Anyone Else’s Neighbors Trying to Convert Them?

First note
1st note received

Ed. Note: I’m sure Anita means well but I’ve never heard of anything like this before. Though, when I first moved to Petworth I was occasionally asked (in person) to join in some Church services (I’m Jewish) so I politely declined and I don’t feel like anyone was offended. It actually felt quite neighborly and not aggressive at all and when I declined my wishes were respected. But this is a whole different level.

“Dear PoPville,

I have been getting these funny (at first) but now creepy notes from an evangelical.

Our house seems to be the only one getting targeted since neighbors haven’t seen anything like this. Are other people in Petworth are being targeted?

At the very least, the three notes are pretty entertaining to read but they’re starting to freak out my wife. Especially since she’s addressing us by name and we’ve never met.

We are not Buddhists and i’m not sure where she got that idea. My wife and I, however, are from India hence ‘boota’ and the Cosby reference to ‘minorateas'”

Second note
2nd note received

Third note
3rd note received

159 Comment

  • Dear Neighbor,

    Here is a DVD starring a rapist. Jesus loves you.


  • This reads like a punking. “Jesus’s love is sweeter than candy. Here is some candy.” ??? I wouldn’t be surprised if someone is setting up a buzzfeed humor post.
    And no, our neighbors have never tried to convert us. One of my kids asked a neighbor once if she could go to church with her (she wore AMAZING hats, and when I told the kid they were church hats, well, church suddenly became a very desirable location); the neighbor was super nice and said of course she would love to take us to her church, but then sold up and moved away before we got it scheduled.

  • Any idea what church this person goes to? If so maybe you could talk to someone there who could get Anita the help she needs. I’d be freaked out too.

  • How offensive. Never heard of this sort of thing…. Maybe you need to get a dog so that Anita is not inclined to leave you her solicitations…?

  • “[Jesus’s] love is sweeter than any candy. Here is some candy.”
    I am dying here…. tears are streaming down my face as I laugh my ass off!

  • I suggest you simply return the favor and leave Anita a bottle of Jack Daniels and a DVD of “Blue Velvet”

  • Is there not any way to just politely tell her you are not interested? It’s not creepy unless you tell her no thanks and then she keeps it up. Just be nice. She sound like a simple person with a simple faith and no bad intention.

    • +1

      It’s easy to take it lightly when it’s not my neighbors we’re talking about, but still…

      How is “tell the neighbor, ‘no, thank you,'” not option #1?

    • epric002

      disagree. the lady at the metro who offers you a pamphlet and you say no thank you and that’s the end of it is not creepy. this level of proselytizing is creepy.

      • So the neighbor is a weirdo… So what?

        Maybe she *should* know that the OP doesn’t appreciate her gestures, but if he hasn’t actually said it, I don’t think there is any other remotely reasonable option.

        • +1. Assuming this isn’t a prank (and I would take it seriously in the meantime), I would respond with a polite, but firm “no thank you” to these advances, ideally in person. I might not make a special trip to her house to say this, but I would seek out an opportunity to say this to her face so she can see how serious I was about nor being interested.

        • epric002

          it’s not clear that the OP knows who anita is or where she lives. anita is leaving notes for them, presumably when they’re not home. i would assume (yes, i know) that if the OP knew anita that a) anita probably wouldn’t be leaving weird notes like this, and b) the OP would feel comfortable asking anita to please stop. but i’ve been wrong before…

          • the OP doesn’t know who Anita is. He specifically says so:

            “At the very least, the three notes are pretty entertaining to read but they’re starting to freak out my wife. Especially since she’s addressing us by name and we’ve never met.”

          • Anon, OP does not specifically say so. The fact that they’ve never met doesn’t mean he doesn’t know who she is. For example: Barack Obama, I’ve never met him but I know who he is.

          • Who is Barack Obama?

  • Step 1 – that’s funny
    Step 2 – that’s obnoxious
    OK, now I’m caught up with you.
    Seriously, who thinks that kind of proselytizing is really going to work? It just makes me dislike you and your religion more.
    I try to be polite to those who do come around (“Please don’t ever come here again. Thank you, have a great day!”), but it’s never been a direct neighbor or that persistent.
    PS. Please take me to your boota – I would like to worship it.
    PPS. COSBY?? Whoa.

