the weblog of Alan Knox

No produce, just relationships

Posted by on Nov 3, 2008 in discipleship, love, missional, service | 3 comments

At the beginning of the summer, our family and some friends began to visit a local government assisted housing development. Cathy, a friend of ours who is part of the church with us, introduced us to many of her neighbors, and we met other neighbors while spending time in the neighborhood.

When we started visiting the people in this neighborhood, we would take them small bags of fresh produce or fresh baked bread. Why? For several reasons. 1) The produce and bread were small tokens to demonstrate our concern for them. 2) Often charitable groups bring in old produce, breads, cookies, and cakes that other people would not buy. We wanted to give them something that anyone would want… not leftovers. 3) We wanted to give vegetables, fruit, and wheat bread to encourage a healthy lifestyle. 4) We were hoping the produce and bread would give us opportunities to serve them in other ways, including opportunities to proclaim the gospel.

A few weeks ago, the lady that runs the produce stand (Vivian – which is another story altogether) told us that the stand was closing. That morning, as we told the people in the neighborhood that the produce stand was closing, they all said about the same thing: “You’re still going to visit us, aren’t you?” Our weekly visits had turned into more than an opportunity to hand out produce. We had begun to build relationships with the neighbors.

So, throughout the week, I often find myself thinking about and praying for Cathy, Dennis, Tina, Mrs. Jeans, Shonna and her children (Marvin, Laruen, and Mya), Mrs. Woodlief and her son Benny, and Mrs. Fort. We’ve met a few other people in the neighborhood, but these are the ones with whom we usually spend the most time. These are the people who have opened their homes and their lives and have invited us in. (By the way, if you’re interested, we’ve posted some pictures from our visit last Saturday on our family blog in a post called “Friends and Family on Saturdays“.)

If you think about, please pray for Dennis. His father passed away last Friday, and the funeral is Monday.

And, pray for Cathy. She’s struggling with health issues – emphysema and back pain.

Also, pray for Tina. Tina’s son died from an overdose a couple of weeks ago. Tina ended up being hospitalized herself because of emotional issues a few days later. Now, she is dealing with several other issues related to her ex-husband and former care giver.

Pray for Mrs. Jeans. She had skin cancer on her ear last summer. The doctor removed part of her ear, but now something else is wrong. She has also been struggling with health issues, including a couple of weeks with the flu. Plus, her nephew is having family issues also.

If you ask Mrs. Woodlief, she’ll tell you to pray for everything. But, we know that her foot often hurts her, and she has to walk with a cane then.

And, Mrs. Fort will always tell her to pray for her knee. When the weather changes – which has happened alot lately – her knee hurts as well. If you think about it, also pray for the grandchildren and great-grandchildren who live with Mrs. Fort.

We can no longer offer these precious people fresh vegetables and fruit. We still carry fresh bread occasionally. But, they’ve let us know that they don’t want the produce and bread as much as they need the relationships. For many of them, we’re their only support system. We don’t have much to offer financially, but we can and do offer the love of God as often as possible.

Do you think there may be someone out there waiting for you to demonstrate the love of God? Why not start getting involved in someone’s life today?


3 Comments

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  1. 11-3-2008

    It is good to hear how these people have opened up to you.
    And the produce stand, have they closed for good, or just for the season?

  2. 11-3-2008

    Renata,

    The produce stand is only closed for the season. Next Spring, we’ll pray about taking fresh produce again.

    -Alan

  3. 11-6-2008

    Brother Alan,

    I looked at your pictures and wept. This is what life is all about.

    His mercy be yours in abundance,
    From the Middle East