Kristen Schell discovered the value of community on a summer immersion program in France. She was a stranger in a foreign land, but she had rarely felt so welcomed, loved, and connected – and she didn’t even understand the language.
In a many European countries like France, community takes place around the table. Family and friends join together to celebrate food, life, and each other.
That perspective on life came back to her years later while she and a neighbor were preparing for a backyard barbecue. By then she was a wife and a mom who spent more time with her children in her minivan than she did around the kitchen table or the fire pit talking about life and God. Kristen ordered a picnic table for the party. When it arrived, the deliverymen set the heavy, wooden table in the front yard beneath a magnolia tree.
That’s when Kristen’s idea was born. What if her table became like the village well of olden times, a meeting place where no one was pressured to cook, clean, or to entertain – just to be neighborly?
Kristen painted the table turquoise and took a seat that first day with some paperwork to keep her busy. It didn’t take long for a neighbor passing by to stop and strike up a conversation. Soon, other neighbors began stopping by.
What started as a simple hello to the people who passed by opened the door for Kristen and her husband to serve and come alongside those same people in their deepest hour of need.
Life is hard. Trouble comes to every family in every neighborhood sooner or later. For Kristen, the turquoise table became a way to communicate God’s love to the people around her who were going through divorce, struggling with illness, or worried for prodigal children.
It’s easy for you and I to drive in and out of our garages and never get to know the family right next door. We hide, and it minimizes what the Lord can do through us in our neighborhood to touch people in His name.
I hope you’ll join us for my conversation with Kristen Schell titled “Going on Mission in Your Front Yard.” She has a humorous, fun, and inspiring story that will equip you to have an impact for Christ on the people around you. Tune in on your local radio station, online, on iTunes, via Podcast, or take us with you on our free phone app.
Even if you can’t or don’t want a turquoise table in your front yard, Kristen’s book, The Turquoise Table: Finding Community and Connection in Your Own Front Yard, offers practical ways that you can reach out that won’t overwhelm you but that will richly reward you in terms of relationships and friendships.
In fact, we believe in this concept so much that if you’ll become a monthly supporter of Focus on the Family, we’ll send you a copy of Kristin’s book as our way of saying thank you.
To make your pledge, or for more information about our “Friends of Focus on the Family” program, visit our website or call 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459).
Thank you for your prayerful and financial support. It enables us to touch families each and every day.