I gave this speech at a local Toastmaster meeting to share my experiences of going door-to-door.
March 9, 2014
Adventures of Door Knocking
Project #4: A Dramatic Talk
Have you ever knock on someone’s door to sell cookies, vacuums, or ask for a donation? What is it like to talk to strangers outside of your comfort zone?
For the last 10+ years, Andy Chuang and a small group of friends knocked on thousands of doors in Fresno and Madera to invite people to come to church.
His adventure is stranger than fiction. This morning he is going to share his stories with you.
Let’s welcome Andy.
Care about your neighbors and your community. It starts with knocking on some doors.
Don’t just stay home and watch TV. Truth is stranger than fiction. It’s more exciting and more adventuresome.
Your time and your attention are the best gifts you can share with others.
Going door to door to tell people they should follow Jesus and be involved in a fellowship is really an adventure because we never know how people will react. Many are nice, some brush you off, and some can be violent and dangerous.
For example, my friend Pat and I door knocked on the door of an apartment in Madera and met George the ex-liquor store robber. He said it’s a good thing we didn’t come on New Year’s eve. Last New Year’s eve he thought the world was coming to an end and he was holding a gun and waiting next to the door ready to shoot whoever knocked or tried to come into the house.
George had been in and out of jail for 14 years. His parents were addicts. As a child, his parents often used him to burglarize. They would throw him into a house through the window so he could open the front door from inside for them. But he often ran straight to the refrigerator and ate whatever he could find because he was so hungry. His parents would yell at him, “Open the ___ door!”
He told us that he once had a nightmare and severely beat up his wife, who was sleeping next to him, because he dreamed she was trying to kill him. He went to jail for that. So I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to stay in the same tent with him when we took him and his son camping a month later. It was all worth it, though, because he had never gone fishing or camping in his whole life and he was glad to be able to do these things with his son. He said, “I never knew I could have fun without alcohol and drugs.”
Another time, my friend Dave and I ran into an angry middle-aged man. We talked to this guy and give him a pamphlet. For some reason he suddenly became very upset and told Dave, “I’ll sock you!”
Dave turned to me and said, “We should go.”
English is not my first language, so I had to ask Dave, “What’s ‘sock you’?” We walked across the street and knocked on another door. But the angry guy followed us from a distance, pointing at us and yelling and cursing. Strangely I was not afraid but feel sorry and wonder if there was anything that could be done to help him.
The person I met door knocking that I miss the most is Ralph, the big, sensitive guy. He was at least 400 lbs., divorced, depressed, and growing bigger and bigger. He is the type of person who can be reached only by personal door-knocking. He was a very quiet and gentle person, good at crafting wooden things. He carved a wooden mouse for me. He said, “I know nothing about computers but I made this wooden mouse for you to put next to your computer.”
One night we took him to IHOP. The server asked him whether he wanted soup or salad. He was a bit offended and said, “You think I’m big, huh?” He thought she asked him if he wanted a “super salad.” We all had a good laugh.
Ralph was hard of hearing, so a personal visit was the only way to really communicate with him. Unfortunately I was without a car for a year and a half and my friend Dave was often sick. We didn’t visit Ralph for many months and then learned that he had passed away.
Door knocking is truly an adventure. I learned to communicate with people outside my comfort zone. I learned that everyone I meet is fighting a hard battle. And I learned to care about other people not just in concept, but in deed.
You might not have a message from God to deliver to others, but you can pay more attention to people around you and do small things to make their day a little better.
Try this: Go and knock on your neighbors’ doors. Say “Hi.” Introduce yourself. Tell them how nice their lawn looks or, if it’s not that nice, offer some help. Nothing shows you care like getting your hands dirty. You don’t have to travel far. You’ll find adventures right in your neighborhood. And you can make your community a better place.