Episode 6: God Uses Introverts

In episode 6 of the BLESS podcast, Gary Kendall, introduces Jane Flora Swick, a relatively new user to Blesseveryhome.com. She describes herself as an introvert but her stories will show you how God works through her and her husband, Mark, in their neighborhood.


Gary:  Welcome to the BLESS podcast. My name is Gary Kendall, and I’m the Catalyst for Love KC (lovekc.net). I’m also the National Prayer Director for Blesseveryhome.com. I get to work with Chris Cooper and his staff on a regular basis. It’s our privilege to tell stories about people who are sharing their life–sharing Jesus, living on mission every day.

We join Jesus where He’s already at work where we live, study, work, and play. Today I have Jane Flora Swick with me on this podcast. Jane, it’s a privilege to be able to watch, kind of from a distance, how you and your husband, Mark, have been using Blesseveryhome for about a year or so. You’ve already shared stories with me that I’ve heard personally and I wanted to bring you on the podcast so you could tell us some of those stories. Why don’t you first just take a moment and introduce yourself?

Jane:  All right. Well thank you, Gary, for inviting me here, and I’m glad to share. So Mark and I moved to Gardner in 2006 with our five kids. Now we have a son who is now almost 27, and we have quadruplets, daughters that will soon be 25. We moved here to plant a church. By now all our kids are launched.

Gary:  I first met you through Rebecca. I met her through an experience we had with YWAM. I was so impressed with her. She’s a fine young woman who does such a great job for God. A year ago I went to the Olathe house church network dinner, and I saw you guys there. It was then I realized that you were her parents. I put it together why she turned out so good.

Jane:  You know she takes after her dad.

Gary:  Oh that’s sweet.

Jane: Yeah, she’s awesome.

Gary:  Jane, I know you have so many stories but don’t let me forget before we get done to come to come back to this story where you called me and said, God put it on your heart to talk to the pastors in Gardner, KS, about Blesseveryhome.com. That’s a cool story.

But before we get there, tell us a little bit about some of the first experiences you had. You started using it (blesseveryhome.com) around a year ago. How did that go? What was that like for you to start using Blesseveryhome and living the pray, care, and share, lifestyle?

Jane:  Yes. So it was, I think, in August of 2017, I started using Blesseveryhome.com. I signed up for it as an individual and started using it. I wanted to do that because we knew some of our neighbors. But at the time I was pastoring another church south of Lawrence. It was like at 35-minute commute. All my folks were in Lawrence or Baldwin in that area. And I was kind of tired of driving out of my neighborhood all the time to do ministry to connect with people. And so I’m like, I want to know my neighbors.

Jane:  I’m really kind of a quiet, shy, person naturally but I’ve learned to speak up. 

Gary:  I wouldn’t have guessed that.

Jane:   I’ve learned to be extroverted. I’ve got to reach out to people. It’s not a natural thing for me. I thought this would be a great way. I can learn my neighbor’s names without having to just interact with them, to begin with. That was a real help for me because I then could go up and speak to them and introduce myself. And I knew their name already.

Gary:  Oh very cool. So when you did, did you say their name? Or did you just have the confidence that you knew?

Jane:   I had the confidence so I would introduce myself first and then I would say, my name is Jane, and your name is…? I knew what it was and had already been praying.

Gary:  That’s so cool. Well, how did that go?

Jane:  It went great. It helped me to really overcome that initial fear of getting to know somebody because I knew his or her name. I’d been praying for them, and God changed my heart towards him.  He started softening my heart towards all my neighbors. Now some of them we already knew but some we didn’t know at all.

I can tell you one story about this one guy that we didn’t know and rarely would I ever see his car at home. I would see him come and go, but I would rarely ever see when he was home. I like to walk so one day I was walking back home from a walk, and I saw his car in the driveway. I’m like, Oh, he’s home. And then I turned and started to go to my house. But the Lord, kind of, just kind of nudged me. He said, you wanted to go and meet him. And I’m like, yeah; I don’t know what to say. And then the Lord said, well why don’t you pick some of your produce out of your garden (I’m a great gardener). Take it and offer it to him. I knew it was a single guy. So I was like okay. I did pick some peppers. I went over and introduced myself and offered it to and we just struck up a conversation. From there I just asked him if I could pray for him; if there was anything he needed prayer for. Turns out he was struggling at his job. So I just listened for a bit and then I prayed for him.

