Romans 15:7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
Since our arrival to Gregory Street in late August, we have felt nothing but welcome from our neighbors. Friendly faces picked us up individually from the airport introducing us to our new home for the next year. Past dwellers (others that have completed a year of service in the years prior to this one) were happy to give us hints about the city while still giving us the freedom to explore and discover on our own. For the first two weeks in our new community we were continually fed and welcomed by new friends from the neighborhood, the board, the church, and Hollywood at-large. We were even welcomed into our own home with a welcoming party from all the neighbors and a giant pot of posole, a traditional pre-Columbian soup or stew from Mexico. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pozole)
We have continued to feel this welcome as the year progresses with monthly dinners at church members’ homes, frequent invitations from past dwellers for events and meals, and from the kids that stop by La Casa de la Communidad several times a week as we share this community space with them. As several of my housemates have expressed, we, the dwellers, are the ones being blessed and welcomed by the Gregory Street Neighborhood and Hollywood rather than being the ones offering this service. We are continuing to see the face of Christ welcoming us and we hope to be able to return the favor, for the glory of God.
Recently, we had the opportunity to share in the celebration of Fall/Thanksgiving at our Harvest Festival at La Casa. Friends from the neighborhood brought food and fun to share. In addition to eating tamales and assorted treats from across the neighborhood, we participated in activities like a cake walk/dance, donut-on-a-string contest, and piñata breaking. Coming up late this month we have been invited to participate in La Posada, a nine-day celebration beginning December 16 and ending December 24 representing the pregnancy of Mary carrying Jesus. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Posada)
While we hand out the flyers and open the gate, it is truly our neighbors that welcome us into this space that they have known and loved long before we arrived.