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How God Transformed My Neighborhood

Penelope is a disciple maker in Southern California. When she and her family moved into their neighborhood, there was much isolation and little community, but it didn’t stay that way. This is Penelope’s story of how God used her and her family to bring healing and transformation to their neighborhood.

Penelope’s Family Put in the Work to See Their Neighborhood Transformed 

My family and I moved into our neighborhood in 2016 and tried getting to know our neighbors. We noticed early on that there was a lot of isolation and not many people actually knew each other, so we started looking for creative ways to meet our neighbors and bring them together.

Through things like reading The Art of Neighboring, attending a ladies Bunco game night that had been established before I moved in, and inviting folks over to our home, we started creating an environment in which people could get to know each other and get to know know us.

Over time, I eventually developed good relationships with some of the women in the neighborhood and we started getting together to read the Bible. 

Penelope Mobilized Prayer

I had heard about what a Discovery Bible Study is, though I didn’t know anything about DMM. I got in contact with Paul Watson and, through coaching with him, learned about the importance of prayer. So my family and I started doing a monthly prayer gathering using the Sticky Note Prayer method.

Our first meeting was in April 2018 and since then we’ve done dozens of gatherings praying for our city and county. I still have the unruly stacks of sticky notes, each with someone’s specific prayer request on them — things like:

  • 1 John 3:18

  • Romans 12:2

  • The strengthening of marriages against divorce

  • That Christians would unite and pray together

  • For Christians to have mercy towards the lost

  • The softening of hardened hearts

  • The breaking of the strongholds of addiction in our community

  • That God would bring men and women of integrity into local government

  • That Christian children would boldly share their faith

  • Joshua 1:9

  • That God would wake us and our unbelieving friends, family and neighbors up to how pointless the things are that we find our identities and worth in outside of Him

  • That the Church would be more like a family than a club

  • The breaking down of the walls of isolation

  • Healing for broken hearts caused by abortion

This is only a small sampling of the prayers that have been offered in our gatherings, but I can now look at these and see how God has answered in powerful ways.

God Answered and Transformed the Neighborhood

Over the past 5-6 years that we’ve lived in our neighborhood, we have not only seen neighbors begin to know, love and care for one another, but also:

  • People freed from addictions

  • Marriages restored

  • People healed from depression and anxiety

  • Six neighbors baptized, with another on the way

We’ve seen God work mightily to bring real transformation in our community, bringing people out of isolation and into connection not only with their neighbors, but also with Himself! 

I’ve continued to go to those ladies Bunco nights in our neighborhood. The last one I went to was the first time that I’ve walked in and seen everyone hitting it off, catching up, and offering prayer, care and concern for one another. They weren’t just there to play a game anymore, which feels so different from how it used to be. 

I praise God for that!

Lessons Learned      

We have to put in the time and effort it takes to see change happen. Disciple making is a long, slow process. When Penelope and her family moved in, there was very little community in their neighborhood, so they got to work. For six years they read books, invited people over, attended existing neighborhood events and even started some of their own — anything that could build community and help their neighbors get to know one another and them. God worked through their faithfulness and now it’s a completely different neighborhood!      

Prayer is essential. Penelope’s family made prayer a real priority. Not only did they pray individually, but they also mobilized their Disciple Making Community to intercede for their neighborhood, city and county, asking God to bring transformation and healing. It took years (and lots and lots of sticky notes), but through faithfully going to God on behalf of their neighbors they got to see God move mightily. 

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