As we have mentioned, the Lord has provided us an apartment for our 6 months here in Tacoma, WA. We spent a month adjusting to our home without wheels. That mainly involved spontaneous moments of jumping in circles just because we could. Then it was time to meet our neighbors! The plan of action- bring them red-velvet cake balls and introduce ourselves :)
We had never made cake balls before so it took a whole saturday for us to make over 100 (and of course sample many). We finally finished at 6:00 and set off to make besties! The first door we knocked on was opened by a short woman with wiry hair and a confused look on her face...probably thinking "what are these white teenagers doing at my door??" We jumped right into unrehearsed but enthusiastic introduction, "Hi! We're your new neighbors- Jenna and Stacie. We just wanted to meet you and bring you some cake balls!" (Visualize our cheesy smiles and an outstretch arm). She sternly responded, "Well I don't want to meet you" and slammed the door in our face. There we were....frozen in the overly excited/stunned split second rejection. Before we had time to snap out of our freeze frame, she slung the door open with a smile and let us in on her joke. Fewf! What a relief. Come to find out, her name is Missy and she is a ball of fun!! It was the prefect start to our awkward night :)
We went on to pass out cake balls to 22 of our neighbors. We got to chat with a few but mostly we briefly got their names and watched there initial creeped out faces turn to surprised flattered faces. We ended the night excited and encouraged. The huge praise was that the family beneath us came to our soup-er-bowl shindig and we found out they had already been connected with The Pathway. One of the little girls had accepted Jesus during a summer vbs put on in the courtyard of the complex. COOL! Unfortunately, they moved out less than a week later and we didn't get the chance to tell them goodbye...sad day.
Since then, we haven't made much progress in these new friendships. We've invited them to different things the church has done as well as attempted to invite them over for dinner to get to know them more. None of the above has succeeded but the cool thing is we know their names.
We were inviting those we had met to join us in one of our gatherings and after being rejected, we parted ways with a casual "bye Laurence." He looked a bit shocked and said, "You know my name?" He was genuinely uplifted by that simple intentional act. So although we haven't been able to deepen our friendships, we know their names. We get to walk in and out of the apartment and greet our neighbors by name which often time leads to general conversations held in passing. This may not result in deeper relationships but it's a step closer.
We aren't slowing down in being intentional. Instead, we are pushing forward. We're fighting to put a crack in the reclusive walls people build up in order to barricade themselves into a "safe place". We're walking the line of freaking people out/showing them that we were created for fellowship routed in love. We're trying to flood our apartment complex with the aroma of Christ and praying that God will give the growth exactly as he sees fit. And indeed he will.