I (Tim) totally plagiarized this title from a recent post by my friend Jessica Newman – hope that’s okay, Jessica.
As you all know by now, Tuesday, Oct.18, was our last day in Fredericton, NB. We came to Fredericton just about two years ago, following an unexpected pregnancy that threw an indomitable wrench into our plans to go teach English in Korea (more on that here). Pursuing a brief opportunity to help my brother-in-law out with his construction company – which it turned out was just a plot by Kathryn’s sister Pamela to get us in the same city for a while – we ended up deciding to make Fredericton our home base, until other opportunities arose in the future.
Well, what can I say? We’re so thankful to Pamela and Tim Naugler for orchestrating that move on our behalf, because our 2 years in Fredericton have changed our lives in so many ways. In this post, I want to point out some of the factors that have impacted us the most during our stay.
The Meeting Place Church – how many people, like me, have looked at the majority of religious institutions (i.e. churches) in our day, then read the Bible and observed the incredibly insightful sayings/teachings of Jesus, and wondered: “how did this beget that?” Or, “what happened between then and now?!” Many Christians grow up ruled by guilt rather than grace, feeling that – at best – that they are never quite living up to God’s demands, no matter how hard they try. TMP is part of a worldwide network of churches who have realized that the overriding theme of the Bible is God’s grace, which is greater than any of our shortcomings. People in these churches strive to live a biblical lifestyle, as opposed to a religious lifestyle, modeled on the teachings of Jesus and the priorities of the early church, as presented in the New Testament. It’s so liberating and refreshing to be a part of this movement, and I thank God for it! Why is the Fredericton area such a great place to live? Maybe in part because quite a lot of its residents attend TMP Church, and they are always taking practical action to make their communities a better place to live in.
One of the best parts of TMP life was having a small group of friends to meet with every Tuesday evening to discuss life, the message that was preached on Sunday, and to pray together. They called these Lifegroups, and our Lifegroup was a great mix of students, young adults, and parents of younger and older children. We really valued this time each week and will miss our lifegroup as we move on.
Radian6 – By the time Eden was born, in July 2010, things were getting really tight for us financially. I was working as a home support worker for Bayshore, which was personally rewarding but financially horrible. It was not uncommon for me to get a call the night before my shift, informing me that it had been canceled, which meant no pay. Kathryn hadn’t quite qualified for maternity EI (she’d only worked 620 hours in the last year, but needed about 640…withholding resentful comments), and our savings from Labrador were long gone.
Enter Radian6. I will always be grateful to Nigel Orfei for choosing to hire me last year. In return for the ability to provide for my family, I happily gave my all at work. I made sure every customer I dealt with knew that I took my job seriously, and that I wanted to help them, not just for my own sake, but because I was proud of, and grateful for, Radian6.
Let this be a lesson to goverment officials and investors who are involved in funding business start-ups. When a company succeeds like Radian6 has, it doesn’t just create jobs (such a stale term). Employment with Radian6 meant being able to remain close to my parents and siblings; it meant having the opportunity to maintain my entire family’s health and well-being through an excellent benefits program; it led to the development of new skills and abilities I will apply to any job I take on in the future; and perhaps most importantly, it gave me the chance to make new friends I never would have met under other circumstances. Effective job creation doesn’t just come from make-work projects or Occupy Whatever protests; it’s a result of enabling smart and ambitious guys like Chris Newton and Marcel Lebrun to put their ideas into action. Hundreds of families are benefiting from this company in ways far beyond their paycheques (but those help, too). I wish the company continued success, not that they need it 🙂
I’ll wrap it up with the following summary of how much has happened/changed in the last 2 years:
- We became parents, with a second child on the way
- I’ve gained work experience in the healthcare and customer service/SaaS industries
- We’ve sold our first house
- We’ve experienced a new kind of church fellowship that we intend to take with us wherever we go
- We’ve made dozens of friends we’ll never forget
- I’ve grown a beard and Kathryn’s gone short-haired (this is significant)
- We’ve lived in a beautiful, huge house and realized that bigger is not always better
- I’ve learned to play bass guitar
And these are only the things I can come up with off the top of my head. It’s truly been an eventful and lifechanging period in our lives. I’ll close with a quick story that may also impact my future career path. I believe I shared this before, but I was at an appointment a few months ago and was talking with my chiropractor about the dilemma I have with wanting to be a physician and – what I perceive to be – the excessive/reckless use of drugs in mainstream medicine. She has encouraged me to considering chiropractic, which I’m not sure about either (too complicated to get into!), but she did offer this piece of wisdom: “Before you get into any field of health care, figure out for yourself what your philosophy of healing is. What kind of a healer do you want to be?”
This advice has provoked a lot of thoughts in me. I guess I was pretty narrowly considering traditional medicine as the only option if I wanted to really make a difference, but there may be other options to consider. Healing doesn’t always come in the form of surgical or chemical intervention. For now, it’s back to Geology, but who knows where this Australian adventure will lead us. Good luck Australia, in bringing us as many joys and rich experiences as we’ve experienced here in Fredericton!