72 hours & I Began to Trust Again

(It’s about 3AM)

I haven’t been off of the streets a full 24 hours yet, but for some reason I miss them (yes, the streets). Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Only thing is…I’m not making it up.

2013-12-23 19.49.03-2While out there, I felt safe, embraced, a sense of community, and protected.

In fact, If I can be completely transparent–being among many of my homeless friends who started to consider me as family caused me to do something I have not been able to do in years–TRUST (If you have been through hell relationally, you can relate).

I found it extremely easy to let my guard down without being reserved, having fear, being introverted, or even defensive.

The first day I arrived, I did not have anything: No blankets. No toothpaste. No jacket. No brush. Not change of clothes. No money. No direction. Nothing. The only thing I did have was my cell for protection (and storytelling). You can read my posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

However, my homeless friends provided me with everything! When I walked up on the hill at tent-city (under I-20 75/85), I was approached by three brothers and a sister.

“I’m here to stay with you all, and I don’t have anything. I want to experience what you experience and share with the world on your behalf. I want to give you a voice… I said.

Immediately, I was greeted, given instructions, and each of my homeless friends rallied together supplies so I would make it through the nights of 30 & 40 degree weather. They gave me a blankets, socks, food, and sat and talked with me for hours about how they ended up under the bridge.

We shed tears, laughed, sang, and talked about God all day and most of the night. They showed me the ropes (how to live, where to go, and what to do) Immediately, my walls came down. I began to trust! Why? Here’s three quick reasons

1) They accepted me as their family. Not only did my homeless friends help me to survive, they called me “family,” and displayed it with their actions. I have had relationships in “regular” society for years, and have not heard those words or experienced that type of genuine love in years.

2) They opened up their community to me. I have been in affluent spaces, in diverse spaces, in uppity spaces, but the community I felt among them was like none other. It was a closeness that can’t be described with words. They shared everything they had with me (and they had nothing). Without them, I wouldn’t have completed my journey…

3) They opened up to me. They shared their most personal stories with me, talked about their faith in God, and listened to many stories of mine. It was the best experience. Sometimes, not only is it hard to get people to open up in normal society, but it is even more difficult to get people to listen to you. They did both…

Also, they shared, “no minister, or person has ever dared to wear our shoes and live with us… We have people come and leave all the time, but not stay and experience….Because you are doing this…you have our respect.” they all said.

I don’t know why it was so easy to believe them and trust them, but it was… And, not only did they keep their word–they protected/encouraged me until I made it through.

The first day it rained, was cold, and I survived with resources given to me by my homeless friends. I kept thinking to myself,

“This is the part of society that is looked at strange, but has the most heart. I have met people with “means” in normal society with much status, but would not sacrifice the way they did (and they have nothing).”

Not only were my stereotypes destroyed, but I was educated, had on their shoes, and my heart broke with even more compassion for our brothers and sisters without homes in Atlanta (and the nation).

I wish I could go back and rescue many of the people who I established relationships with…

I wish I could give some of them jobs…

I wish I could take them off of the streets and give many of them second chances…

I wish I had an army of people who would unite with #lovebeyondwalls to make this happen…

From the first day forward (for the rest of my life), I made a declaration and promise to God to raise tons and tons and tons and tons of awareness to help my “new” family and other homeless people in this country. That’s why I am going to go hard to build this organization. There are many social ills plaguing our society, and #lovebeyondwalls is needed in those places.

The first day, not only did I encourage them, but they changed me. They cause me to learn how to trust again!!!!

Below are a few pictures of items that were given to me the first night I slept under the bridge:

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The Homeless Journey Starts!

Today is the day my journey starts… View the video below and see what three things you can do to help me raise awareness!

I ask that you join our movement, and spread the story.


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Movement of Doers!


I got a chance to see forty plus people to take the love of God to the streets, and serve the homeless population in downtown Atlanta. How cool is that? I’ll answer–very cool. We were able to clock over 80 volunteer hours of service (loving on people).

I’ve been asked, “Why are you approaching ministry and non-profit work this way?” My answer is simple. Because I have a different scorecard. I don’t measure dollars, budgets, or people in seats, I measure mobilization, contact work, and feet on the ground (doing the actual work).

Why feet on the ground? Take a quick look at a community we served yesterday, and a picture of a new friend I met named Robert (That’s why).

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Picture of me and Robert

MeandRobertI envision #lovebeyondwalls being a collaborative movement of doers, not talkers…

A movement of people who band together from all walks of life to take the love of God to places, people, and problems that exist in the world. No fluff. That’s what we are about.

Below is a picture of all the people who banded together to serve yesterday…










Last Day & After My Experience

For some reason, I got up extra early this morning and sat in my home office at (4AM)…

I can’t sleep… I keep thinking about my comfort… my safety… my home… all the things we have… and my family. Starting tomorrow evening, I won’t have any of it again until Christmas morning. While most people will be spending quality time with their families, eating up a storm, and doing last minute shopping–I’ll be homeless on purpose!

