Anticipating our move from Anaconda, I was compelled to pray for our future neighbors. I could hardly wait to find out who they were, to practice loving them as Christ asked. Perhaps because I failed at loving our neighbors in Anaconda, I craved a fresh start. So every time the excitement of a new neighborhood came to mind, I prayed for our neighbors. I prayed that God would land us in exactly the place he wanted us. I admit, I had trepidation about it. I thought (leaning on my own understanding) that this compulsion to pray for future neighbors could only mean that they would be difficult to get along with. The first time we drove by the neighborhood, someone passed without smiling and waving (why would they, at a stranger?). That caused me to insecurely imagine that they wouldn't welcome newcomers, and hated kids. Against my control, we made an offer without meeting everybody.
Now that we've had a chance to meet the neighbors, I am knocked off my feet at God's grace. These neighbors welcome the 4 new families that moved in this summer (yes, it does help the HOA dues to fill the vacant houses, too!). New or old, these are the kind of neighbors who help one another out. They say, "call me if you need an egg or butter". They give us a tour of the horse barn, and show the kids the baby foals in the inner pasture. These are the kind that loan tractors, offer that the children can bike on their circular drive, invite to join their organic food co-op, invite you in for ice cream when you stop to say hi, and offer babysitting when they see your hands full. They are the kind I would trust because they are believers of Christ. They are the kind that heartily support homeschooling, and the families are large. There are parents of 9, parents of 5, parents of 3, and retirees who love their grandchildren.
Maybe it's Montana. Maybe it's luck. Maybe its just a huge answer to a feeble prayer, from a gracious and loving God who always says, "You have no idea what I have in store for you!"