It was the Wednesday morning before youth camp and one of my teammates was walking me through the unique qualities of her home. I was going to care for her apartment while she was away. One of the things mentioned was that perhaps she would leave me a few bags of clothes to bring down to the trash bins. People use the trash bin as a second hand shop of sorts. If items are placed next to the bins, they are generally not trash but are no longer wanted by the original owner. After this meeting I had about 15 days of youth camp. My brain turned into oatmeal and I had no memory of anything that she had told me, and I couldn’t find where I had written it all down. The first few times I was able to stop in after camp I saw two bags of cloths next to her door in the entrance way that she shares with her neighbor. At first I left them, not being sure if they where in fact hers or not. Curious, I wrote her an e-mail, knowing that she was traveling and it might be a while befor she could get back to me. But there the bags where every time I stopped in. One day I decided that they must be hers so I took them and put them in my car. I drove around with those bags for a few days, still uneasy about giving them away without being sure. Within that time I had come and gone from the apartment a few times and the neighbors, who I had not yet met, had not come out to yell at me, so I figured that the bags did not belong to the neighbors. I finally left them by the trash bins and drove off. When I went past the bins a few hours latter the bags where already gone. A few days latter I received an e-mail from my teammate, “Don’t take the bags, they’re not mine! But you have probably figured that out by now.” WHAT!!!??? The next day, with great trepidation, I rapped on the neighbor’s door. I introduced myself and they appeared to be quite nice. Then I pointed to the dreaded corner where the bags had been placed and said, “there were two bags…” Before I could go on they exclaimed, “oh it was you that took them, don’t worry we were going to give them away anyway.” I practically leaped for joy, “Praise the Lord!”
I wouldn’t suggest this as a missionary strategy but it worked for me. Want to meet your neighbors? Steal from them. And now my little neighbor raps on my door with more bags of things, asking me if I know someone who can use this or that and to please take it to someone.