Gary:  Great!

Jane:  Then several months later we (Mike and I) were taking treats around for all of our neighbors for Christmas.  And so I got to see him again. And so I got to follow up and ask how good he was doing and how his job was going. And he said it was going much better.

Gary:  Thank God for prayer! That’s a cool story. I’m glad you told that story because I do have people say to me, Well, I’m kind of an introvert, and it’s not easy for me to talk to people. You just shared how you were able to overcome that. That’s awesome. Yeah, I think that one of the things that happen is–God prepares our heart.

You talked about God nudging you. And I was talking to a guy not too long ago, and he said, Hey, I’ve been praying for my neighbors for about six weeks, and nothing’s happened. And I said, All right. Well is anything happening in you? And he goes, well, yeah, he said, I would say my heart’s changing. I said, well, there you go. I mean that’s an awesome thing (for a heart to change). I mean it makes sense God would start with us first. We don’t have something to give away unless something’s happening inside.

Jane:  Yeah, and that’s what I found out as well.

Gary:  I would just encourage anybody listening to the podcast that it will take some time.  God is working behind the scenes.

Jane:  Just keep at it and keep doing it.

Gary:  You don’t have to be an extrovert, right? You and your husband were doing this, and your church has been doing it. What are some other stories that have come out of that?

Jane:  Yeah. So like I said, we would take treats around for everybody at Christmas. So this year was the second year of doing that. And there’s this one neighbor, we thought that he was probably retired because he was around a little bit more than the rest of the neighbors. So we’d chat with them. We’d stop and chat with him.  Turns out he was retired, and his wife was still working.  So Mark and I would often just offer to pray for him.  He would always say, yes, and then we would always notice after we get done praying that he would have tears in his eyes.

It just always encouraged us to keep going back. You know, he’d never shared too much about what that was. But we knew that God was working and touching him just through our prayers.  And right after the first of the year, this year, I decided that I would invite him and his wife over for dinner. We also invited another couple, on the other side of us, that had moved in in the last six months. We wanted to get to know them. Through that process he said, well, he didn’t know. He’d have to let me know. And so he got my phone number. And so a couple days before he called to say that they couldn’t make it and told us why. But then he stayed on the phone for about 30 minutes. He shared his heart with me. He also opened up about some of the struggles they were going through in their marriage. They hadn’t been going to church. He knew that Mark and I were strong believers. Over time they became good friends.

We hadn’t done anything with them except pray, right? But my heart just broke because I thought he’s really lonely if he doesn’t have other friends. He considers us his friends, and we don’t even do anything with him. We speak with them when we can. That was a year and a half of praying and just talking. So don’t give up.

Gary:  You’re sowing seeds. I love that. And you know you said something I think is critical here when you led with, “I’ve been praying for you.”  Obviously, you wouldn’t start every conversation like that. But many times you can. One of the things I’ve learned is that it’s a good way to start with someone I don’t know very well especially if they perceive that I’m a follower of Jesus.

An example would be, if I’m at a restaurant or something like that. Many times when we sit down to order our food the waiter or a waitress will come, and I’ll say something like…oh, wait, first of all, I try to engage them in some small talk about the menu or something. I just try to get them talking because I want them to feel like this is conversational. So I’ll joke with them about, you know, what’s your favorite order? Or what do people like here? Usually, I just get them talking a little bit. And they relax. They see many customers in a day. But after that little bit of time, I’ll often say, hey, in just a minute, we’re going to pray for our food, and when we do we want to pray for you. Was there something that we could pray about? And often they’ll stand there shocked. They can’t believe that someone said that in a restaurant.

