“Would You Be Mine, Could You Be Mine? Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 
Matthew 22:37-39

It actually started out as a joke when the house across the street went up for sale a few weeks ago.

Knowing that our son and daughter-in-law were starting the process of locating a home in this area, my husband sent a text message to our family group chat that stated, "Strobels just put their house up for sale. Josh and Courtney, you guys should buy it, and we can make our own TV Show! Instead of "Everyone Loves Raymond", we could call it "Everyone Loves Josh!" Immediately my son replied, "Hahahaha… No thanks!"

The following weekend, as Josh and Courtney set up appointments with their realtor to view numerous homes that they had already previewed online, they told their realtor, "Just for fun, can you also set up an appointment for the house across the street from our parents?" Their realtor designed an itinerary filled with numerous options and about halfway through the day, I received a text that said, "Oh my gosh, we actually really like a house, but we're just a little worried about the neighbors" followed by a picture of my house! Not knowing if they were serious or joking that they were actually considering this house, I sent back, "No need to be concerned. I've heard they are lovely people and babysit for free.”

And as only God could orchestrate, Josh and Courtney will close on this house tomorrow and eventually move into our neighborhood! Never in all of my wildest dreams did I ever envision that my grandchildren would live across the street from me; I am so incredibly grateful to God for this tremendous blessing. And, when God commands us to "love thy neighbor", loving these neighbors will be very easy!

However, the command to "Love your neighbor" does not stop at those living in close proximity of our residence or those who are easy to love. Loving your neighbor includes all people, especially those who are in need.

Last week, St. Matthew was so blessed to participate in the "Matthew 25 Challenge", a program designed to bring awareness regarding those living in poverty. Through this Challenge, participants were able to experience just a very small glimpse of what it is like to miss a meal, drink only water, wear the same clothes two days in a row, or sleep on the floor. All of the experiences led to a very exciting event that occurred last Sunday entitled “CHOSEN SUNDAY”,
where St. Matthew Lutheran Church and School families had the opportunity to sign up to sponsor a child in need through World Vision. As a result, it thrills me to announce that 112 children in Zambia will now have sponsors from the St. Matthew community, and one of these precious children will be sponsored by St. Matthew Lutheran School!

This Sunday is known as "Reveal Sunday"; each St. Matthew sponsor will receive a photo of their child holding their new sponsor's photo. Next Wednesday, during our Chapel service, we will have our big "reveal" and share who the Lord selected to be our sponsored child. We are so extremely excited to learn who this child is and the opportunities that await each of us to share God's love with this new member of our St. Matthew family.

Looking forward to this "beautiful day in our St. Matthew neighborhood"!

In His Love,
Mrs. Palka

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