    • I would rather she take me to her “poota,” which she apparently wrote on the second note before changing the p to a b.
      Going back and reading the notes with poota instead of boota is killing me. Now I’m picturing a cross between Buddah and Peeta from Hunger Games. Does poota want to make out with Katniss? Probably not.

  • Boota? Genius. “Yes, but he has the faith of a child…”

  • Do you know where she lives? Could you leave her a note (and maybe some candy) saying “dear Anita, thank you for the notes but we are not interested. Take care!”

  • Poor Anita, wants to make sure you don’t end up in hell with Boota, what a sad person. I get pissy when people wish me a blessed day. When I got to DC was really put off by people asking me if I had a home church. Grew up in NYC where certain questions were not asked and we were all Jewish during the high holy days.

  • Wings-of-Pastrami

    Leave Anita a copy of Slayer’s “Season of the Abyss” and some Cthulhu Mints.

  • Ally

    Free religious mints and the Cosby show!?! What more do you want?! Normally I’d be really offended by this kind of behavior from a neighbor, but between the typos and the weird gifts, I kind of think it’s awesome. I’d say that you’re considering converting but that you need another Cosby DVD to be absolutely sure.

  • Assume goodwill and intent.

  • When my boyfriend lived in The Woodner, Jehova’s Witnesses did the rounds pretty regularly. We’d come home to pamphlets under his door for a while, all written in Ethiopian. When he (a skinny white guy) finally answered the door one time, they said “…oh. You’re…probably not interested.” Don’t think they stopped by again. They were very pleasant, though!

    • jim_ed

      During the nicer weather, the Jehovah’s Witnesses hit our block once every 6 weeks or so. Always very nice, but always want to chat.

      • I will see Mormons riding their bikes up 14th street all the time. I assume they are Mormons since they have the white shirt/black tie, bike helmet. I base my stereotyping on the Book of Mormon musical.

        • burritosinstereo

          When I was moving into my building in Petworth (over a year ago now) I would regularly see Mormon kids either taking a break (we have a bench-like ledge outside the building) or see their bikes chained up to the fence, so I assumed they were in the building making the rounds. I only spoke with them once – they saw me moving shit in by myself and REALLY wanted to help (I think they were being genuine and not trying to get an “in” to preach to me) but I knew that if I accepted, I would have to hear them out, and I REALLY didn’t want to do that. The last thing I wanted after a long day of moving was to get an earful of how much Jesus loves me and wants me to pop out a billion kids so we can all be together in heaven for eternity.

          • I once got accosted by a pair of young Morman missionaries at a train station in rural France. They were speaking good French but sounded American; when I told them I only spoke Spanish, they switched to fluent Spanish. It was pretty impressive!

            That said, talking about the angel Moroni sounds even more ludicrous in Spanish than it does in English.

          • @Lerner, how long ago was that? I had that situation on my mission in France. I suspect you weren’t the person we were talking to, but if so, I apologize.

            I was much younger then and wanted to talk to people more than I cared about converting people. As a gay atheist who has since left Mormonism, I am just glad that we baptized as few people as we did.

        • I go the other way. I will happily listen to the spiel and get them one body closer to their quota, in exchange for some help. Living near a mormon church, I’ve had the missionaries carry my groceries, haul a big stroller up the stairs, and dig my car out. They’re very pleasant, and after a two-minute speech and a pamphlet-transfer, we’re done. I’ve never had one get pushy.

        • hasa diga eebowai

        • I find the Mormons rather pleasant, actually. Most aren’t horribly aggressive, and they’re incredibly polite. I will always decline the religious parts, but am happy to offer them a glass of water and wish them safe travels.

          • As a former door-to-door canvasser (of the political/environmental, not religious variety) I want to say thank you for being a pleasant human being. That kind of work is really hard and emotionally exhausting, so it’s good when people like you reaffirm our faith in humanity–that people can be friendly even if they disagree with you.

