John and Jennifer are your typical neighbors. They are busy raising their kids, they work full-time (Jennifer works in the home), they attend church, and they enjoy hanging out with their family and friends when they have some free time. Perhaps, what is un-typical of the couple is their passion to connect with their neighbors and with their community. They make it a habit to do acts of kindness in their neighborhood.
“It’s important to be intentional about building relationships. We can easily get into this rhythm of just focusing on the busyness of our own lives. We’ve got to make it a point to try and hear the stories of the people around us,” says Jennifer.
Both John and Jennifer make it a point to reach out to their neighbors in unique ways. “I decided to wash my neighbor’s car because, well, why not? I was washing my car and it was just a simple thing to do to wash my neighbor’s car too,” John expresses. “I saw that my neighbor was busy and it’s in the simple things that make people feel like they are not alone,” explains John. In this simple act of washing his neighbor’s car, was an open door for the couple to establish a relationship.
John and Jennifer believe that there are connections to be made around them. “If we really care about the people around us, we can do simple things to encourage flourishing in their lives. Neighbors need to know that others care about them. Building connections with people is a good way to find out about their story,” expresses John.
The couple has been able to learn about a lot of stories, both good and bad. “We had a neighbor who was a single mom and we knew she was really struggling. I began to develop a friendship with her over time. I was able to find out about her story and how difficult it has for her to raise three kids on her own. John and I would make it a point to go to the kids basketball games from time-to-time and we’d offer to watch the kids for the weekend,” says Jennifer. It was these simple acts that made a big difference in the single mom’s life.
“There are some neighbors who don’t seem interested in building relationships for whatever reason. We’ve invited some to hang out, go to block parties. etc. They haven’t said yes yet, but we’ll keep trying,” says John. Both John and Jennifer are willing to take the risk of loving people even if they face rejection. They feel so blessed and they can’t help but want to be a blessing to others around them.
“I saw a blind mom walking her kid to school every day as I was dropping off my kids. So, one day, I pulled over my van and and offered to give them a ride. The mom was very excited to connect. Today, we are really good friends and our daughters are best friends,” passionately explains Jennifer. You just never know how you can change someone’s else’s life by just simply reaching out.
“Not everyone desires friendship and community,” says John “but everyone has a story. Some are simple stories and some are complicated stories. The point is that you try to reach out and be available to hear their story.” John and Jennifer will remain to be a pillar of friendship and kindness in their community by continuing to think of simple acts of kindness. The couple has been blessed by the many friendships they have made.
Today we challenge you to think of one simple act of kindness to do for one of your neighbors. This simple act can open up a door of friendship that can be life changing, for both you and your neighbor. Go be a good neighbor! Also, if you’ like to nominate a good neighbor, you can submit their name here.