One person even said to me, well I can’t really talk about that you know because I’m on the job. And I said back to her, prayer doesn’t have to be weird. You don’t even have to close your eyes. In fact, you don’t even have to be here. It can be like we’re just having a conversation. So how could we pray for you? And it was like once I gave it a little bit of definition, and then she just opened up and shared. She said I’m trying to figure out what to do about school. I’ve been trying to make this decision. She wanted to go into music. She said I would like to be a teacher. And after she talked for a while, I said, so is it okay if we pray? And do you want to be here when we pray or do you want us to pray when you go back to the kitchen? She goes, No I’ll be here. I said we wouldn’t close our eyes. It will just look like we’re having this conversation.

We prayed, and it really blessed her. Jane, you mentioned tears-in-the-eyes. Yeah, so many times, that’s what happens. God uses little, I like to call them, micro-conversations. They are super short but He uses them to touch people.

This last week I was in at a restaurant in Daytona Beach, Florida. The woman who came to wait at our table was named, Raven. And so we did the little chat about, what’s the best thing you guys serve? What do people order the most? And she warmed right up and talked a little bit. Then when she was taking our order, I said, Hey, Raven, in a minute we’re going to pray for our food, and I’d love to pray for you too. What can we pray for? And she looked just like a bolt of lightning hit her. She just froze. She looked at me like she didn’t know if I was serious. So I just waited. You know I didn’t try to fill that silence. She goes, well, yeah, you could pray for my husband and my daughter Guinevere. I said, okay, anything in particular? And she said, no. She looked uncomfortable, so I said, okay if you think of something let us know. Do you want to stay while we pray? She said, no, and left.

Then a couple of days later (I was at a conference) I went back to the same restaurant as it was within walking distance. And Raven comes to my table again. I said, Hey Raven, how are you doing? She said I’m doing fine thanks. And I said, hey the other night when I went to bed after coming here I did pray for you. I prayed for your husband and daughter. She had the same kind of shell-shocked look and then she said, with tears welling up in her eyes, I haven’t gone to church in forever.

I said this is not about going to church. This is really about understanding that God loves you and He really cares for you. I said you know Raven; maybe today God brought the church to you.

She just really teared up. I said I prayed for God to bless you and I prayed for your daughter and your husband.  My prayer is that God would bless you with a sense of the fact that His relationship with you is based on grace and on love.  Like if you go to church that’s awesome. But I want you to know no matter what you do God has grace and love for you. She was really tender. The shell-shocked look was gone. She just goes, Oh, thank you.

Telling people about the love of Jesus, Jane, can be just as simple as you’re making it. I appreciate you telling those stories. I see you have a list in your hand. Do you have another story?

Jane:  That’s an awesome story.

So one of the things I love about Blesseveryhome.com is the Resource tab. You can read simple stories of How do I be a Good Neighbor. How do I reach out to them? How do I start the conversation? And that’s really helpful.

Gary:  Good.

Jane:  And so one of the things that was in there was a Block Party. So Mark and I decided we should do a cul-de-sac party.

Gary:  All right.

Jane:  And so we found one of our neighbors, I didn’t know that they’re believers, I don’t think they were at all. I know they don’t go to church anywhere. But we had great conversations with them. We have a good relationship with them.

They always have their garage door open. They have a TV in there and chairs and everything. People can see them. They walk by and talk to him so we thought well, that’d be a great place to do it. So we asked them if they’d join with us. And they said yes. So the two of us couples–we did this cul-de-sac party, for God’s sake, just to get to know people. We don’t know our neighbors. Everybody is busy going his or her own way. It’s come and go in our neighborhood. And so we did that. Half of the homes were represented. It was great. We had a good time.

Gary:  I love it.

Jane: Yeah, I know. It was kind of late fall. We want to do it again when it warms up and try to get the rest of our neighbors.  

Gary:  Well, I always like to say, people are not projects. You know? When you do something personal like that it makes it not an organized thing that a church does, right?  It makes it what friend’s do. You know you’re just being friends in your neighborhood.

Jane:  Yeah.

Gary:  You brought up something there that might be worth noting. Sometimes you find a “person of peace” in a neighborhood and that “person of peace” is someone who already has a natural network of friends.

