Click and watch the video below to see the beautiful story of how a table in the front yard changed a community:
A great documentary from DeiDox Films
How a turquoise table is helping neighbors connect. Trivia: Kristin was inspired to do this “mission” after watching the story about Ludmila, a widow finding incredible purpose in the everyday.
I always thought I’d go far away on a mission I really did I really thought my calling would be international and I never never in a million years thought that the Lord would ask me to walk outside of my door and get to know my neighbors.
I’m Kristen shell and I live in Austin, Texas.
I am a wife and a mother of four children. On any given day I’m in the kitchen or in the minivan. I’m active in the kids school. I’m a writer and I volunteer at church.
We’ve been in this neighborhood and almost 10 years. I always knew we were supposed to love our neighbors because that’s the Great Commandment. But how you live that out day-to-day is hard and especially when you don’t know your neighbors which is the situation I was in.
I did not know my neighbors. Sure I knew, you know, a handful of them so there was this huge questioning. What do you want me to do Lord? Here I am Lord. What do you want me to do? Do you want me to walk across the street and bang on doors? To take cookies?
What do you want me to do Lord? God answers prayers and really in some surprising ways.
I was hosting a party with a friend in our backyard and I didn’t have any tables and so I ordered a picnic table from Lowes. When it arrived two days later I knew I knew that for the purposes of the party I was going to have it in my backyard. But as soon as that party was over I was moving that table in the front yard and it was going to be a gathering place. And I painted it turquoise, which is my favorite color. I put it outside underneath the tree in the front yard. It was awkward at first to have this table – bright turquoise. It’s sitting in the front yard and I’m like, well, what do I do?
I took a whole bunch of stuff out with me – my phone and my journal and my computer and I even had some art stuff that i was working on. Because, you know, I needed to look like I was just doing something.
By going out front I was saying to God “Here I am Lord, Your will be done. Go before, behind and alongside me into the neighborhood.
And that very day life changed and I met a neighbor within three hours of putting a table out in my front yard.
A lot happened since I put the table out there. There are a handful of women who are now very close friends who I did not know before. It has become kind of a gathering place for us.
“This is my daughter, Peggy.”
One of the best things is just the sense of normal community in everyday life. The neighborhood kids come over we’ll do homework when the weather’s pretty. We’ve had lemonade stands, hot cocoa stands.
More intimately and its place where I can meet and have met neighbors who just pop by with coffee and just for 15 minutes have a good conversation over coffee that wouldn’t have happened.
The Lord has taught me and I am learning to be present and that sounds like it should be a no-brainer, but listening is not a skill that came naturally at first to me nor was being present.
Loving my neighbors has taught me how to love God better. Its drawing me into deeper relationship with him.
You don’t need permission or a program to go outside and be who Christ just called you to be.
When we open up our front door we take three steps right out our front yard, good things happen.
Open up the door and let God do the rest.
What could be your turquoise table that could open up a whole new life for your neighborhood?