I’m up super late tonight (3AM)… In fact, I can’t sleep because I am in awe of what God did in my homeless friend’s life…
If you don’t know by now, I met Robert a little less than three months ago under a bridge when I made myself homeless for 72 hours (around Christmas time). I went homeless without anything, and did not know why I was filled with compassion to do it, but now it make sense. I met Robert, and many other people who were staying under that bridge, heard stories, and shed tears with a bunch of people (they are my friends).
Robert in particular became a really good friend of mine, and expressed that he wanted to give his life to God, and be baptized. He said, “I just want to start my life completely over and change.” Well, over a three month period, our friendship became closer, and he started attending church with me (a few times).
On yesterday, I spoke at Crossroads Church (the starting point for the walk) and Robert attended with me… I shared some of his story (his childhood, drug problems since age 14, and a few other challenges), and how he came to faith under the bridge night #2 (of the 72 hours I was homeless), and spoke about how God’s love changes others!
After speaking, the production director Justin Kirk asked if I’d like to baptize him on the spot… I asked Robert, and he agreed to do it on the spot. Therefore, I spoke both at both services and in the second service I was able to baptize my friend (I’ll post message later). I shed tears because when Robert came out of the water he said these words, “I saw myself on the screen, and I can tell I am transforming!”
This is why I am going through with the 30+ mile walk… I AM 12 DAYS AWAY!
I am walking for every Robert in this country that do not have a voice, but have potential to experience life change! I am walking to raise awareness of a overlooked epidemic–homelessness, and the possibility to have some people restored. Additionally, we are raising shoes in the month of March (the entire month), and a few funds [HERE] for a storage space.
Currently, we are asking people to “GREEN OUT” their social media profile pictures to give homelessness a voice! Green is the color we decided to go with because green represents life, growth, and newness (and it is the color of our ribbon). This is what we’d like for those who have no voice to experience–new life! And, I believe this is what God wants for God’s people…
Here is “GREEN OUT” picture (use it):
After service, a guy named Brian Preston walked up to Robert and told him he wanted to give him a shot at a job…
Is this Robert’s opportunity to have a “hand up” not a “hand out?”… We’ll see! They will speak this week.
Below are some before and after pictures of #lovebeyondwalls work with Robert! All I have to say is God is definitely working in this young man Robert.
Here is a before picture when I first met Robert:
And, here is the picture from yesterday when he got baptized like he wanted:
On February 28th, I am going to sleep in a tent in Douglasville overnight at Crossroads Church (in the parking lot) before we start the #30milewalk at 3AM or 4AM in the morning!
The reason why I am doing this is so we can get a huge headstart on the journey before us. It is going to take us at least 12+ hours to complete the 30 miles, and I want to make sure we have enough time to make it to Paschal’s restaurant between 3pm-6pm.
If you’d like to start out walking with us, I am inviting you to do so by meeting us at the church, joining us on the route on Bankhead HWY, or walking the last mile with us on Northside Dr. Lastly, I am sleeping in a tent because we are aiming to get the full experience of walking in the shoes of homeless people who have to struggle to survive (through walking and living outside)!
Below is the artwork if you are interested…
Yesterday, I was inboxed over Facebook by a mother from a Church I recently interviewed at (West Ridge), and she inquired about our March Campaign to raise 1000 pairs of shoes!
Why? Because I briefly shared that we would focus on shoes in the month of March from stage. In fact, after I shared what we were doing, somebody placed their shoes in an offering bucket, and a few kids came up to me after service and donated their shoes on the spot. How cool is that? VERY!!!! Here is a picture…
Yes, in March #lovebeyondwalls is raising 1000 pairs of shoes to resource those in need in ATL. I briefly mentioned my discovery of homelessness, and how homeless people have to walk tons of miles to survive. In fact, I walked 20+ miles myself when I was homeless for 72 Hours.
