for harvest.”  John 4:35

 

Jesus, in this verse, is trying to convey to His disciples that they don’t see what He is seeing before them. They were looking in one dimension and he was seeing something in a completely different dimension. Their eyes were trained on natural things…the fields that were four months until the time of harvest, but Jesus saw the spiritual dimension of those who were approaching Him who were ripe for harvesting. We may be humored at times by the disciples’ inability to see what Jesus saw. But we, more than we would like to admit, see things incorrectly as well. We make judgements about neighbors or people in the market when we don’t have the full picture. We just don’t have a clue. It is so humbling to find that what we thought about someone is not true at all. I am sure we all can identify with Chris’s Story.

Chris Anthony Lansdowne’s Neighborhood

 I was standing in a long line at a children’s toy store, because I needed to buy a gift for my neighbor’s son’s birthday party. I couldn’t help but feel annoyed with how long the line was, and how slow it was moving. The longer it took, the more frustrated I became. I’m not proud of my attitude, but I wasn’t in a real happy mood, waiting in a long line at a toy store.

Finally, I got close to the front of the line, and just happened to notice the guy working at the cash register, he was keeping his head down, and not acknowledging the customers as they laid their purchase in front of him. Head down, he swiped the toys, put them in the bags, and never said a word.

No eye contact, No, how are you? No, have a nice day, No, sorry for the long line, he was just pretty much going through the motions.

I thought to myself, wow, this is terrible customer service, someone should really say something to him, that’s not how you treat your customers. I’m a very complimentary person when it comes to someone doing a good job, in fact, I’ll even call over the manager to sing their praises, but this was less then praiseworthy.

I thought I might even be helping him, by mentioning to him how he should make more of an effort to be pleasant and make eye contact with his customers.

So, when it came my turn at the cash register, I leaned in a little close, so not to embarrass him, and whispered, “Having a bad day??” hoping that would somehow jolt him into being aware of his noticeable mood.

As if in slow motion, he picked up his head and said, “Yes, I am, my mom is very sick, and is in the hospital, and she might die.”

It was as if a huge foot came crashing into my stomach, I felt weak in the knees and a horrible guilt immediately set in. “I am soooo sorry to hear that.” My heart was so affected by what he said, I just froze. Shame on me, for not once thinking that perhaps this poor kid might be suffering in some way. He was hurting and just trying to cope.

I walked around to him at the cash register, and with open arms, I hugged him, and he hugged me back with a brokenness and a surrender I’ve never felt before. I said, “I’m so sorry. I will pray for you and your mamma.”

How could I so easily forget that there is a hurting world out there? I need to see past what my eyes see, and look with my heart. So many people need to be asked, “How are you?” No, I don’t mean the “How are you,” that is just being polite, but the kind of question that wants to really hear how they are? Connecting with them, caring, and saying your life matters.

A time for reflection:

Loving one’s neighbor is not just for the neighbor next door, but those who cross our path throughout the day. Like Chris, we all have experienced what she experienced while waiting in line at a market or store. Can you remember going through a situation like Chris? How did you handle it? How does Chris’s story help you to reconsider making personal judgements about neighbors or those at the market?

(Chris Anthony Lansdowne is an American voice actress best known as host of Focus on the Family’s Adventures in Odyssey. As host of AIO for more than three decades, she is heard weekly on more than 2,000 radio stations worldwide. She was also the first ever voice of Barbie and friend to millions upon millions of little kids everywhere.)

 

 

The Kairos Adventure-Listening for the Lord’s Voice-Chapter 6

CHAPTER 6

 LISTENING FOR THE LORD’S VOICE

“He could use a cup of coffee.”

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27

Some time ago, I was rooming at a conference with a pastor friend from Oxford, England. He had two degrees from Oxford. One, believe it or not, was Shepherding. The last day we were together, I asked, “Could you tell me something about shepherd and sheep? I want to have something to remember about our time together.” He paused and then said, “It’s true that sheep do listen to the shepherd’s voice.” He went on to tell me that when other family members would approach the sheep, they would not respond like they would to him. He said if the sheep would even see his silhouette against an early morning sunrise they would come running. Hearing and obeying our Shepherd’s voice is so important in loving our neighbor, as you will learn from Debi’s story.

DEBI SMITH’S NEIGHBORHOOD

I was upstairs in my two-story townhouse doing some ironing. I thought to myself, “I need to get a lamp for this corner of the room. It’s too dark.”

A couple of days later I was getting ready to go for a run. It was winter time and it had been raining a lot lately, so I peeked outside to the parking lot area to see if the ground was wet so I could dress appropriately. Instead, what I observed was a man going through our community dumpster. I was immediately upset that this was going on just outside my back patio. I marched myself downstairs to get the phone number for the local police block watch. There was a substation right on my property where the police used to do their paperwork.