      • Agree. Jehovah’s Witnesses are very nice people, even their little ones are well behaved and they know the Bible well. Ask them any question and they will take you to the Bible for the answer. That’s not Jehovah’s Witnesses pamphlet/booklet above. You can see all their literature on

  • It’s weird that “Anita” keeps leaving the OP these notes, even though they’ve never met. Does the OP know whether she’s a neighbor? If she is, then the OP needs to tread a little more carefully than if Anita is some random proselytizer who materialized from nowhere.
    I’d suggest leaving a note (I guess? not sure if calling her is a good idea…) saying something like, “Thanks, but we’re not interested” and possibly “Please respect our wish not to be proselytized.”
    If that doesn’t stop the notes, read Gavin de Becker’s “The Gift of Fear” — not that I think Anita is a weird stalker, but the book has some broadly applicable advice on dealing with people who won’t take no for an answer.

    • It’s not hard to look up an address in DC Real Estate Records database and find out a name. But you would think that if “Anita” were Internet-savvy enough to do that she would know how to spell things correctly.

    • Allison

      I dunno, judging by the look of the notes, their content, and delivery, I’m gonna say she’s old and just a touch crazy. Possibly got their names from looking in their mailbox. Leaving a “thanks but no thanks” note is probably not going to be effective. It might incite MORE notes from her.

        • It has to be some sweet little old lady who thought she was being clever by opening up the OP’s mailbox, reading the name, and writing them a personal note or personal plea to find Jesus. I’m pretty sure the violation of Federal Law by looking at the OPs mail was ends justifies the means in her head. Nothing malicious just thought she would be more effective with a personal handwritten note.

  • tonyr

    I’m surprised that noboby in this crowd has objected to one of the people being referred to as “wife” as if she didn’t have any other identity; so I guess I’ll be the first. On a lighter note, when I saw “call me Anita” I thought of “don’t call me Shirley” and am still giggling.

    • That’s what you find objectionable about this whole sequence? Really?

      • tonyr

        Do you think that Mary Shelly would be happy about being referred to as Percy’s missus? Really?

        • All three notes and choice of offering seem to be awkward and weird and the ramblings of a “special” person. So I am not sure I find that wording any more objectionable.

  • hammers

    These messages have all the indicators of malicious phishing email. Poor spellings, “attachments”, attempts at social enginering…except, ya know, they are in real life.

  • Thinking of Crazy Eyes in “Orange Is The New Black”.

  • Used to be an interracial Gay couple. One was white, other was Asian. One day the white guy was working in the yard and a well dressed African-American woman came up to him and asked if an Asian guy was living at our address. He said yes, didn’t mention the gay thing or any of that and she left him a pamphlet about the word of god, blah blah blah.

    Nothing about the gay thing, just that the Asian guy needed to learn the word of god.

    Probably the same woman or from the same congregation.

  • This looks similar to booklets that a woman used to leave at my house. I met her a few times when she came to my door during the week, and other times she would just leave the booklets or pamphlets. I have also seen her out knocking on doors in my neighborhood near H Street NE. I haven’t seen her around for several months, and the locations are different, so it could be a different person. If I recall correctly, the woman who visited my house was a Jehovah’s Witness. She would go door-to-door in church clothes and often had another older lady and a young woman with her. FWIW, the lady I met was well meaning and always very nice. I would take her booklets and she would promise to come back the next week to discuss with me (I have issues with saying no to people), but I was never at home when she would stop by again.

    • I think the difference is that your example if they just left the booklet that’s one thing. In this case, the person knows their name and is leaving gifts. That’s a few steps deeper into the accept Jesus or I will wear your skin kinda crazy if you know what I mean.

  • I nominate this as a regular feature: Weird crap your well-meaning neighbor does
    Appreciate the laugh!

  • Did OP actually try some of the candy? Was it heavenly?

  • This would totally freak me out. This is like some next level proselytizing…

    Although to quote TX Gov Perry “Religious Freedom does not mean freedom from religion” = infuriating

    • When I was a kid and we’d just moved to the Texas panhandle, we got house calls from many neighbors asking us what church we’d be attending–not *if* we’d be attending church, but what church.

      When we moved to West Texas, it was the Mormon missionaries who wanted to ensure that we were not being “deceived” by our pastors…never suspecting (…mostly because my mother was too polite to tell them) that we were not religious.