Jane:  Yeah.

Gary:  And sometimes finding them and having them to help you host something is a real key to having something good happen. Like I’ve heard people say to me, we threw a block party, and no one came. Yeah, well, that’s sad if that happens. But it can be a learning experience.

One of the things that I would say to them if they ask is, hey, is there anybody already good at throwing parties in your neighborhood? And they almost always go, oh yeah, somebody down the street. They have parties all the time. I say, okay, great! Then if you want to have a party then partner with those who already know how to do it. Your party may not be like their party but include them in your planning. Maybe you guys host the party but include them and let them be a part of it. And I’m not against going to their parties and making friends there too!

You know, I think about how that Jesus came to Earth. You know we call that the “incarnation.” You know the scripture says, He became flesh and moved into the neighborhood. And He actually was a part of the culture before He tried to minister, you know? He was here 30 years just being a part of the culture. We know very little about that part of his life.

But then the next three years, of course, we see his external teaching ministry and eventually his death and resurrection. But I just so often think about these 30 years he was just being a part of the culture. He didn’t feel the need to do everything in those years. And the Father evidently wasn’t prompting Him to go out and try to tell everybody everything He knew. He was a carpenter. He was a part of the community. He was learning the culture. He was blending in. I think that that we, as followers of Jesus, it’s very appropriate for us to be a part of the culture–to do those things that everybody else does. There are some we should pass on, right? But we need to be a part of the fabric of our neighborhood. It is crucial if we are going to reach our neighborhood.

Jane:  Yeah. Yeah. I agree, and Marc and I love to do that. We don’t mind going to other people’s parties even If we are not doing all of what they’re doing. We love to go just to make connections. We want them to see the light of Jesus wherever they live.

Gary:  That’s a great point.

Jane: Blesseveryhome.com just helped me with awareness of my neighbors in a growing way. Like I said, my husband’s a great extrovert. So wherever we’ve lived, now we live in Gardner, KS, He would always meet neighbors, as they would move in. I would just kind of hold back and pray, okay. I don’t know what to do. I didn’t know what to say, and so I would hold back. But now because I’ve been doing Blesseveryhome.com, I know who lives in every house. I’m very aware when a home sells.

When the new people move in, I want to find out their name. So I go and introduce myself. I can take them a little goody, or something, over to them. I guess I have a reason and a purpose. I know that I’m going to come back and I’m going to update my list in the Notes section. So I do.

Gary:  Yeah I do that too. I use the Notes to keep track of details. And if there are kids, you know, put their kids’ names down in there. I can pray for their kids and things like that.

Gary:  So here’s a question for you. What do you say when people say, what do you do?

Jane:  Now I get to say I’m retired.

Gary:  Yes that’s a challenge for people who are in ministry. When someone asks what you do. You don’t want them to think you are a friend just to sell them.

Jane:  Right.

Gary:  Telling them you are a pastor can cause them, to, you know, be completely silent. Yeah. So I’ve learned to say a variety of things. Like right now because I lead Love KC I’ll say, well, I work for a not-for-profit. And sometimes that’s as far as it goes. But every so often they’ll say, Oh cool. Well, what do you guys do? And because I don’t know if it’s good to say, well actually we motivate people to pray, care, and share in their neighborhood, I’ll say, you know we’re helping people to be good neighbors and to care about their neighborhood. Usually, they’ll go, Oh that’s great. Then they say, how do you do that? I’ll say, well, we like to serve at our school. You know, we’ll help at the grade school. You can do a variety of things like mentoring, reading, etc. They’ll say, Oh that’s great.

One of the things that’s so beautiful to me about this lifestyle that we live is–Jesus said the two great commandments are to love the Lord your God with all your heart soul mind and strength. That’s this vertical relationship we have with God. And the second one is horizontal. Love your neighbor as yourself. I say, and what if He met our actual neighbor? Because I believe he did. And I found that you could talk to people about neighboring very easily.

