By Karen Schleicher

When we moved I felt led to start a new Bible study group with people who lived in our area, and yet I felt the timing was not yet right.

One day a couple neighbors invited me to come walk with them at 6:00 each morning.  I took them up on the offer and began to get to know them as we walked our dogs each morning.  Our conversations wandered to many topics…kids’ Christmas gift lists, housecleaning tips, trips to the Ukraine, the strange occurrence of fragile translucent frog skeletons that were flattened all over the road....

But one February I had been thinking that it was finally time to bring up the idea of a Bible study for neighbors.  All along the road I wanted to bring up the topic, but it wasn’t until we were halfway home that I finally succeeded.

“You know, I was thinking it would be cool to start a group that could meet for the six weeks of Lent and study the Bible together.”  I knew that these women went to churches that observed Lent.  One of the women responded right away that the idea intrigued her.  “I don’t know anything about how to do that though.”  I let her know that I knew of a printed discussion guide that would help us go through the study in a small group.  We agreed that she would invite a few people and that I would invite some too.

Over the next week I prayed, and then people came to mind.  I’m not very outgoing, and the people I invited were acquaintances more than they were close friends of mine, but I sensed the Lord’s presence as I called some people and talked with others in person.  I hardly knew a woman named Pat, but something told me to bring up the idea as we were waiting in a hallway during an orchestra competition.  To my surprise she was interested and was thinking through how she could manage coming.

When the Trial Meeting day came, there were nine women in my kitchen getting coffee and refreshments, and everyone was getting acquainted.  I was tickled when Pat said, “When we get started, can we each tell why we’re here, because I really want to tell my story!”  Then, not waiting for everyone to sit down, she rushed on, “I felt so honored that Karen would invite me to come.  We just knew each other from kids’ soccer games and orchestra concerts, but when she invited me, I felt so impressed that she wanted me to come be in a discussion group with her!”