Our Church Family Neighbors
The house echoed when Van and I talked. Furniture wrapped in blankets was the only thing left inside. Boxes filled the garage, all labeled with where they belonged once they arrived at our new home, 350 miles away. Everything we owned needed to go on the moving van in our driveway. A few minutes before 8:00 a.m., the first truck rolled up. Neighbors, our church family, coming to encourage, help, and show God’s love to us by loading our belongings and sending us on to our new adventure.
Men grabbed donuts and coffee and stood talking, catching up, laughing. These men belonged to Hillside Handymen Ministry, which Van helped with for several years. As always, before they did anything, they joined hands, bowed their heads, and prayed. Thanking God for Van and me, asking for God’s presence as they worked together, and for safety and smooth transitions as we relocated.
And then they began. Van’s brother, John, took charge of organizing the truck. And everyone else carried boxes, chairs, desks, file cabinets. A line of ants swarming, working together, and always talking and encouraging one another.
It didn’t take long-45 minutes- until every box and piece of furniture sat on the truck. The house and garage completely empty. Almost reluctantly, knowing our time with these precious friends, our neighbors, was done, we closed the truck.
Lessons Learned from Our Church Neighbors
Over the years, I’ve seen these men in action. The difference they make in people’s lives. The Hillside Handymen truly reflect what Jesus said about being a good neighbor (Luke 10:25-37).
- They show compassion whenever they see a need. Every quarter, they set aside one Saturday and go into the community to help single moms, widows, the elderly. Anyone who can’t afford or doesn’t have the ability to do home repairs on their own can ask for Hillside Handymen to help them. Each job is done with love and care. You couldn’t pay someone to do a better job than these men do. Individually, each man helps others whenever they can. Whether it’s lifting a box, repairing a sprinkler, replacing a garbage disposal, if a neighbor looks like they need help, these men step up and help others.
- They encourage one another and build each other up through prayer, fellowship, and discipleship. Every work day starts with prayer for those they will serve and for each other. Before they go out into the community, there is a devotional focusing on God’s Word. Between work days, a prayer team prays for each man individually and the community. Many of the guys get together for breakfast or lunch during the week. They phone and text one another and encourage each other in a variety of ways when they aren’t working.
- They have fun while they work. Laughter punctuated the morning. Whenever there was a lull in the work time, the guys talked about jobs, vacations, wives, children, and grandchildren. They teased each other.
Hillside Handymen hold a special place in our hearts. We will look back on the many times they touched our lives with joy and thanksgiving. And we pray we will be good neighbors to our new community, using the lessons we learned from these special men.