Welcome the Stranger

As I was merrily driving the lawn mower my purposeful bliss was interrupted as I saw them step out of their car. Decision time: take another loop around the property or head back to the driveway…a challenging dilemma for sure. And then, another character enters the scene: Joe, my handyman who is helping with a home improvement project, comes walking out of the house to cut a board. Decision made – take another loop and see where the interaction between the white shirt, tie wearing, name tag adorning visitors and handyman Joe goes. 

Circling back around I can now see the three smiling and deeply engaged in a conversation – success! And, mowing is complete so now it’s my turn to engage the unexpected guests. 

The reality is, often to the astonishment of my family and friends, I actually enjoy when the young Mormon missionaries come to our door. It’s always great to hear where they’re from, what their life aspirations are, and what they are enjoying and finding challenging about this particular season in their life. The same is true with folks from other faith traditions – love to talk theology with Jehovah Witness, political campaigners – love to ask why this is so important to them, even salespersons – love to talk to them about what their life goals are.

The reason I engage with folks in this manner has first and foremost to do with how I was raised. My parents taught me to greet friend and stranger with respect. My faith formed me to welcome the stranger and to respect the dignity of every human being. And in reality, I grew up with friends who were part of families that went door to door to talk about their faith tradition or whose parent canvassed the neighborhoods as part of their work or political aspirations. My aspiration is to see folks first and foremost as a human, not what they are ‘pitching’.

“You have a really cool basketball court,” said one of my recent guests. “Would it be possible for a group of us to come over and use it?” “Court’s free – coaching will cost you!” I responded with a smile on my face. And for the second time in our conversation they offered, “Is there anything we can help you with?” It was great to hear their stories, hopes and dreams…to get to know them as people…God’s beloved.


6 thoughts on “Welcome the Stranger”

  1. Love this! Greg is always so interested in the Mormon faith and engaging with their missionaries. Glad they have a place to play some bball! 😀

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