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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Meet thy neighbor — and make new friends

Lutherans give up a variety of things for Lent, but Sue Garcia chose instead to go the opposite way.

She added friends.

For the 40-day season, Garcia, a member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Tacoma, Wash., decided to visit a neighbor she didn’t know and introduce herself. Sue’s husband Ramon works nights, so he couldn’t accompany her, but her children — 3-year-old Mia and 8-year-old Nito — came along on the visits.

“I’ve been encouraged by clergy to not simply give up something for Lent for the sake of giving it up,” said Garcia, about 30 days — and 30 neighbors — into her new ministry. “I was told to either give up something for my health or do something that is positive.”

Garcia doesn’t consider her neighborhood to be the safest in the city, and that strangers could make her nervous. Still, she believes the neighbor bond is important.


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