This is from Jo Rapps who is a part of the Pawleys Island Oikos. She and her husband, Kevin, and their two daughters have a huge heart mission in our local context. It is a great privilege to have her give us practical tips on local missions!
Let’s invite the neighbors.
It will be a good way to get to know them.
Those were our initial thoughts as Halloween was approaching about five years ago.
You see, we’ve always been the “Halloween is a time for our kids to dress up and get free candy” type of people and have always viewed it as just that. For many years we would get together with some good friends, take the kids out and then have dinner together. When God called us to Pawleys Island, though, we felt like it was a great opportunity to actually be missionaries, to go out into the world and get to know those who may not know Jesus.
So on that night, our first Halloween in Pawleys Island, we cooked 3 crockpots of chili and bought chips, bowls, spoons, cheese, everything that you need for a good chili night. We took our dining room table outside and gathered all the chairs we had in the hopes that we could welcome our neighbors…but only one family showed up for the meal!
Now, I am not a big fan of leftovers. My husband is, but with three crockpots full of chili left over, we were going to be eating that for a while (or he would be!) So we did the logical thing in that moment and decided to give out chili with the candy to those who came (thankfully, we had bought the catering pack of bowls!) We had no idea what God would do with that time.
As families came and the kids said, “Trick-or-treat!” we offered chili and water for anyone who wanted it. It was amazing how this impacted so many who came. It became something that connected with the adults and opened up some great conversations. You see, when we originally moved to Pawleys Island we felt God call us to serve the African American community on a street called Pettigru, but we found ourselves living in a very different place, unsure how to connect. What we didn’t know was how God would move in that simple act of giving out chili to those who came trick-or-treating. We were becoming known as “The Chili House”, folks who lived in that community were coming to us on those Halloween nights, and relationships began to grow. It’s amazing how God works!
So now we are The Chili House. The crockpots have increased each year (last year there were 7!), and our new Missional Community (some of whom live on Pettigru) have come alongside us to support us as we reach out.
God is faithful in providing; He’s there as we serve chili and he’s there as we go beyond what society would make “Halloween” to be. It’s about getting out in the community at a time when all of the neighbors are outside and meeting them where they are.
Where is God challenging you to step out this year? Who is God calling you to serve?