After finding the phone number and reaching for my phone, I clearly heard God say “It looks to me like he could use a hot cup of coffee.” I said “WHAAATTTT?  You’ve got to be kidding!”  Then God said “And take him a couple of those homemade cookies you’ve got over there on the counter.”  Well, I didn’t like the idea one bit, but there was no denying the voice of God. As I pulled out my coffee maker, ground some fresh beans and began the brewing process I kept looking out my patio door hoping that he would be gone before the coffee was ready. No such luck! So here I go…out through my patio gate with a mug of coffee in one hand and a plate of cookies in the other.

He was kneeling down sorting through his pile of treasures as I approached. I briefly noticed that he had quite an accumulation of items both big and small and I had a fleeting thought of “how does he transport all that stuff?” As I got closer he looked up and saw me coming. His head dropped in shame as he knew that he was about to get kicked off the property. I walked up to him and said “Good Morning. God told me that you could use a cup of coffee…and some cookies.”  Again, his head dropped and slowly shook back and forth in disbelief. He slowly stood up and I found myself looking into the beautiful clear blue eyes of a young man. He thanked me, while slowly removing his gloves, and took the coffee and cookies. He told me about all the valuable things he finds that people throw away. He pointed to his pile of treasures and again I wondered how he transported them. We talked for a while and then I said “I’m going for a run. That’s my townhouse over there. When you’re done you can put the mug and the plate on my wall and I’ll get it when I return.” He thanked me again and said, “It was nice talking to you. You’d be surprised how often people don’t listen. God bless you.”  I said “Oh, he does, thank you.”

When I returned from my run, setting up on my wall was the mug, the plate and a beautiful, well-polished imitation Tiffany Lamp. That lamp now lights up my dark corner.

Looking back and thinking about his parting words “you’d be surprised how often people don’t listen,” I realize now that he wasn’t talking about listening to him. He was talking about listening to HIM: the voice of God.

Thank you, Father, that on that particular day I heard your voice and was obedient, because I got to have an encounter with one of your Angels.

A time for reflection:

The writer of Hebrew states, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews13:2) At the time, Debi didn’t realize who she was entertaining, but it became quite evident that this young man was sent by God to speak to her. God speaks in a variety of ways to us and when he does, it is best to obey His voice as Debi did. With a neighbor, has the Lord ever made some unusual request like this of you? How did you respond to Him? Did you follow through with His request? If you did, how did it impact you and your neighbor?

(After 30 years as a flight attendant Debi retired and moved from Phoenix, Arizona to Chico, California to become a full-time Volunteer with Youth With A Mission (YWAM). She found her love for mission’s work while vacationing in Mexico.  God had presented an opportunity for her to serve in the poorest communities, and while doing that she realized that she’d found her calling.  In her retirement years, her traveling continues, but as a YWAMer she is “serving” in a totally different way.)

 

 

The Kairos Adventure-Bringing in God’s Kingdom-Chapter 5

CHAPTER 5

BRINGING IN GOD’S KINGDOM

“That’s just what we do in this neighborhood…”

He (Jesus) told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed,which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches. He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds[b] of flour until it worked all through the dough.” Matthew 13:32, 33

We are so different from Jesus in the way we would like to see His kingdom grow. We think something big is needed, but Jesus says it starts small like a tiny mustard seed or a little bit of yeast in flour, and little by little it persistently grows and will take over and change the character of those in a neighborhood. I once I had a lady ask me at a seminar in Denver, “How can loving my neighbors have any impact on the city of Denver?” I responded to her question by referring to the parable of the mustard seed and the yeast and the flour; that if she loved her neighbors, eventually the seed of her love would impact all of Denver. Now, that may sound like an overstatement, but Jesus knew that love of this nature is contagious. In time, others will begin to jump onboard, and before long you have a movement that has spread throughout a neighborhood and beyond. Let’s observe how the seeds of love began to take over Charlene and Gary’s neighborhood and in other neighborhoods as well.

Charlene and Gary Miller’s Neighborhood

As Director of Neighborhood Watch for 15 years with the Boise City Police Department in Boise, Idaho, I, Charlene, was tasked with promoting safe neighborhoods. In the beginning, I taught residents that neighbors working together can reduce and prevent certain types of crime. In response to criminal activity, someone would want to start a Neighborhood Watch group, contacting me to help them initiate a group because they had been victimized. I would meet with and speak to residents about crime prevention, offering measures they could implement, encouraging them to watch out for each other and their property. Crime would be reduced due to their diligence.

I soon realized that after crime is reduced, which is the case when residents are watchful and take proper precautions, that the diligence of some over time in the Neighborhood Watch program would decrease. That is, the passion and fervency which motivated them to act in the first place dwindled in time as effectiveness increased.

