Diana Melendez

Published at 11:29AM. Written by Kelli Dion.

Cookies

When Diana moved into her apartment, she knew she wanted to get to know her neighbors long before Love Where You Live kicked off.

“I baked cookies for the whole building as an excuse to knock on people’s doors, but no one answered. I left Christmas cards and Easter invitations on doors with my information, but I never heard from anyone… I resigned myself to the idea I was never going to befriend my neighbors,” she said. But when she and the other young adult women in her small group started discussing neighboring last September, Diana decided it was time to try again. “I felt convicted I had given up so easily, knowing God had placed me in that particular apartment complex on purpose,” she said. “It lit a fire under me to try again.”

Diana “mustered up some courage” and went door to door, introducing herself to her neighbors. Most responded positively and were excited about her idea to have neighbor potluck dinners.

“What I thought would be another chore to add to my week became a blessing.”

Khushi, a Pakistani wife and mother, seemed wary of Diana at first. “Eventually, however, she took me up on my offer to help out with any needs,” Diana said. Khushi’s husband had been out of the country for five months tending to sick family back in Pakistan, leaving Khushi alone with her two small children and no driver’s license.

“My roommate and I began taking them grocery shopping, dropping the kids off at school when the carpool fell through, helping them find a free medical clinic… It broke my heart that she had been so lonely and in need for months and months while I was preoccupied with busyness,” Diana said.

Diana and her roommate formed a powerful bond with Khushi. “We went from being strangers to her calling me ‘sister’,” she said. “We’ve shared meals together, lots of laughs, and deep spiritual conversation… I’ve learned more about her Muslim faith and have explained to her who Jesus is, why I follow Him, and how He’s changed my life.”

“Building relationships with Khushi and her loving children has filled me with so much joy,” Diana said. “What I thought would be another chore to add to my week became a blessing”