      When I was in college, two of the guys on my dorm floor kept scores on our “rightness” with God and would not only try get us to improve our scores but would try to shame us for being unrepentant sinners if we didn’t hew to their notions of faith and religiosity. (As an admitted agnostic, I had about the worst score of anyone on my floor).

      Long-story-short…you can’t get away from proselytizing. For those who in engage in it, it’s part of who they are, and…it’s still creepy.

      • I lived in Tennessee and the same thing. The assumption is that you were a Christian. When I went to college in Alabama, the same thing. It is a little strange to see this as aggressively here in DC. There are some people who stand in Metro but this kind of targeting is a little creepy.

      • What college did you go to where these guys weren’t mercilessly tormented?

        • Allison

          I can name any number of colleges in Texas (one of which I attended) where this behavior would not cause people to bat an eye.

          • I think I’d last 72 hours, tops. I had a very different college experience, but we did have a pair of brothers who were kind of like that. I remember being in my dorm’s common room and one of them pointed to my t-shirt (I think it was Dead Kennedys, but it could have been another band) and said something about it being the devil’s music. It took me a good long time to realize he wasn’t kidding.

          • Allison

            Sometime in my third year I developed something between learned helplessness, pity, and tolerance to cope.

      • Allison

        One of the many reasons I don’t miss living in Texas — having to lie about what church I go to (or that I go to church) just to avoid having the same horrible conversation over and over again.

      • I’d like to think (but can’t guarantee) that even in college, I’d not have tormented people simply for being Mormon – as long as they left me alone. However, “two of the guys on my dorm floor kept scores on our “rightness” with God and would not only try get us to improve our scores but would try to shame us for being unrepentant sinners if we didn’t hew to their notions of faith and religiosity” would have led to truly epic pranks and retaliation. If they thought “rightness” scores were low before, imagine what they’d have sunk to after a garbage can full of . . . let’s say yellow-colored water was leaned against their dorm room door so it dumped inward when they opened it.

      • What I want to know about the “rightness” scores is… what was the scoring system? Was it like those purity tests with yes/no questions? Or did you start with a given number of points and then they got subtracted for swearing, not going to church, etc.?

  • My first response to this was “Holy. Shit.” And then I laughed because…that’s what it is!

  • I think it’s sweet and she means well – you should call her, like she requests, and say you’re not interested. I have people come to my door and ask if I believe in God and I just say yes and they hand me materials but nothing beyond that. Nothing forceful at all.

  • Sorry, I am still LOLing at the great spelling of Buddha.
    Buddha’s got a great booty!


  • Given the Cosby connection, I’d be verrrry careful about eating that candy (if you were otherwise inclined to accept candy from strangers).

  • This is CLEARLY the work of that dog-hating owner of 350 Bakery. No, just flame baiting. This is hilarious.

  • Why isn’t anyone asking the obvious question here? Did you watch the DVD?

  • Yo!! this is beyond bizzare!! DON’T EAT THE CANDY and try LEAVE A NOTE TELLING TO CEASE AND DISIST… The bad spelling was the first clue of (possible)crazy

    • Well, if you’re going to bring up bad spelling, I think you mean “desist”. And while we’re on (possible)crazy, the CAPS…

    • I think Anita’s goal is to get them into heaven, not accelerate them getting into heaven.

  • But seriously though, do people put “No Soliciting” signs on their doors? Do people honor that request? I considered putting one up, but it does seem very un-neighborly and unfriendly. I don’t want to be one of those “Git Off my Lawn” kinda people, especially if they are offering Jesus candy, but still.

    • Yeah, I don’t want to scare off organizations I actually like and support. There is a “no religious solicitation” sign out there, but I’m not keen to feed anyone’s persecution complex either.

      • Right, and there’s certainly a lot of perceived religious persecution these days. Not looking to suppress your religious freedom, just looking for you not to trample on my tulips as you do it.

    • Yes, people do put no soliciting signs on their doors and I’m sure some people honor that request while others don’t. It’s like asking if having a gnome in your yard is more attractive to solicitors or not. Git off my lawn!!! Unless you have Jesus candy!!!

    • These work about as well as the Do Not Call Registry works.

