Last night was extremely hard (however I have made 8 nights of the 30 nights I am aiming for), but God sent me someone to help. In fact, last year on today I met my friend Robert while sleeping under a bridge in the heart of downtown Atlanta. He was homeless, and we formed a friendship. Today, he is living with someone, and is hoping to join a program that will provide housing.
Earlier this week I spoke with him and he decided come up here and stay on the bus to help me go the distance. This means a lot to me because last year we were under a bridge, and this year he is helping me raise awareness about this bus project.
I am grateful for him and our friendship! He has helped to understand why it is so important for people to have dignity. Below is a picture of my friend on top of the bus.
If I could be honest, I have experienced many hardships in the first week of living on top of the bus for 30 days! Below are the top seven hardships:
1) It has rained two nights out of the seven nights. Both nights I got very little sleep.
2) I have received hate mail, and shots taken at me for sleeping on top of the bus.
3) I have spent tons of hours in solitude (which can be a great thing as well)
4) I am sleeping in a very confined space, and it gets tiring being in a cramped up space.
5) It has been very emotional at times knowing that we have a strong desire to serve those who are less fortunate.
6) It has been very cold. Although I am in a warm space, it ca be very difficult when I want to get some fresh air, and the cool air pushes me back into the tent.
7) I still have a long way to go. In fact, I have 23 more nights to live on top of the bus.
Although these hardships are real, I know that God is with me, in me, and leading #lovebeyondwalls to do more good for people who are often times forgotten about.
I got through nigh six in which it rained all night… It is always tough when it rains because it’s hard to sleep through it. However, early this AM many volunteers gathered to go out and serve the people our organization reaches, and is aiming to with our #mobilemakeovers bus. I only have 24 ore nights!
Below is a cool picture of the circle.
This morning I feel passionate. I have completed five days of the 30 days I’ll be on top of the bus. Why? Because yesterday over fifteen people stopped by at random to check on me and keep me encouraged to continue going the distance. It’s always good to get company when you are in solitude.
It started with a cup of coffee… The community down the street heard that I was living on top of bus, and a lady from the community brings a cup of coffee during the morning around 6AM.
What was so inspiring was that she was walking to work on foot. Her words were thank you for what you guys are doing for people in need… First time I shed a tear up here…
Then later that day a random 12 year old (riding a bike) from the community stops by and starts a conversation with me. He asked what the bus was because the graffiti caught his imagination. “I”m living up here…” I said. Then with a snarky look on his face, he asks why.
So, I explained and then noticed that he wasn’t wearing and socks… It was around 39 degrees outside. We talked more and I found out that his family had been experiencing homelessness as well. He said that his aunt was, and that his family was in trouble too. I was blown away because he was extremely vivd in his explination of his experiences. I think he said, “We won’t have a Christmas tree because the rent man says we have to get out…” He reminded me of why I am living on this bus…
Although the two stories are different, both are connected. Both the lady and the young man are from the community, and both expressed in some sense a deep need for makeovers to happen (personally and in the community)! I hope they both come back by… I hope at some point we will be able to help them both… Until then, the cup of coffee below and the boy on the bike is what God used to get me through night number five.
I ask that you keep me in your prayers as I have 25 more nights to go.
Yesterday was rough, but I made it through night number three… I made 50+ hours on top of the bus… I am living on to of a bus in a very confined space in a tent away from my family, and normal comforts of life.
No TV, regular bathroom, walking area, refrigerator where I can creep around the house to get my favorite snacks, no recliner of comfortable sofa… You’re starting to get the picture.
In fact, someone asked me “what has been the hardest thing you have had to deal with while going through this journey?” My answer is simple… Being alone, and not having all that I think I
But, I am also learning some very important truths. One being that you don’t need a lot to find joy, peace, and happiness. All you need is God’s strength, and valuable relationships around you.
Over the last two and a half days, over 20 people have called, stopped by, and reached out to me to let me know that I was not alone and they were praying for me. That brings me joy! One of the top people has been my wife. She has brought my kids by, and have sent me words to uplift me during this time. In essence, it has been the relationships I have around me that have given me the strength to continue. This reminds me of one of my favorite passages in the scriptures written by Solomon about friendship. It reads (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, NIV),
Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
I know some people may still wonder to themselves
“this still doesn’t make any sense at all.” However, I am still standing on my convictions that it does.
