Leading by Example as an Engaged Neighbor in Rural Missouri

I could have never imagined winning an award like this less than two years after moving!  
In January of 2021 we loaded what would fit in our truck and headed from Oregon to southwest Missouri.  Never did I imagine what blessings I would find there in the Ozarks, and how neighboring would become such an important part of our new life.

A Life of Neighboring

Having moved many times in my life starting at the age of 17, I never had fully engaged in neighboring the way I did in 2021 after we moved to rural southwest Missouri.  I tell a small amount of that story which I call God's Love Letter, here.  We moved somewhere we knew no one.  No friends or family were there, no business connections, nothing.  

If you missed my Adventures in Neighboring and Ways to Build Community in Your Neighborhood blogs, you will see a few of the ways that I have been intentionally neighboring since buying our home in April 2021.

Fast forward to October 2022, and I won what?!?

Most Engaged Neighbor in Missouri

As my friend Jon Acuff first taught me about the brag table, we need to share about our successes and accomplishments.  So today I am pulling up a chair to celebrate with friends and neighbors about the amazing things that we are creating together in Craig Hollow.

My dear neighbor Sonja has become a friend and such a blessing since we first met.  I was so touched by what she wrote in her nomination for this award:

Echo Alexzander (Highlandville, Christian County) - "Echo is new to our rural neighborhood. She has become the catalyst for what is developing into a robust rural neighborhood group, helping to form strong bonds of friendship and generosity that cross barriers of culture and generation. I first met Echo when she drove up to my property and introduced herself as a new neighbor over the ridge. I should have done that for her, but she took the initiative. She is always seeking to serve others and connect people. We have shared gardening experiences and life events. Echo also has organized cleanup along our country roads and hosted demonstrations of homesteading skills. Echo organized our first Craig Hollow Neighbor Reunion in April, where 32 neighbors gathered. She recorded contact information for those attending. Using that information, we scheduled a second Neighbor Reunion on Oct. 1. I can think of no one else in my six decades of life on this planet who deserves this honor more!"

I was so thankful for her partnership in neighboring efforts, I nominated Sonja as well and she won the Best of Rural Missouri Award!

"Craig Hollow Neighbor Reunion was hosted Oct. 3 by Sonja Baldwin of Highlandville. They passed out flyers to their rural neighbors and had a barbecue attended by 32 people ages 1 to 92. Neighbors chatted in groups and switched around to meet each other. Everyone brought side dishes or desserts, and the hosts provided the meat. Sign-up sheets were provided to get contact information for emergencies. This was the second reunion held this year. Co-organizer Echo Alexander wrote, 'Craig Hollow is a very rural valley that covers small corners of Ozark, Nixa and Highlandville with few connected roads! The momentum created at our first event in April has become contagious!'"

Grab the entire list of incredible Missouri neighbors in their news release here.

What are your favorite ways to neighbor?  Comment below, I would love to hear them!

Information courtesy of Echo Alexzander


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