“Good fences make good neighbors.” This seems to be the theme of the people we encounter every day, including those in our apartment building. I was reminded of this as, once again, we delivered homemade Christmas cookies to each of our neighbors. Last year, we received strange looks and awkward “thank you’s” when we handed them their plates. For some neighbors, this was the only contact we’d had with them since then. It was discouraging to think of the unsaved condition of the people with whom we share walls. I prayed for them, and asked God to give us opportunities to have relationships with them and tell them about Him.
That same week, I answered a knock at our door. It was our closest neighbor family, with whom we have the best relationship. By this, I mean we know each others’ names, chat when we see each other in the hallway, exchange goodies at holidays, and have been in each other’s homes. The family is not saved and has shown no interest in the gospel. We long for the day we can sit down and explain the Bible to them. But, for now, it’s an issue of trust. Why should they trust us or trust in our Savior? We reach out to them, working to build that relationship. When I opened the door, they were heading out to visit family for Christmas. “Can you watch our turtle until we get back?” Two minutes later, they were gone, their turtle was in my kitchen, and I had a huge smile on my face. “They trust us to watch their pet! That’s progress!”
During the week of Christmas, we received text messages from Portuguese deaf people, a visit from former classmates, and one of our teachers brought over a gift for Laura. We spent Christmas Eve with people from our Bible study, all of whom were strangers to us last year. These were reminders that God is working, and we are developing relationships. I have the turtle to prove it.