It's already August, can you believe it? This whole thing started a year ago. I remember back in November thinking that August was so far away but the time surely has flown by. We were hoping to be moving around mid August, but we've been praying for God to provide a place for us to live. He surely did in His own timing. Now our official move date is September 1st.
So starting next month I will be employed by Multiply Church! I am so excited and also terrified, but God has been so good so far. The biggest way that God has provided lately is through our living situation. We were very nervous about finding a place to live, a typical two bedroom apartment can rent for at least $1500/month. But we were mainly worried about finding the right place. The goal was to find a place close to the Shawnessy community. We wanted to be able to connect with our neighbors and love on them so that we can help the Multiply Team grow the church.
Layne and I were online searching for that apartment every night until our friend Holly called us with an amazing opportunity called Apartment Life. Apartment Life is an American, faith-based, non-profit, organization that provides an amazing service for apartment complexes. They started in the U.S. in 2000 and have been very successful with their partnerships. Now they decided to expand it to Canada, calling it 10:27 Apartment Neighbors. They already have two location in Alberta, and Layne and I will be the first in Calgary.
He answered, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself." Luke 10:27
10:27 Apartment Neighbors got its name from Luke 10:27. Their ultimate goal is to set up opportunities to love on your neighbors. So how it works is a property management company can choose to hire Apartment Life. The only thing they will have to do is give Apartment Life an apartment unit for the Community Coordinators to live in. The Community Coordinators, or Cares Team, will pay about 30% of the market rent to Apartment Life to secure the two year commitment from the team. A Cares Team is two people, (typically a Husband and Wife) that each work 10 hours a week on caring for the community. The biggest job is to plan two fun and exciting events a month for everyone who lives in the building. Next is to be a welcoming comity for any new residents and revisit anyone who's lease is about to expire. They gather any information they learn from those conversations and report it back to the staff of the complex to help them improve down the road.
Studies show that most people living in an apartment don't even know their neighbors. But the more friends that person has within their building, the more willing that person is to stay longer, even when the rent goes up. If someone decides to move out of the building, it costs the company a lot of money to move them out, clean the apartment, and advertise the opening. Then they are not guaranteed someone moving in quickly. But by partnering with Apartment Life, they are recruiting someone to live in the building and create a sense of community. That cares team is trained to connect people and create friendships, thus helping the bottom line.
Layne and I have been through the extensive interview process and were approved as a Cares Team. The next step was placement, so we went up to Calgary in July. We planned this trip a long time ago because we wanted to look for apartments and actually see the place before we move in. So the Apartment Life team was so helpful in rushing the process for us so that we could have a live interview with an apartment complex. We felt like the interview went really well but we had to wait for the decision. One week later God answered our prayer and we have been accepted by a complex called Auburn Landing.
We are very excited to be a part of 10:27 Apartment Neighbors, it is definitely an answer to prayer. We were already hoping to become close to our neighbors, but were not sure how to do that. We did not want to be that creepy neighbor that randomly knocks on their door, but now thankfully we will get to do that without being creepy! People will be way more willing to let us come in and form that relationship with them. Now, Auburn Landing is located in the Auburn Bay community right on the Southeast edge of the city, (the edge for now, the city is still growing). It is a little further from Multiply than we were hoping, as a matter a fact, it is closer to two other church plants, Junction and Southwinds. But we talked to Chris (Pastor at Multiply) and he views apartment life as an extension to the ministry at Multiply. Our goal in Calgary is not to grow Multiply, it is to grow the Kingdom.
All the church planters and team members in Calgary are like one big family. I remember when we went up there the first time, Layne and I had dinner with a bunch of them. We literally had never met any of them but we felt like we were having dinner with old friends. Later in that trip we had coffee with two other girls, one of them joked that she would love to be Thad's unofficial Canadian aunt. Since she lives in Auburn Landing too, I plan to hold her to it. Layne and I will be happy to send some of the residents to Junction or Southwinds. I know that we have the Multiply team but I am also excited to be a part of the whole team in Calgary. Which is making the move to Calgary a little easier. I'll be honest, as the date comes closer, my nerves are going through the roof. We just posted Louie (my car) up for sale, and started looking for one way tickets to Canada. These are scary things. I love my family, our church, and friends here in Jackson, and will miss them dearly, but man I am excited for moving to Canada! I cannot wait to be a part of what God is doing up there.
There are still a few things that need prayer:
1. Layne still needs to find a job, so pray that the perfect opportunity arises for him.
2. With that 70% discount on our rent we are now at about 60% of our monthly support goal. So pray that about 60 more people will fall in love with Calgary and want to be a part of the ministry by giving $25 a month.
3. Pray for our families, as September 1st approaches, the reality of us leaving will start to sink in.
4. Multiply is wrapping up a very busy summer, they had a lot of summer camps and will be recovering from the months hard work. Pray that their efforts will be worth it, and that they will get some well deserved rest.