Like I had an Uber ride last week. I was talking to the driver for the whole trip. I was praying for an opening to talk about Jesus. We talked about everything under the sun but no subject seemed like a really good place to talk about Jesus. So I kept praying, God, is there something I should say? Is there a way to talk to this guy? What do You want me to say to Kenneth?

I just played along with the conversation. At some point, he started telling me about Erma, the hurricane that came through. He spoke of how it affected their home and other homes around them. But there was this neighbor who helped him. His neighbor helped him with a generator and stuff, and so I said, you know, man it’s great when you find a neighbor that’s just willing to share like that. That’s golden. How cool is that? And then he told me about being a good neighbor to somebody else. And I said you know what, what you’re talking about is so cool because there are two great commandments in the Bible. They kind of sum everything else in the Bible. They are to love God with all your heart, mind, and strength–that’s our relationship with God. And he was just really quiet for all of that. He didn’t say anything.

And then I said, and the second is to love your neighbor as yourself. I said I found that people need a relationship with God. He didn’t comment. I continued, and people need friends. Everybody needs a good set of friends. And he goes, yeah. That’s right!

And so that that actually started a conversation that lasted like the next 10 minutes talking about God. He said, well, I’m not a very religious person.

And I said well you don’t have to be religious. He said my grandmother was just like really legalistic and really hard and harsh. It just kind of like, turned me away from religion. And I said, oh gosh, I’m sorry. I said, you know I have found that there are people who are harsh and people who are judgmental whether they’re religious or not. A whole subset of our world is like that. Maybe they don’t know any other way to be but I can promise you that that’s not what God’s is about.  God’s about love. He’s about grace. And when you experience that and discover that, I think you’ll look at Him differently. It’s not about religion or church. It’s really about God’s desire to express his love to you. It got really quiet, but he was taking it in. The thing that allowed that whole conversation to kind of go to a different level was his talking about being a good neighbor.

Jane:  Yeah. So that’s great. Yeah. If Mark was here, I know what he would say.

Gary:  Okay, and that is?

Jane:  Mark would say that since we started praying for our neighborhood, and we’ve lived there for 13 years, that he could sense the atmosphere in the neighborhood is changing. 

Gary:  Oh cool. And one of the ways we’ve just seen that recently was with this big snow that we had.

Jane:  When it snows you’re supposed to shovel your sidewalk within 48 hours. Mark said he didn’t know that. Well, I knew that was the law of Gardner. But anyway, we had a neighbor that went around and cleaned the whole cul-de-sac. He had his nice driving snow blower and just did it. And then he scoops the rest of the cul-de-sac with his little skid loader.

Gary:  Was he a young guy or an old guy?

Jane:  He is a young married man.  And for Mark that was like, this is a different neighborhood because it used to be that everyone would just keep to himself or herself. Maybe they got around to shoveling snow, and perhaps they didn’t. And he was so impressed by that.

Gary:  So when I’m talking to pastors I often say that when we’re praying for our neighborhoods, like you just mentioned, that we’re planting seeds. We’re softening the soil. The Bible talks about the four different kinds of soil. The seed falls on four different types of soil. One is hard soil and I think when we’re praying the ground becomes softer.

Jane, I do want to talk about your phone call to me. I actually got your phone call when I was out of town in Orlando, Florida. When you called, I was so excited.  I was at a grocery store. I got your call, and you were talking about this desire, this vision, or thought that God put on your heart, for the whole city of Gardner…no, you tell it. What happened to you?

Jane:  Yes, It was just late last year; just a few months ago. I don’t really remember where I was. I was probably praying for my neighbors, I would guess. And I just felt like the Lord said, you know, we could, you could, just cover your whole city in prayer in 2019. You know you could do that.

And I’m like, well, I know a lot of us are praying, and I know that many neighborhoods are covered. And so I just started wondering about what that would be like. And then a good friend of mine, who attends the same church that I go to, and is the pastor of the church, she and I pray together all the time. And so I said something to her about it. And we just both got really excited.

It’s like, well yeah, what if our whole city–every house–is prayed for in 2019?  How great would that be? So I thought, I’ll call Gary and see if he’s got some thoughts and ideas about how we might do that.