If we are able to raise the funds for the Mobile Makeover Bus, we would be able to makeover homeless individuals, provide support for families in need, and launch a program that teaches people skills next year in 2015. I’m asking you that you get on the bus with me, and help me take a stand for people who are in need of hope, diginity, and support.
If it was not for my support, I’d give up this journey. So I can only imagine what people feel who have none at all, or feel like they have no sense of self worth. We care for those people… Help us support them so they too can take a stand in life and feel valued. Below is a clip from yesterday highlighting why I am doing this… If you would like to help us raise the 50K it’s going to take to convert the bus…click [HERE] Terence
I have made it through night number two… I cannot believe it. If fact, last night a few people brought me some Christmas lights and food.
But, I woke up around 4AM because the rain was beating against the tent that I am living in on top of the bus. Even as I write this there are raindrops making loud music in the background to my words. If I could be candid, I feel vulnerable, weak, inspired, expectant, and a number of other emotions. If you haven’t seen the bus set up, this is what it looks like when I’m on top of the bus…
However, I am determined to take a stand for people who do not have a voice. I have gotten told
several times to stop because this makes no sense… Well, it does for me and #lovebeyondwalls.
This morning, I am thinking of the multiple families we encountered this year where children are living in single parent households and are sometimes unkeemped because the parent(s) can’t afford a hair cut for their child(ren). I am doing it for the kids that have very few clothes and have to go to school and endure the shame and ridicule that keeps them from their lesson. I am doing it for the person who is temporarily homeless and has no way of keeping themselves groomed. I am doing it for the mother who is about to interview but needs a hairstyle and clothes to make her look presentable.
Whether you realize it or not, there are people who need their confidence built, esteem built, and have the proper support system needed to receive the dignity they deserve. It is like my friend from the community Darren said yesterday… “Sometimes having a makeover helps people not feel stereotyped, judged, and outcasted.”
Therefore, I will keep going the next twenty-eight nights on top of this bus to raise awareness about people/communities that need to be made over. It is our vision to see this bus transformed so we can serve the people I mentioned above. Not only are we passionate about this, we are hoping you will get behind us and support #mobilemakeovers too.
Yesterday was unreal.
Around 10pm a small group of us arrived back at the office where the bus is parked… I talked to my wife and kids, we prayed, and I climbed up to start living on top of the bus for the next thirty nights straight. My friend Dave built a pretty secure platform on top of the bus for my safety. It includes a porta potty, a small heater, and a little power so I can blog about my experiences.
However, I know people are probably wondering
“what in the world does living on top of a bus prove. Better yet, why in the world would you do it in the middle of winter. It makes no sense.”
Well, to me this means everything. This past year, our organization encountered thousand of people through service. We served tons of apartment complexes, and served a couple thousand homeless individuals in the heart of the city, and I noticed something very unique among all those we served. People have lost hope, a sense of self-worth, and even dignity. It is hard looking into the eyes of people and knowing that the only self-worth they have is their existence (meaning they feel they only feel worth because they are alive). In fact, I can remember encountering a lady in the apartment complex where we serve that said, “I feel like I am forgotten about… and I’m all alone…” This same lady said that she hadn’t eaten in a week because she was a senior citizen and had few resources.
No matter how you slice it, communities and people who live in poverty deserve to have a sense of self-worth, dignity, and even receive help that could possibly help them rebuild the pieces to their lives. We’ve seen recently in the news a underlining call for all people to start working in communities to restore the broken pieces that leave stains, and scars that never go away.
One of the ways #lovebeyondwalls would like to start helping the community is by reaching out to communities and homeless individuals by providing makeovers with our bus. These makeovers would be more than physical touchups, they would be like a launchpad for people to taking steps toward permanent change.
This doesn’t answer why sleep on a bus…. does it…
Well, I am staying on this bus because we are serious about transforming the bus, and sharing compassion with many people who have no hope! We desire to go mobile to serve people in the city of Atlanta. It’s just that simple. I believe in what we are taking a stand for… And I believe that we will be able to band together with other organizations to help people.
We are only one day away from committing 700 hours to take a stand to live on top on the bus (30 nights in a row) to raise awareness, and resources that will empower us to serve more people in the city of Atlanta.