Saturday, November 17, 2007

Making Newcomers Feel Welcome

I am keeping a running list of all the things people have done for us, which has made our moving around a lot easier in the end. I want to make notes because I feel like the benefit of moving around so much is that if we ever do get to move home or once we are in a place for a long time, we can be a resource for those who find themselves in similar positions as we have.

On that list are things like going out of our way to invite new people to do something socially. I know it's easy to forget when you have many friends around that the 'new' person whom you had a good conversation with and want to get to know may have nothing planned socially for the next several months.

There is nothing to make someone feel more welcomed than actually being included in something not by obligation, but because someone took five seconds to invite you. Even if you can't make whatever it is, feeling like you belong means a lot.

Another thing is just taking a few minutes to introduce yourself to someone. I can't tell you how many parishes my husband and I have attended for months or years, participated in activities, etc. and left still not knowing anyone. We tried, but so many people were so caught up in their lives and didn't seem interested in making any new friends.

A friend we had in Chicago was a master at this. We met him randomly and he began inviting us to do stuff with his friends. It was a big part of what made Chicago so special to us. And it wasn't just with us ... he did this with many people he met. You know what, the guy had a lot of friends and genuinely displayed God's love to us through his actions.

It is definitely not one-sided. We had to keep putting ourselves in situations where we would meet people or each place we lived would have been very, very lonely, but as a newcomer, it takes time to get used to a new area, new customs and new people.

I pray I may never forget how difficult it is to be the new one around and may always take the time to make a new person feel welcomed instead of wishing they could be anywhere else.

1 comment:

Bob Lozano said...

Thank you for the vivid reminder ... "I was a stranger and you welcomed me ..."

May we always see the stranger in our midst, and in him see the face of Jesus.

muchas gracias!

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I'm a mommy, wife and educated woman with an inquisitive mind. I am always looking in ways to challenge and grow in my faith. Many wise people I have known have reminded me if I am not growing, I am going in the wrong direction.