Gary:  And you did. You made my day. You really cracked me up at the end of it because after I listened and was telling you a few things about it, I ask if you needed any help and you said, Nope I got it! That’s awesome!

When I got your call, I didn’t receive it at first because I was in the store with my wife, Belinda. But when I listened, I grabbed my phone and looked up Gardner to see how many homes are adopted. I wanted to see how many Census Block Groups were in Gardner and how many were adopted. 

The government assigns Census Block Groups to every neighborhood. There are anywhere from maybe three hundred people to six or eight hundred people in a census block group.  The density is more or less depending on whether it is a rural or suburban area. So I quickly looked Gardner up to see how many census block groups are there. I think I counted 18 if I got the city right. And then I looked to see how many of them have at least one person praying and I think there were 17. So there’s maybe only one that doesn’t have somebody, but then if you look at the neighborhoods, there’s a lot of gray shaded areas (gray represents “unadopted”). Over 50 percent of Gardner proper is adopted by someone. And that’s pretty exciting actually.

Jane:  Yeah that’s when I got really excited. 

Gary:  I think I sent you a screenshot from my phone or something like that.  I’m looking forward to seeing how this unfolds. I also took a screenshot of Olathe then sent it to about five or six pastors there and said here’s what they’re doing in Gardner.

Jane:  Competition! Yeah!

Gary:  You know this is the kind of competition where you want everybody else to do so good that they beat you.

Jane:  Exactly.

Gary:  So yeah, we’ll keep track of how that goes.

Gary:  One of the things I’ve learned in talking to Pastors, especially if they haven’t heard of Blesseveryhome.com before, they’ll think about it like it’s some kind of a project or they’ll think about it as like it’s a program. And what I always tell people is–it’s a lifestyle.  It’s really, first of all, something that happens in your heart and in the hearts of others. And it’s not there’s nothing instant about it.

You can’t microwave these kinds of relationships. They take time to develop. The best ones usually take a little more time. But here’s the beautiful thing about a relationship that you’ve invested in–over time when the person comes to Christ you have the natural built-in ability to see that person become a disciple.

If that person receives Jesus from a cold call; that’s just low hanging fruit. God had that person ready. But usually when it is someone you don’t know isn’t that easy to follow up.

But when you lead a person to Jesus that you know, you are ready to disciple them.  It’s like the next natural thing. And they’re actually looking forward to it.

I would say to anybody who might be kind of discouraged out there, don’t be discouraged, let’s keep watering, keep sowing as God does in us. He will do this in His own timing. Yeah everybody’s on his or her own schedule responding to God. If we try to hurry that usually works against us.  But when they do receive Christ, it’s going to be more natural for them to seek you out to help them become a disciple.

I got to lead a guy to Christ a couple years ago, and he was already ready to receive Christ because his good friend had died. It really shook him up. He was at the funeral when he asked me what do I do (to get right with God). And so I took that moment to go ahead and say, well, invite Jesus to lead your life. You are already acknowledging to me you want Him to lead you. You just need to tell Him. Tell Him that you’re sorry for your sin and you want Him to lead you. I said, let’s just pray together. We took a moment to pray, and then later I prayed with his wife too. But the question he asked me after he prayed is, what I do now?

I said, well let’s talk about what it means to follow Jesus. Let’s talk about how to become a disciple. It was natural because we knew each other. Without a relationship, it’s not as natural. And then I got to baptize him in a lake. That’s the benefit of time (and investing in him). Keep praying. Keep building relationships. You’ve invested a lot of time there (in Gardner).

Jane:  Yeah.

Gary:  So have you started talking to pastors yet?

Jane:  Yes, I’ve talked to most of the pastors in Gardner. The pastor at the Presbyterian Church, she went online and signed up herself just to learn about it. They are kind of setting goals for the year. She had wanted something for a discipleship tool. And I said this would be a great tool to follow. She signed up and so she’s getting ready to kind of share the goal with her folks. I think the Presbyterians will be adopting.

Gary:  All right. Keep after it. It’s worth it. I hope that you beat Olathe. Although I really am encouraging pastors to follow the example of what you are doing in Gardner. 