What broke my heart though is when I would ask my friends (who sometimes did not have on adequate shoes) how many miles they had to walk per week? Some responded, “30, 50, and even 70 miles per week…”
“With those shoes…they are not in good shape” I said.
“Yes, with those shoes…” they responded.
Therefore, I vowed to walk 30+ miles on behalf of my homeless friends to raise 1000 shoes to give away to any homeless person we encounter in March. Children, women, or men. It doesn’t matter.
Today, I am encouraged though. Why? Because one of the first people to want to raise shoes for us is a six year old girl… We are calling the campaign #givemilesaway! Why? Because shoes are like tires to homeless people.
Here is the inbox message I received….
How can you get involved? Come and join us at our love rally and bring shoes to the finish-line! Below is the flyer for where you can meet us when we finish our #30mile walk!
Yesterday, I posted a picture of the progress that I have been able to make with my weight! Looking at the before and after picture has given me encouragement to keep going! I started out in an earlier [BLOG] explaining my unhealthy eating, weight gain, and need to transform myself to walk thirty miles on behalf of homelessness.
People asked, “What have you done to lose the weight?” and my response was simple, “Eat better, training, and walking…I have found out that 80% of weight loss is changing your eating patterns”
Well, it has been an amazing/hard journey so far, but I can see progress! It is my hope that #lovebeyondwalls is able to shed light on a sensitive issue that is near and dear to my heart.
Below is the picture
Have you ever failed at something?
I mean really failed to the point where you become paralyzed, numb, question your dreams, God’s purpose for your life, and if you’ll ever gain traction again?
In fact, this happened at the beginning of last year! 2013 was a really hard year for me and a lot of other people (not dwelling in the past at all)…It was so rough, I thought I was a failure. One of my dreams collapsed right in front of my eyes! It was tough, and horrible at the same time. But what I was counting as a failure, God was using as the moment to prepare us for #lovebeyondwalls!
That’s why I love the passage written in Romans where the writer professes that, “All things work together for good to those who love God…” Wait, when you fail, you fail right? Wrong. When I reflect on where we are today (one year later), I can’t help but say “failure is a liar… failure can be used… God has the last say!”
Failure will make you think you should quit, throw in the towel, bury your dream(s), and grab your bat and ball and go home! In fact, if you feel like you are failing, it is the perfect place for you… Why? Because when all is stripped away, there is an opportunity for something new to be born in and through you!
The three top things I have learned from failing forward are:
1) Failure is not fatal — Just because you failed at something does not mean it is over… It means that you have gained more experience and insight for your next assignment. Once you think failure is fatal, you’ll give up completely. That’s not an option because “life goes on…”
2) Failure should not be worshipped — There is always a temptation to hang your head for a long period of time, have a “woe is me attitude,” and become a victim. When we assume this posture, we worship what has happened to us, and forfeit the opportunity to see what is happening in us. No bad event deserves that much attention.
3) Failure has oppotunities inside of them — If we are wise, we can glean insights into what we should be doing, how we should grow, or who we are to become through our failures. Every failure or experience can lead you to a clue of what’s next in your life. Although tough, failure has tremendous opportunities imbedded in it.
Watch the video below! It is another piece to the LBW story and how failure was used to help start this organization![embedplusvideo height=”500″ width=”500″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/1eOyLAw” standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/2IWdYY4rxVs?fs=1″ vars=”ytid=2IWdYY4rxVs&width=380&height=380&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=¬es=” id=”ep2941″ /]
This morning is bittersweet (4AM)! I am rejoicing, but am still very much reflective about the realities of how much work building an organization takes. LOL. It takes work people…
Why bittersweet? Because I am on day 4 of my juicing, 19 days away from walking #30miles, and it is extremely hard. I have put in almost 31 DAYS so far to transform my health in order to walk to raise awareness for those who are forgotten.
In fact, I am reflecting on a well-known passage in 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV) “My Grace is sufficient for you, for My Strength is made perfect in weakness.” It has taken focus, accountability, and being honest (God’s strength).
