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It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

09.01.16 | From Pastor's Desk | by Tom Hausch

    Many of you remember Mr. Rogers and his children’s program. If you don’t, it might be a great idea to google “Mr. Rogers” and see how well he related to little children. I bring up the point because we were the sixth family that moved into our subdivision 22 years ago. I welcomed everyone. Joe and I were all four officers when the subdivision began. There are 64 homes in our subdivision and people have come and gone over the last 22 years and Joe and I and our wives are still the only original pioneers that are still here. At the beginning I so excited when someone would check out the lots. I would tell them of the great plans that we had for our little development. We planned a two acre park with a swimming pool and BBQ for all to use. We added pressurized irrigation water for our lawns and gardens. It was almost like my “ministry” to the neighborhood. I knew everyone by name. I knew their kids. I knew their church background and had a sense of how they responded to my sharing my faith with them. That has all changed to a great degree. I said earlier that Joe and I are the only originals. People have come and gone. Some of the homes have had 5 or 6 owners and I don’t know many of the 64 neighbors that now live here. I guess that’s okay because at the same time (22 years ago) I was kind of alone as a pastor. I really didn’t have a church. Now church responsibilities have far out weighted my commitment to my neighborhood. But it does frustrate me. So….. what do I do about it? This is my partial solution and I am certainly open to your suggestions. I can’t connect with all the new people that move into our neighborhood. But I can connect with those who are closest to our home. A month ago we had new neighbors move in across the street. They are renting. We invited them over for the 4th of July. Their religious background is quite different than ours, but we have connected in the most positive way. Sharing in conversation, food, gifts, and so forth. Another new neighbor moved in yesterday. They bought a house behind our house. I’ve been watching for them. Their house closed several months ago and they weren’t able to move in until last night. I met Scott in the backyard and asked him if he would like some sweet corn. He said that would be great but we’ll have to eat it raw. We have nothing in the house except a foam mattress. Our belongings arrive in two days. I said I will take care of that and I went back to our house and put some pots and pans together and a bunch of vegetables from the garden and started to head over to Scott and Carol’s new home. Silas, our grandson, said: “Grandpa, where are you going?” I told him I was going to bring some stuff to the new neighbors. I said all their stuff was in a moving van. I said come with me and bring a jar of pickles and asparagus. He was reluctant at first and I explained how hard it would be to be in a new town, in an empty house with no one around you that you know. Silas was a real gentleman. He introduced himself to our new neighbors and said he was glad that they moved into Stan’s house. The reality is that meeting new people is hard for me at times. Some of you may find that hard to believe. It was never hard for my dad. There were no strangers in my dad’s life. He could always find some connection with a new acquaintance. It does take initiative. I continue to work at it. It doesn’t come as naturally to me as it comes to some people, but when I reach out and take the risk, I usually feel that it was a good thing to do. It was dark when Silas and I walked back across our yard. We couldn’t see very well and so he took my hand. He said: “Grandpa, that was neat!” And I said: “What?” He said: “meeting the new neighbors and giving them stuff.” I didn’t know what to say. Pastor Tom