Posted by: Matt Norton | November 17, 2008

Open Door Policy

Every Friday, Kerry and I prepare dinner in our apartment and then invite two residents to come eat with us.  It’s a way to get to know guys in a quiet and personal atmosphere. This week we made breakfast burritos and invited Lawrence and Jim.  At this point it may be good to let you know that although my afternoon was alright it was one of those lousy days for a million different dumb reasons.  -Alright, back to the story- The guys came over and neither Kerry nor I knew either guy well at all.  Over the meal we were able to get to know there past a little better.  Where they came from what they’re planning to do.  It was very enjoyable.
Soon after the guys left Kerry and I realized that they had left the door open.  We both went over and as we got closer we saw Bob one of the residents.  He moved in a few weeks ago and was now doing his chores.  He is another guy Kerry and I don’t know well, but we struck up a conversation anyway.  He started telling us about his past.  Where he had gone to college.  How old he is.  Where he’d worked.  Then somehow the conversation got to a point where I asked him if he wanted to go to church with us.  He thought about it and told us how he used to go to church but a string of circumstances turned him away from it.  Finally, he said maybe one of these weeks.  He then also added that he was glad that Kerry and I are here as the Hope team. He said that since he’d moved in and for a while before that he has had little interaction with people.  He said that he appreciated us being here.  I don’t say that to boost Kerry and my egos.  I say that in order to show how God uses people without their knowing.  I had no idea that our few words here and there to him meant anything.  It shows me that although I don’t always want to be friendly or to endure a long-winded life story after a simple “how are you”, my actions and my words are heard.  Little words of encouragement are important to people.
It may seem like I should stop there but I won’t because God blessed us with more unprecedented conversation.  After we said bye to Bob again the door did not close tight behind him and we soon had another visitor.  This guy, George is a gruff and burly looking man.  He has a rough voice and a negative demeanor that can frighten anyone.  I am usually intimidated to talk to him and would never expect him to come to our apartment to hang out.  I guess I shouldn’t “expect” anything because in he came to hang out.  As we asked him questions he opened up about his life.  We learned about his time in the military, where in Louisville he’d lived, changes at Jeff Street since he’s been here.  I really enjoyed his company and was surprised by his frankness.  Oh, what an open door will do.
No, no that’s not it.  We also had two of our neighbor stop in and say hey.  They only come in when our door is open.  Their visits were brief but welcomed.  I thank God for our open door because those guys were and are a blessing to me especially on such a blah day.
By keeping our door open God allowed us to get to know our “neighbors” better.  Their company and conversation blessed us.  It is wonderful how one or two good interactions with people can change a whole day and sometimes a whole life.  God works in relationships and wants us to be in community loving, encouraging, and supporting others.  We were able to foster that sort of community because of an open door.


  1. I’m so glad you all are getting to know the guys. I totally understand about the little things making a difference. You never really know how much that smile everyday can do. Yay for community!

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