Of the 300+ groups I helped coordinate, approximately 150 continued to thrive. I was interested in finding out what they did differently than those groups who started out strong and then lost interest. I interviewed many of the leaders and discovered it was the relationships they built with neighbors that were key to keeping neighborhoods safe, connected and vibrant. They had block parties, talked to each other frequently, shared their garden produce, helped each other when someone was sick, and watched over a house while the owner was away on vacation. It was much more than passing on useful information. They came together in their neighborhood and took ownership of it because of the relationships they had cultivated.

My focus in the Neighborhood Watch program changed. I still wanted to assist them in reducing and preventing crime, and to use the practical measures I taught for that purpose. Yet to have a thriving neighborhood we encouraged the relationship aspect between neighbors even more than before. It was in these active groups where strong relationships were built between neighbors that crime rarely occurred.

Some of the group leaders were Christians. They shared with me that they would regularly walk through their neighborhoods, silently praying for the residents in each house. They were convinced it made a difference.

My husband, Gary, and I live in a cul-de-sac of 5 houses. Three, including us, have lived next to each other for more than 24 years. Not all go to church, are of the same political persuasions, beliefs, or are even Christians. Our involvement in each other’s lives has grown over time. We have seen babies born, the arrival of grandkids, experienced difficulties, sickness, retirement, and death. We have shared vegetables from our gardens, watched each other’s houses when on vacation, fed each other’s animals, shoveled snow, exchanged food and Christmas goodies, held a women’s brunch and neighborhood BBQ, visited a neighbor in the hospital, and prayed for and with neighbors.

Recently a new neighbor, an older widow, was out on her front porch with her dog. We walked over to say ‘hi’ and neighbors from other houses came over to join us.  We all talked with each other for a while. This is not uncommon. We are also friends with some residents beyond the cul-de-sac, and are on a first name basis.

Our new elderly neighbor recently asked our next door neighbor (who is not a Christian) why she fed our cat and watched our house while we were away for two weeks, wondering if we weren’t somehow taking advantage of her. Our neighbor answered, “that’s just what we do in this neighborhood. We take care of each other.”  Gary has gone over to her house more than once in the middle of the night to help pick her disabled husband up off the floor. This new neighbor has since brought brownies to us and others in the cul-de-sac, saying she was glad she moved here.

It hasn’t always been this way. Neighbors have come and gone. One reclusive neighbor was uncomfortable with our attempts at friendliness, interpreting it as some sort of tit-for-tat manipulation. For example, if we did something for this neighbor they felt they would be obliged to do something for us.

A few years ago we read Lynn Cory’s book, “Neighborhood Initiative and the Love of God”. It rang true for us, especially since we had seen similar principles at work during our law enforcement careers. We were already friends with some of our neighbors, but now we began to pray anew and ask God how we could better love our neighbors. We have seen this neighborly approach slowly grow and produce more fruit, like the mustard plant Jesus spoke of in Matthew 13. We have made the choice, with God’s help, to love our neighbors into His kingdom, leaving their hearts in His hands, expecting Jesus to work. He gives us “kairos” moments as we simply make ourselves available for His purposes. God is continuing to answer our prayer, and we are sure there’s more to come.

A time for reflection:

Charlene points out in her story that caring relationships, particularly on the part of Christians, in a neighborhood, reduces crime and provides a safe place for people to live. From Charlene’s story there are a couple of things we can learn. Building a caring community doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to build this kind of relationship among neighbors. It also necessitates being available to your neighbors when there is a need. Once, an elderly woman, who was a part of a small group in our home, said to me, “I know what you are up to, you are up to 24/7.” She went on to explain, “We can go on a short term mission trip to Mexico, but when the trip is over with we can come back to our normal lives, but loving our our neighbors requires 24/7.” She was right, but this is not what I am up to, this is what the Great Commandment, loving God and loving our neighbors, is all about. This is how Jesus lived His life when He lived among us. If your neighborhood lacks community, what would it take to begin to foster relationships among your neighbors?

(Charlene and Gary Miller both recently retired from law enforcement careers.Gary was a Deputy Sheriff, working as a patrol officer and a training officer for Ada County, Idaho. Charlene was a member of the Crime Prevention Unit with the Boise City Police, responsible for Neighborhood Watch programs, teaching personal safety and crime prevention on local, state, and national levels.  Their professional lives carried over to their church experience. They have been mentors, volunteer pastors of an adult singles group, counseled married couples in crisis, and led bible studies. Gary is currently part of the men’s ministry team at their church and Charlene volunteers weekly at the local Union Rescue Mission for women, City Lights.  Married for 40 years, they have 3 children and 7 grandchildren. They have known Lynn and Jo Cory since the 1970s.)