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.
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
It hit me this AM around 5… It is only four days left until I attempt to do this!
Yesterday, when I picked my daughter up from school she hands me a card that touched my heart… For the last month, my wife and I have been preparing her (and my son) with the information I have been sharing about living on top of the bus for 30 nights.
I told her that she’d see me everyday but that I would be living on a bus trying to awareness/funds so we can help people with #lovebeyondwalls. At first she was uncomfortable because she said, “It was dangerous and she don’t know how I would take a shower” (LOL). But, yesterday it clicked for her. She has been serving with her mom and I since she was a 1 year old. We have modeled our lives in showing her how to be a giving person.
So yesterday she walked up to me, and says, “Dad, I will always be your best friend, and will help you…I’m going to be there…” In fact, she has encouraged me more to start and finish. Check out out card with my beard all grown out…
This touched something deep within me, but it also caused me to start to think about the top four challenges I’ll face while up there. Here they are:
1) I’ll be staying up there at night in freezing weather. Although, I’ll have a power supply it will still be very difficult because the wind chills will get rough.
2) I will not be able to be with my family. Living on the bus will have me away from my family for a large number of days. I will see them, but it will be very difficult.
3) I will not have tons of social interaction. There are some days where we are going to ask people to come out, but I will be on top of the bus tons of hours and not around anyone. I am going to post my number so random people can call me and check on me.
4) It will be a battle mentally. Because I’ll spend close 700 hours on this bus it will be very difficult for me. I will have a lot of free time, and plan on writing, reading, and posting videos giving people updates.
I ask that you keep me in your prayers as I attempt to do this to glorify God, and hopefully mobilize people to help us get this bus up and going to serve/reach more people in Atlanta.
About a month ago now, I had a conversation with my family. Specifically, my wife. She looked at me and asked me a very important question. She asked, “What are you going to do to take a stand for what you believe in?” I responded. “What do you mean?”
It short she was making a bold implication, “If you believe that God wants you to make over lives with this bus, then be willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish that.” Thus we both agreed that I could live on top of the bus 30 nights in a row to bring awareness to several issues, and do whatever it took to help those we are seeking to help (Staying on top of the bus from Dec 14-Jan 14).
Therefore, yesterday I decided to publish the story and let the world know what I am attempting to do so #lovebeyondwalls can restore dignity back to more people through our makeover bus… I have gotten pretty
negative responses, but I have also gotten some positive responses. However, what matters most is that I take a stand for our cause, and what God has placed on my heart to do. 30 nights is a long time, but with support I can do it…
My heart is filled with so much compassion for youth who live in single parent households (especially after the tragic events that have occurred recently), and families who struggle day to day in communities that are broken and often times lifeless. I know the makeover bus is not the full answer, but we could use it to start the process of helping/serving those we can touch and help, and mobilizing more compassionate people.
In fact, I overcame a number of odds myself and had a life makeover… I was once a
high school dropout, juvenile delinquent, ex-gang member, grew up in a single parent household, was very misguided, and troubled in my teenage years and a portion of my early twenties. However, I beat the odds by God’s grace… (If you’d like to read some of my story, I wrote a book in my younger years called “U-TURN.” It’s the story of how my life was made over and how I turned my life around).
Therefore, this bus means more to me than
lights and cameras or bells and whistles… It represents the power of life-change. It symbolizes that lives can change when people take interest in other people by helping them take a stand for their lives. It represents that hope is still near, and that dignity can restore brokenness. I don’t have a perfect story, but God used people to get me to where I am today. Someone helped me so we (#lovebeyondwalls) want to help others.
Honestly, I am asking people to do four specific things… 1) Pray, 2) Share the story, 3) Give so we can reach our goal, and 4) Serve by coming out to help us when we start the process.
I truly solicit your prayers as I attempt to take a stand for homeless people, youth, and broken communities that need more that words… They need makeovers. Pray that God helps us change this bus so we can possibly change lives.