In our Bethlehem community, we have a lot going for us!

This month, I’m excited to see our St. Patrick’s Day Balloons again. I have a visitor coming to stay in my house over the weekend and can’t wait to show off Belen.

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Stephanie Guerrero

Our amazing, founding heritage provides an anchor point for building a great future, but it’s up to us to carry a legacy of faith, family and a thriving community into the future. So, have you thought about your involvement? Yes, you!

Our city is made of individuals and each one carries the weight of citizenship. What have you and I done lately to make our community a better place? There are so many options that need our help. You might be saying, “What can I do?”

There are so many options. What makes you unique? Think about it a moment. If you live here, you bring your uniqueness into our community. I tell every student I teach that if you want something to change, what have you done about it?

Here are a few thoughts and suggestions:

• When you get out of your car, pick up a couple pieces of trash.

• Smile at people.

• Open a door for someone.

• Have a neighbor over for dinner.

• Get approval to serve at the high school day care to make a meal or rock a baby.

• Write a city councilor an encouraging note, and offer solutions instead of gripes.

• Donate school supplies to a local teacher.

• Pray for our local leaders daily.

• What comes out of your mouth either builds others up or tears them down. Be a person who builds others up.

• Let a car in front of you during traffic, even when you are in a hurry.

• The person in front of you at the grocery line is short on change. If you are able, pay the difference.

• Always be direct and speak truth, yet do it with graciousness and kindness.

• Register to vote.

• Visit the nursing home.

• Host a block party.

• If you are a person of faith … live like it.

• Keep your yard clean.

These are just a few ways that you and I can act neighborly. I bet you can think of a whole lot more ways to serve.

What if we all act on these thoughts this month? Wow!

John F. Kennedy once said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

In other words, it’s not about what Belen can do for you, but what you bring to Belen.

The same goes for the church you attend or the neighbors around you. Are you a good neighbor?

I’m working on it. I have a way to go. Sometimes, I get too wrapped up in my own world to take the time to check on my neighbors. I procrastinate. I want to do a better job, but actions speak louder than words.

Lastly, be the voice of reason and hope to someone with an ego or a wounded soul. People everywhere are hurting. Everyone has a need and a story to tell. Are you listening?

To the grocery clerk who never smiles and slams your purchases in the bag … do you see past the anger to a person whom life has slammed against the wall? A moment of understanding just might change the course of their day. You hear the phrases: Random Acts of Kindness, Pay It Forward.

The Bible speaks of not returning evil for evil, but overcoming evil with good.

Maybe you are the one who needs a listening ear, an understanding heart. Don’t wait for others to come to you. Be the change you are hoping for; find your hope in God’s Word — the Bible.

And know I am praying for you, for our community.

Good things are coming, but we need all hands-on-deck. We need you!

(Stephanie Guerrero is a local author of 10 novels. Her pastor husband of 27 years and their four children make “living the adventure” a joy.)

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