Jane, if there was one last thing that you wanted to say to someone who’s listening and they’re new, or they just got started, what would you say to them about this lifestyle–the pray, care and share lifestyle that we promote–you know, living on mission, what would you say?

 Jane:  I would say, just do it, like the Nike commercial. Just do it. Just start praying and then let God lead you from there. And He will develop it. There is no cookie cutter way that it’s going to look. It’ll look like you and Him working together, and it’ll be great.

One of the other things that I think is encouraging, is as I have introduced myself to neighbors then I’ve found those who already go to church somewhere. I get to click the “Discipleship” blue button on my screen.  But the best thing about that is now that we know where we are in the neighborhood we can help them pray for their neighbor’s soil. And they have a closer relationship because they’re right next-door.

Gary:  Have you ever gotten them together? Other lights have done that. That would be something cool to do. We did that in our neighborhood. We pulled together three of our lights. I said we’re kind of the bridge for God to our neighborhood.

We ask the question, what should (being the bridge) look like? What are some needs we can meet? What are some things we can do? We prayed together and encouraged each other.

Jane:  Yeah. That’s awesome.

Gary:  So you could do that.

I want to close with that thought that you said, “it’ll look like you and God doing something together and your neighborhood.” I love that. And I just want to encourage you.  All the listeners need to know that they’ll be at different stages. There’ll be times where nothing happens for a week or two weeks or a month maybe months.

Jane: Yeah.

Gary:  But you’re praying, and you are sowing seeds. You’re waiting for God. And then you might have two or three things in a row that happen. And that’s just beautiful. God’s at work all the time. He’s at work in us too. He’s always teaching us and leading us.

To summarize, at Blesseveryhome.com we encourage people to do three things every day, to “pray” for your neighbors by name. If you use the “daily 5” that comes from Blesseveryhome.com, that’s an easy way to do it. You can pray down through your list of five, and then I usually use the suggested prayer at the bottom so that I don’t get into a routine in my prayers. I love the prayers that are there.

By the way, you can see the link to the podcast below the scripture. That’s how you’ll see that Jane’s podcast is up.

Then secondly, “care” as God leads. What I often hear from people is, when I’m praying, then I can be caring. Now I’m aware. I’m much more aware.  I’m looking for needs. I’m conscious of living on mission. I’m expecting God to work and He does. Which is a different way than not living with a sense of expectation, right?

And then “share.” Share your influence. You can do that every day. Share your story. Be vulnerable to people. Our stories don’t have to be great like we are always winning. Sometimes some of the best stories are hardships or hard times. But share your story and then eventually share the story of Jesus.

I encourage people to start talking about Jesus out loud as often as you can. Everyday. Talk about Him in the marketplace, out in the open air because the more you do it, the easier it gets to be.  

You will find some people who, like Raven, look at you like their shell-shocked. But if you persevere, you’ll also find people who are very open and very tenderhearted–again like Raven. We brought the church to her. And it really touched her that God would send someone. That’s the way she looked at it. It was like God would send someone to me to remind her of His love. And if we get to be that person–well that’s fantastic.

Jane:  Yeah.

Gary:  Sometimes we know the end of the story and sometimes we don’t. I’ll probably never see the end of Raven’s story. But God will take it on from there.

So Jane Flora Swick thanks for being a part of this podcast today, The BLESS podcast. 

Jane:  You’re welcome.

Gary:  And you can always find it (the BLESS podcast) on iTunes or on Android apps. Just search “Podcasts,” and you can find BLESS.  If you can’t find it, then look up my name, Gary Kendall, and then subscribe.  Like it and share it. And now, let’s get this story to the whole nation. Eventually, we want to see every home adopted in the entire United States where someone is living his or her prayer, care, and share lifestyle.

Thank you, Jane.

Jane:  You’re welcome.

Gary:  And to our listeners, we want to hear your story next.  You get to tell the next stories. Keep it up, and we’ll be talking more soon. Join Jesus where He’s already at work where you live, study, work, and play.