Travis and Sheena Walker have been taking little steps for a long time to build relationships with their neighbors. Since last summer, they have seen their efforts result in a friendlier, more tight-knit street around them.
“My husband and I hosted a Backyard Bible Club for the first time last summer,” Sheena said. “I had been praying for a few months about what God wanted us to do next.” The Walkers felt God calling them to use Halloween to get all of their neighbors together for a potluck.
“I made invitations and delivered them to neighbors on our street,” Sheena said. “It was a wonderful time of fellowship, and what better way to get to know your neighbors than on the one day of the year where people are guaranteed to be outside walking around!” Their neighbors loved the time together so much that they requested it become a yearly event. “It was neat to see how everyone was so appreciative of the efforts that were being made to get together,” she said.
The Walkers’ actions resulted in newfound friendships, especially for Sheena. “I’ve definitely been seeing God working in the relationships with our neighbors. I meet three of the women in in our neighborhood once a month,” she said. “They are all from different religious backgrounds and we’ve had good conversations about church and religion.”
“When you pray about how God wants to use you in your neighborhood, be prepared because He will have an answer.”
The neighborhood itself has transformed into a warmer community, with even little changes making a big difference. “I feel like more people are making an effort to be in their front yards versus staying in the backyard… I’ve also been more intentional about meeting new people who move into the neighborhood,” Sheena said. Even if she needs an extra ingredient when cooking, Sheena now simply texts the neighbors instead of making a trip to the store.
Looking forward, Travis and Sheena are excited to engage their neighbors in the citywide phase of Love Where You Live. “I think the events that we’ve already had definitely make it easier to invite people to a discussion,” Sheena said.
“When you pray about how God wants to use you in your neighborhood, be prepared because He will have an answer,” she said. “It’s likely the answer will be something that you aren’t comfortable with, but I highly suggest saying yes, because He always knows what is best for us and has a perfect plan for our neighborhood.”