by Katelyn Keeling
Linda Schuchmann baked a plate of cookies. She neatly penned her contact information on a notepad. She walked one street over and knocked on the front door.
Schuchmann had no idea what to expect when she and her husband moved into their neighborhood in Temple eight years ago, but she knew that the Lord was calling her heart to be passionate about getting to know her neighbors.
“Because I visit around a lot, I’ve found that our neighborhood is full of people from India who are Hindu,” Schuchmann said. “We have people from all kinds of backgrounds.”
Whenever Schuchmann goes walking, she carries around a scripture card so she can memorize it as she exercises. The cards procure curiosity and questions from her neighbors, and thus creates spaces for her to share the gospel.
“The Lord has a verse in my mind already to share,” Schuchmann said. “Many of my Hindu neighbors have heard the gospel [because of this]. They know that I love the Lord Jesus and that he’s made a big change in my life and often they’re very curious. They want to know about a lot of things pertaining to Christianity.”
The foundation of Schuchmann’s neighborhood ministry was laid by her first four years of pointed, intentional investing in the people around her with baked goods, kindness, availability and prayer. She was so invested in her neighbors that when she and her husband went to Ukraine on a mission trip, their absence was noticed.
“When I was walking one day after I got home from Ukraine, one of my Hindu neighbors said, ‘Where have you been? I haven’t seen you walking!’ So, I told her I’d been to Ukraine,” Schuchmann said. “Well, that opened up a flood of questions.”
Her Hindu neighbor wanted to know why she’d been in Ukraine in the first place, and when Schuchmann replied that they had gone “to share the love of Jesus,” her neighbor began asking questions about baptism, Christmas and Easter.
“Because the Lord had given me a heart to share the Lord with my neighbors, the gospel and lots of verses came pouring out of me,” Schuchmann said. “We stood there for a long time, her asking and me telling. I finally [told her] that the Lord has given me a desire to have a Bible study. I started asking some other neighbors if they’d be interested in a Bible study. In the end, we had about fifteen or sixteen ladies in our home every Tuesday evening.”
Thus, Schuchmann’s weekly neighborhood Bible study ministry was born. On the first night, she felt called to share her testimony and noticed that one woman in particular was moved to tears by her story.
“She had some quizzical looks on her face that told me this gal needs to talk some more,” Schuchmann said, “so I called her and sure enough, she wanted to know a lot more and accepted Christ.”
Since the Bible study began four years ago, three people have come to Christ, the neighborhood has witnessed miracles, the power of prayer, and some of her neighbors have even begun to attend First Temple.
“There have been all kinds of opportunities to minister,” Schuchmann said, “so the Lord has not only given us a heart to love our neighbors, but to share the love of God with our neighbors and to pray for our neighbors.”
In the fall of 2015, this ministry through her neighbors expanded into a second Bible study on Wednesday nights at First Temple. She leads both groups into deeply enriched studies of scripture and theology to satisfy the hungering curiosities of the women who attend. Eventually, the women’s hunger to get deeper into the word and theology became difficult to satisfy, so she began to dig into one of classic theologian Andrew Murray’s books on prayer. She discovered that the the book was full of “rich and deep material [she] had never heard of before,” so she created a study guide with questions to help the group work through the content.
First Temple member Maria Maldonado attends Schuchmann’s Wednesday night bible study.
“The class has given me hope,” Maldonado said. “The class is helping me to know God, how to talk to Him and tell him the truth of my heart, and know that He is there to answer me, my prayers and all of my needs.”
Currently, Schuchmann is teaching both Bible studies on the content of Andrew Murray’s book through her meticulously written study guides.
You can attend her Bible study at First Temple on Wednesday nights at 6 P.M.