  • Priceless!
    We get nutty religious proselytizers on my block regularly. Most of them buzz off if you politely tell them you’re not interested. For the rest, there’s a very fine flyer you can find on the internet analogizing religion to a certain body part: it’s fine to have one, it’s fine to be proud of it – but please don’t wave it around in public or try to shove it down my throat or… you get the idea. It’s a very effective proselytizing tool for the church of “leave me the heck alone.”

  • justinbc

    I would print out a copy of this PoPville post and tape it to a nearby sign post asking if anyone knows who the hell keeps doing this.

  • I don’t care if this is a hoax… is anyone else reading this in Tommy Wisseau’s voice as the lines from a deleted scene in “The Room?”

  • Allison

    Also the URL for this post made me lol.

  • What about correcting the misspellings and grammar in red and leaving the notes where she can find them the next time she comes around? Maybe include a grammar school English book and and tell her spelling and grammar are sweet like candy.

  • Fortunately I am not religious and have no guilt about telling a big old lie.

    I’d find her and tell her that FYI, I am a born again baptized faithful Jesus loving Christian minoritea who would never worship the evil horrible BootaPoota. Return the DVD because you already have the box set of Seasons 1-8 signed by the entire cast and also return the candy because your wife is an uncontrollable diabetic.

    If this does not shut her up, start yelling about how dare she assume you are not Christian and use the following bible verses. You can also just use the book and verse without the verse that’ll really get her head spinning.

    Matthew 7:1 Do not judge, or you too will be judged.
    Luke 6:37 Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

    You probably won’t do this, but if you do, please put it on youtube.

  • Dear Anita,

    Thank you for informing me about god. I once had an imaginary friend too! Except he was a robot from the planet Cybertron that turned into an 18 wheeler.

    Blessed be,

    Common Sense

    • No need to be disrespectful of someone’s religion. Anita is likely what my Southern friends would call “touched”, but there’s no need to disparage people who believe in God.

      • I do not get this at all. She’s obviously bullying and shoving her beliefs down people’s throats but don’t say anything bad about her religion. What if it was Avon instead? Would people get your finger shaken at them if they said the stuff was crap?

        • This is an important point: why do religions get a pass for certain behavior? If you believe that religious messages are no more inherently valid or worthwhile than commercial ones, then why not given them the same treatment you’d give an intrusive, overly-pushy salesperson?
          The “touched” part, however, is also important. This woman doesn’t seem to be all there and a little understanding might go a long way.

        • There’s no need to belittle/mock anyone. Just say you’re not interested.

  • Why do I hear Anitas voice as Mr. Hanky. “Don”t forget to brush your teeth! , Call me!!”

  • Can you give me Anita’s number so that I can talk to Jesus, through her?

  • i bet Anita drives a car with Maryland plates….

  • Blithe

    I’m really surprised by the all the vitriol. If we assume this is not a prank, and, for the sake of the discussion, I will, a simple initial response would be to address it directly. The OP didn’t mention if Anita actually gave contact information. If she did or if he can meet her face to face, just acknowledge what appear to be her well-meaning intentions, gently and firmly say that he has his own faith (without going into details about what that “faith” might be, and say directly that he’d prefer not to receive any more of her literature. Then see if she complies.
    Or just ignore it. The same way you would spam and junk mail and other types of personalized targeted marketing.

    • Agreed, it’s just some kind, gentle woman, I am thinking an older female version of Ned Flanders doing her thing.

      • +1 agreed. Perhaps OP should write Anita a note (assuming he has her contact info), kindly indicating he isn’t interested, but appreciates her passion? I don’t think ignoring her will work – it might even encourage her. Also give her back the Cosby DVD. No doubt that this is super strange, kind of creepy though.

        • Blithe

          My thought was that writing a note would engage her more — and might prompt even more booklets and proselytizing. My hope would be that saying, kindly, “I respect and admire your faith, please respect the fact that I, too, am a person of “faith” — might be an effective way of getting a message across to a person whose enthusiasm has exceeded her ability to assess and acknowledge other people’s boundaries.
          I don’t find this creepy — in part because it’s not happening to me; in part because the booklet is a common publication that many churches have as freebies; and because I see nothing approaching a threat in any of this. I too, am imagining someone who is kindly — if misguidedly — attempting to share something that she believes and values with people that she regards as neighbors.

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