In this section of my blog I hope to share perspectives of living in Phoenix from many different voices. Today I am glad to introduce to you Evelynn Malakowsky. She and her family serve at NPHX and with a ministry called Apprenticeship to Jesus in downtown Phoenix. She and her family are taking seriously Jesus’ command to love your neighbor as yourself. May you find yourself inspired as I was as you read on. …
Simply be a neighbor,
Thoughts from Evelynn
We have been strongly reminded in these last several months of our love for our neighborhood Brentwood, and how we moved here 5 years ago to see the Lord’s kingdom come. We have always been overwhelmed with the dreams of seeing miracles in the lives of our neighbors. As we believe that the Lord asked us about 2 years ago to use our gifts, service and more to really pour into the Woodland neighborhood Downtown through the ministry Apprenticeship to Jesus, we have come to a place to pray more about what does it look like in our small capacity to still “love our neighbors here in Brentwood.”
With these strong and recent reflections, and a deep desire to include our children more in our walk with Jesus and in the ministry of outreach, we really have started to focus to “simply be neighbors in Brentwood” in our family’s capacity and in natural ways. We have been engaging playing in the front yard, prayer walking almost daily, connecting with any neighbor we come in close quarters to, making gifts and giving gifts and so forth. The fruit from such a simple act of obedience has been convicting and incredibly exciting for us. Convicting because we have chosen so many times to isolate our family indoors missing many opportunities to connect with any neighbor and exciting because our neighbors have responded profoundly.
Prayers bring answered to connect and get to know neighbors:
• Some of the neighborhood children have started coming back to play with Isaiah and Ariel giving us an opportunity to love on them, make crafts and hear about their life
• We have gotten to reconnect with a family and have been invited weekly to come over to learn Spanish and also learn how to cook Spanish dishes as I teach English
• The kids made cards for neighbors on valentines and our neighbor who is a widow called us deeply moved, weeping and thankful
• Evelynn and the kids have been invited on walks around the neighborhood with another mother to get to know one another more and share passions
• Through strange dog situations and dead car batteries we are getting to have deeper conversations with our neighbors right next door
Prayers being answered to connect with our Christian neighbors
One minute after we prayed this on our prayer walk we ran into a man who has lived in the neighborhood for over 20 years. We found out that his wife is a christian. We shared boldly that Danny was a minister and how we desired to serve our neighborhood. In our conversation we noticed that he was clearly on his way to know Jesus. As we were leaving he leaned over the fence and looked Danny straight in the eye and said, “Brother, whatever is in your heart, Preach it, jut PREACH IT.” Shocked at the entire way that God worked, we said OK and walked away, pondering this in our heart.
A week later, we were contacted through facebook by a neighbor who we had never met who is also a Christian. We can’t wait to get to know him and his family as the Lord leads.
We haven’t been able to let go with this resounding theme in our heart that our actual neighbors are LITERALLY asking us to be involved in their life and share the good news! Amazed at the mighty and wonderful works of God in this small little community we are celebrating and praying for more vision, capacity, and love for our neighbors.
RISK for God’s Kingdom come
I’m burning with so much passion to see this neighborhood be transformed by the work and miracles of Gods’ hands. I imagine the very real reality of God healing wounds of divorce, hate, abuse, loneliness, discontentment, poverty, fatherless children and everything else that this community is going through. I want to see that happen! I believe it can happen and I am committed to be all in, to throw everything in the basket and risk it all to have his kingdom come to this neighborhood.
I get so excited at the idea of what if ALL of us who put our hope and faith in Jesus threw everything that we had, our future, our work, our dreams, passions, our personal life plans and our security and followed Jesus in the individual way he is calling us. I can imagine now what would happen if we weren’t so afraid to risk, so that even just one person would be transformed by the God of the universe!
I grew up where there were gun shots often, gangs, violence and abuse of all kinds, where brokenness was not hidden but visible. I often think about the reality that there weren’t believers knocking on my door or reaching out to my neighborhood to share such good news. With strong memories of the darkest season of my life behind me and the hope of Christ in me now, I desperately desire for the body of Christ to not be so afraid to follow Jesus to the darkest neighborhoods so that children and families like mine could get a taste of the beauty of our great God.
We have so much to give, a precious jewel. People are in despair and longing for hope. I want to share that hope and am praying for ALL Of Us to have the courage to do whatever it takes and do whatever God asks of us in order to follow him! What he can do is so amazing if only we allowed ourselves to be fully used by him.