I have tons of days to go on my juicing, a little more “mile prep” to endure, and am praying almost every second. Additionally, I had a few challenges last week that were real, eye opening, and made me rethink some things!
You know… the type of challenge that makes you think about entering back into your comfort zone? Or, the type of challenge that is both unexpected, and catches you totally off guard and whispers “LOOK BACK!”
If you are alive, you can relate. In fact, it seems like challenges (or bumps in the road) come when you are moving forward, and have a desire to overcome. Have you been there? Have you tried to move forward, and something unexpected tried to knock you back? If so, I can relate and want to encourage you to count your wins, not your losses.
Now the sweet part…
Yesterday, my team and I got a chance to interview at West Ridge Church and share the story of #lovebeyondwalls!
The cool thing that really inspired me NOT TO LOOK BACK (even when faced with unexpected challenges) was Robert. Who is Robert? You may remember my homeless friend from a previous blog. I met him under the bridge when I was homeless for three days… Robert attended worship with us, and looks lot better. Is he fully changed? No. But, we are taking small steps forward with him (and, most importantly building a relationship (not giving hand outs).
I have kept in touch with him for almost three months, and we are working hard to give him responsibilities to restore dignity back to him. Below is the before and after picture:
Also, later that evening we visited Relevant Church and found out that this church (pastored by Carl Nichols) had a “LOVEKIT” party and raised 289 “LOVEKITS” for us to distribute this coming Saturday (15th).
Here is that picture:
Here’s the bottom line, when challenges come they will try to break your focus, but you must have a resolve in your heart not to look back.
Today marks a historic day (I’m on ALL juice)! Why? Because today I am officially 21 DAYS away from walking thirty miles to raise awareness on behalf of homeless people around the country who have to walk long distances to survive.
Paralleling my preparation to walking this many miles, I have been on a weight loss journey. I have been overweight for a few years, and thought it would be awesome to transform my eating habits and lifestyle while aiming to serve and help others. I started my journey 29 DAYS ago eating salads, fruits, veggies, and drinking nothing but water (I haven’t had a juice or soda in 29 DAYS). This has helped me to drop 15 of 35 pounds that I wanted to lose to accomplish this task! Since eating healthy, I have had more energy, been really focused, and am confident to continue the journey.
Now, I am on a juicing regimen along with walking many miles each day for preparation. In order for me to accomplish this task, I desire to be in top notch health and shape. It is my hope to drop these pounds, and cross the finish line at Paschal’s Restaurant on North side Dr on March 1, 2014.
In fact, I am inviting people to meet us on North side Dr to meet me and walk the last mile with me…More info will comes in days to come.
Below is a picture of my route
I ask that you continue to pray for #lovebeyondwalls and this journey!
Over the last 27 days, I have learned a lot about commitment, devotion, leadership, and discipline! Currently, I am 23 DAYS away from doing one of the most life daring things I have ever done in my life (walking 30 miles), and I still have more weight to lose (23lbs).
It has been hard, but I have stayed the course… It is my hope that I can achieve the goal of 30-35lbs as I continue to change my eating patterns, and excersie every single day. However, along the way I have learned five important lessons about leadership…Here goes:
1) Leadership takes effort — If you want to lead, it will require effort on your end. Leadership is never given, it is earned.
2) Leadership requires discomfort — If you are out in front, there will be times you will be uncomfortable so you may serve others. However, the discomfort will grow you as a leader, not damage you.
3) Leadership is always seen — Even in the gym, random people would ask my trainer and myself what we were doing, and when we told them (people would watch harder). Not because we are great, but because leadership will always become a model for others.
4) Leadership takes sacrifice — At various points and times, a leader must sacrifice his/her time, energy, and talents for the well-being of others.
5) Leadership is intentional — All leaders must have strategies, plans, and accountability systems in place to accomplish the goals they set. If not, it is easy to become distracted and lose focus.
Hope these help!