Want to meet your neighbors? Get a dog!

Meet Dr. John Fozard. He has a Ph.D. in Theology from Trinity University, his Masters from Anderson, and his Bachelor’s from Southern Illinois Carbondale. He pastored for 22 years before becoming the President of Mid-America Christian University.

Dr. Fozard wanted to love his neighbors but found it challenging to meet and get to know them. In his experience, where he lives in Oklahoma City, he found it difficult to get to know his neighbors.

“In Illinois, where we are originally from, people didn’t have a lot of fences. But in Oklahoma, a lot of people have privacy fences. So people come home, pull in their garage, and don’t see or talk to anyone,” he expressed.

Dr. Fozard also travels a lot, so he hasn’t had a lot of opportunities to meet many of his neighbors. It just so happens that Gary Kendall introduced him to Bless Every Home a couple of years ago. He thought maybe this could be the golden ticket, so he signed up and began praying for his neighbors!

Around the same time, he bought a tiny Yorkie to be a companion to his wife after their two grandsons moved away. She’s such an energetic puppy that he walks her. And according to him, his dog owns him.

He also says, “If you want to get to know your neighbors, get a dog.” As he learned people’s names from his HOA list and Bless Every Home, he would walk and greet them by name.

They began to know him as the guy who walked his dog. He learned that several people in his neighborhood were from Mid America University and realized he had probably handed them their diploma when they graduated. So he began to introduce himself to these former students.

He also discovered quite a large group of Vietnamese people in his neighborhood. One day this Vietnamese man was out edging his yard along the sidewalk. When Dr. Fozard was passing by, he turned off his edger and asked him, ‘You are a man of God, aren’t you?’ He introduced himself and said yes. Come to find out; this man is a Christian Vietnamese.

He asked if Dr. Fozard would talk more with him more because he needed some wisdom and desired a mentor. Since then, they’ve built a friendship and gone out to dinner several times.

Dr. Fozard told him that he was an answer to prayer because he prayed to connect with this people group in his neighborhood. Dr. Fozard had been asking God how he would bridge this divide culturally, by language and religion because a lot of them are either Buddhist or Catholic.

It turns out he is studying online from a Baptist school in New Orleans and is an unpaid Vietnamese Baptist pastor too! The man didn’t even know there were other Vietnamese people in their neighborhood, so Dr. Fozard introduced him to Bless Every Home so he could get to know his neighbors too. Wouldn’t you say God is indirectly using Dr. Fozard to reach this people group in his neighborhood? I think so!

He found many African neighbors as well, one being from Ghana. In addition, he has another neighbor from Brazil who speaks Portuguese. It sounds like God is bringing the nations to him.

Dr. Fozard says it wasn’t until he got that app and the dog that he got to know his neighbors. Sometimes before he takes their dog for a walk, his wife says, ‘Go and visit your church.’ So, little by little, he’s meeting his neighbors, learning more about them, and building friendships.

If you’ve been looking for ways to get to know your neighbors, maybe it’s a dog you need! But, if that’s not an option, that’s okay because Bless Every Home will get you started on the right track.

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