Not in My Neighborhood

From the first day our daughter joined our family at 16 months old it was as though she had always been a part of it. This dark-haired, olive-skinned, beautiful little girl from Guatemala was a blessing from the Lord.

One summer as a teenager she earned money for academy as a literature evangelist. Along with other students she went door to door as a part of the Magabook program—not an easy way to earn a scholarship.

One day the students found themselves in a somewhat affluent area of the city. As Carissa rang a doorbell the owner of the home came to the door, took one look at her, and said, “What are you doing in this neighborhood? We don’t want your kind.”

By this time Carissa was well aware that not everyone enthusiastically welcomed an interruption in their day but she had not previously experienced this type of offensive and insensitive attitude. To her credit she did not reciprocate.

Some days later when she told me about the incident my response was what I suspect would be a typical parent’s reaction. I wanted to go to that guy and let him know in no uncertain terms what I thought of his prejudice toward my daughter... along with a few other choice comments. Thankfully I didn’t; conversely I was proud of my daughter for the way she handled an uncalled for and potentially devastating situation.

I have, however, thought about that incident a number of times in subsequent years. I have since concluded that that man not only offended her, but he also offended me because she is my daughter. Likewise, doesn’t it make sense that God is hurt when we are less than accepting of His children, no matter their nationality, ethnicity, religion, color, gender, age, or other differences?

It has been rightly said that we cannot honestly pray the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father who art in heaven...” unless we are willing to treat all people as brothers and sisters.

One of the many things I appreciate about the Northwest Adventist Church is the diversity we enjoy. Our “minorities” (a label I don’t like because in a sense we are all minorities) are growing. Their church services and convocations are vibrant with their love for the Lord and His church. If you want to have an exciting Sabbath, I would encourage you to take your family to one of the many churches who worship differently than you are accustomed to. I will guarantee you that it will be a memorable experience, and you will be blessed.

As you read about your brothers and sisters in this and every GLEANER, I encourage you to broaden your horizons, get out of your comfort zone if need be, and embrace all of God’s family.

February 01, 2007 / Editorial