Written by Andre D.

Being a neighbour to my family

When I graduated, I knew I would need to find new ways to live missionally. 

I was an out-of-province student who spent six years in Toronto living on mission through P2C-Students. I studied to become a Registered Nurse, and before I knew it, I had graduated amid a global pandemic with a very average GPA. A long-term relationship had ended too, and so I prepared to move back to BC to begin my career as a nurse, pay off my student loans, and help my family take care of my aging grandmother. 

Back in my family’s apartment, I wondered how there could possibly be anything holy or missional about doing the laundry, vacuuming the carpets, organizing the table, washing the dishes, or visiting my grandma.

But then I recalled that when I meet the basic needs of the people around me, I can help them thrive and encounter my heavenly Father.  

Read more: When our work feels insignificant

One of those basic needs is for relational closeness. My close physical proximity to my friends and family in BC allows me to be a neighbour. I want to:

  • help my sister grow in her faith
  • be there for my brother who is quickly flying through his teenage years
  • laugh and play with my nephews
  • help my mom and dad manage their health
  • take care of my grandma as her dementia worsens

At home, I live on mission by being a neighbour. 

Neighbouring by learning names

I recently started working at an airport for a government health agency. On my first shift, a man needed help to address a passenger’s concern. 

I had no idea what I was doing, but I had my red vest on and a binder in my hand, so I must have looked official. I could do nothing more than stop to listen and let him know today was my first shift. 

Though I couldn’t help, the man asked, “What is your name?” Now he always smiles when he sees me, and we wave to each other. He always speaks highly of me and praises me. 

I have never felt such love and compassion from a stranger. 

Read more: Why don’t I love my neighbours?

Not too long ago I finally asked him, “What is your name?” Now this man is no longer a stranger or a “Sir,” but he is “Hugo,” a neighbour and a friend. If he were to no longer show up at work, my heart would ache a little.  

At work, I live on mission by being a neighbour. 

I’m a neighbour to co-workers and managers, police and border officers, patients and doctors, dieticians and pharmacists, social workers and cleaning staff, physiotherapists and travellers. 

I do this by asking, “What is your name?” It’s the start of becoming close relationally, and not just physically. 

When I meet the basic needs of the people around me, I can help them thrive and encounter my heavenly Father.  

When others ask me for my name, I tell them I am Andre. My real name is Andranick; it means Eldest. When people learn these details about me, I am seen, and I see them. I share with them a part of my identity, my culture, and where I stand in my family. 

Being a relational, and not just a physical, neighbour is my mission because my heavenly Father has drawn so intimately close to me. 

My God has shared his name with me. 

He has walked this very earth. 

He calls my name to follow after him. 

How is God calling you to be a good neighbour?

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This post is published by a guest contributor or a staff writer at P2C-Students.

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