This story comes from 2009/2010 Alumni Jessica Ragland. This post was originally written in January 2010. Jessica served at Louisville Rescue Mission – a homeless rescue mission.
Throughout my life I have always had neighbors, but I never intentionally tried to get to know them. In the past I just lived for myself, not caring for those around me. I was completely focused on me. This pattern would have continued if I had not come to LTN.
I can now confidently proclaim, “I love getting to know my neighbors!”Nancy is our neighbor. She is an African American 46 year old woman. She is a school teacher, domestic violence survivor, single mother, and an amazing Christian woman. She inspires me in so many ways. She has not had an easy life. She was married but it ended in divorce because of abuse. She knows God will provide for her in the future. Her confidence is a tribute to her faith and an inspiration to me. It is largely thanks to her that I can now confidently proclaim, “I love getting to know my neighbors!”
A CHRISTMAS GIFT
My teammates and I surprised the neighbors on our street by making cookies. When we went to deliver the cookies, we found Nancy outside talking to with another neighbor of ours. Emily and I joined the conversation and before we knew it we were on our way to Kmart with Nancy. We went shopping and got a few things for the house while Nancy bought Christmas presents.
While we were shopping, Nancy bought us a Christmas present without telling us who it was for. Fortunately, we had the same plan for her: we discovered several elegant glass candle holders that Nancy loved. We went back and got them for her as a Christmas present. The warmth and excitement I felt when we gave her the gift still resonates – she loved them! She even stated that she is going to use them as a centerpiece.
Nine months ago I didn’t have a clue who Nancy was, but now we are exchanging Christmas gifts, hanging out and playing Wii.My teammate and I returned to her house a week later and the candleholders were her table centerpiece. She was so excited to show them to us. Nancy had also purchased herself a Wii – to workout on the Wii Fit – so she invited us to play. We stayed there for about an hour, laughing and enjoying each others company.
Nine months ago I didn’t have a clue who Nancy was, but now we are exchanging Christmas gifts, hanging out and playing Wii. If I would have moved into this neighborhood on my own, I would never have met Nancy, but because of the LTN program, where I am challenged to get to know my neighbors; I am able to exchange gifts and develop long lasting friendships.
I would not know Nancy if it weren’t for LTN challenging me to get to know my neighbors.
LTN is making it plain that accountability is key. I am praying that God brings long lasting transformation and accountability to my life after LTN. I need people who ask me how I am doing and who choose to stay involved and challenge me.