Story of Hope: Meeting the Neighbors

It’s during these uncertain times we often see the most beautiful and compassionate side of people.

Amidst a new way of going about our daily lives, in circumstances that can often bring fear and aggravation, we are encouraged by the stories of generosity and selflessness spreading throughout the people we are thankful to call our church family.

Also, in such circumstances we sometimes experience a side of ourselves we didn’t know we possessed. And it’s during these times, we may develop relationships we otherwise would not have before. So, it is with a family from our Woodside Romeo Campus who has practiced loving their community in new ways.

When this family heard about the door hangers Woodside had created as part of the #WoodsideCares initiative, which give your name and contact information as a way to offer help to your neighbors, they asked for as many hangers as possible. Upon receiving 200 door hangers, the family set out for their nightly walk through the village of Romeo.

“It was quiet and drizzly on the streets. We saw very few people. Some were on their porches, took the flyers, and were very appreciative. At a few houses, people came out as I walked away wondering why this strange guy had been on their porch. When I told them that there was a flyer on their door with a number they could call if they needed anything, they were surprised and grateful. It was heartwarming.”

When I told them that there was a flyer on their door with a number they could call if they needed anything, they were surprised and grateful.

It was only a couple days later they received the first phone call. A woman named Joyce, who lived nearby, shared she was in need of groceries.

“We picked up groceries for Joyce. She is a wonderful lady that we did not meet until today, even though she lives right across the street. She said she had thought she would have to buy a car now that the bus in Romeo has been temporarily shut down, if we had not put the hanger on her door. She was extremely grateful for the help. She has our number and we will continue to take care of her until this is over. She asked us too if we would check in on another woman in the condos, Dot, that has cancer. I called and spoke with Dot and now we are ‘on call’ for her as well.”

Isn’t it beautiful how this season has brought people together who may have never known each other otherwise? They’ve lived in the same neighborhood of Joyce and Dot, yet never had the privilege of knowing them until now.

Joyce was so touched by their kindness, she wrote a letter saying, “Your card to help on my porch was a REAL answer to prayer. Such a touching surprise. I wept! Thank you for your faithfulness to God. I thank God on every remembrance of you!”

Thank you for your faithfulness to God. I thank God on every remembrance of you!

This small act of service for a stranger was exactly what Joyce needed. She told this Woodside family she wishes to bless them as dearly as they have blessed her.

But this family, too, was humbled by the whole experience. They hadn’t known this kind of generosity within them before and were deeply encouraged by the response of their neighbors.

“Being part of the Woodside family has really changed us a lot. We began feeling the tug about four years ago and started trying to revitalize our previous church. That change in us was really kicked into high gear when we moved over to Woodside Romeo. Our new church home teaches the Gospel and walks the walk too. It is refreshing and it is invigorating. In the past, ‘meeting our neighbors’ would have been pretty scary and we probably would not have undertaken it. Now we know it is what we are CALLED to do. It feels wrong to sit on the sideline and wait for others to do it. We feel that this experience has blessed us more than the ladies that we are helping. The downside is that we feel convicted because we did not reach out earlier. We’re trying to do better, each day.”

In the past, ‘meeting our neighbors’ would have been pretty scary and we probably would not have undertaken it. Now we know that it is what we are CALLED to do.

We are truly blessed and amazed as we watch the family of God being the hands and feet of Jesus. To see neighbors reaching out to neighbors. To see these unknown times bringing people together and pushing us to reach out in ways we hadn’t before.

We hope this story is an inspiration to many and pray this spirit of kindness and community spreads farther and wider in the coming weeks.

Who are the Joyce and Dot in your life? Maybe you don’t even know them yet.