Yesterday, I received a phone call from a friend (Enrique Morgan). He said, “I’ve been following your journey via social media and wanted to know, “What are the top things you are looking to do with this experience?” “What will be next?” Immediately, I lit up with joy and passion. I said, “I’m glad you asked bro…there are four specific things I’m looking to do with my experiences.”

Below are my next steps:

1) Gain the experience to articulate. I want to gain an understanding of what our homeless brothers and sisters have to go through, and see life from their perspective and through their lens. It’s one thing to pass out food, clothes, or say a couple of prayers, but it is a totally different experience when a person wears the shoes of another. That’s what Christ did, and that’s what I want to do. Additionally, I want to experience this in my adulthood so I can clearly articulate my thoughts, feelings, and share with the world what I learn and see.

2) Advocacy & Work. I want to be able to write, advocate, speak out, and raise awareness about the homeless stories in the city of Atlanta and across this country. I want to become a voice not only about the epidemic, but to educate others or rebut any false storertypes that may exist.

3) Fundraise & Give. I want to raise support, build #lovebeyondwalls, and give toward other organizations, faith-based communities, and people working in the trenches with this population. Doing work in the trenches is not easy. It requires outside support, prayer, and tons of trust and faith in God. By raising support, I’d be able to do more work among “vulnerable people,” and also resource others at the same time. If you want to give, click the image and help us launch #lovebeyondwalls

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4) Spread. Lastly, I want to spread a message of hope, and mobilize people to get involved to do missional work in vulnerable places. Also, I’d like to spread a message of contentment. Society tells us that you must be the best, have the most toys, or climb to the top to be great. That’s all wrong. You can be a great person, and be worthy with less. You don’t have to have it all to be great. I want to share a message that says, “No matter where you are, enjoy all that you have. There is always someone with less…” I will not tell people to be complacent, but content. Complacency has to do with accepting that status quo, but contentment has to do with embracing where you are with gladness and joy.

Next year (2014), I am devoting a whole year to the work of justice and education. These are two things I firmly believe in, and where I believe God wants me to start with #lovebeyondwalls.

I ask that you pray for me as I get ready to do the most daring thing I have ever attempted… Pray that I return home safe to my family, that I build relationships while out there, and that God uses this story to restore dignity back to people who feel like they are on the bottom. I ask that you spread the story and the experiences I’ll capture while out there.

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Lastly, I am spending the last day with my family and meditating on two thoughts. One written by Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

The other from my five year old daughter who came to me last night and said,

“Dad, I want you to be safe, and make sure you make it back before you miss Santa!” (LOL).



2 Days & Homeless Students

I have had 100’s of conversations with so many people now about going homeless, and have been asked questions like,

“Is this an organization strictly for the homeless?

“What other work do you do?”

“How can I get involved?”

Well, here’s the short answer… To be honest, I’m going homeless for more causes than one. I’m going homeless to raise awareness about homelessness, but also to raise awareness about another “silent epidemic” that’s going on in the state of GA and in other places among students (whose families may be homeless or live in transitional housing).

If fact, Did you know, “The fastest growing group of homeless people is children under 9 years of age.” (stat taken from Atlanta Metro Task Force for the Homeless)

Did you know there were children that sit in schools across this country whose families are homeless (It may not be as visible, but still exists)?

Did you know that either poverty or homelessness has caused a silent “uniform crisis among under-resourced students in Elementary Schools around the United States of America?

What crisis you’re probably wondering?

Let me explain. For the last twelve years, I have spoken in many environments (in colleges, schools, churches, businesses, for sororities, in penal systems, for fraternities, at government functions, etc), but most of the engagements have been in title 1 schools.

Why? Because I traveled sharing my personal story of life-change with youth and students and many opportunities came from schools with students who needed a little inspiration. I traveled hoping to redirect some young person before they reached a dead end. You can grab my first autobiography on amazon [here] in case you want to know what story.

But, while doing work in elementary schools (mainly title 1), I noticed that many children were wearing uniforms that had holes, were not washed, or they did not have on adequate attire (then principals and community liaisons confirm my suspicions).

I then learned that many title 1 schools have families that make less than 15K per year, and cannot afford to buy new uniforms for their children (some even live in transitional housing, or motels–not ALL families, but enough to catch my attention).

This broke my heart! Why? Because I can relate (if you grew up with hard times you can too).

It also broke my heart because I know that when a child goes to school and their attire is poor it messes with their self-esteem (causing them not to connect with the lesson). Now, imagine being homeless, having social problems at the house, not having adequate attire, and then you are asked to learn (sometimes that’s hard if your mind is filled with other junk).

What could I do I thought? How could I help students like this and more have fresh uniforms that would possibly boost their self-esteem (helping them connect with the lesson)?

Then it clicked. Go homeless…raise awareness… and provide….Uniforms of Hope.”

I can partner with schools across this country and raise support to resource under-resourced students with uniforms so they would have adequate attire to wear to school through #lovebeyondwalls.

Well, it is becoming a realty! One month ago, we partnered with a major uniform supplier to make a special uniform with our heart on the sleeve.

Here’s our first sample:


Why on the sleeve? Because the heart informs educators, students, and families that there is an army of people out in the world that care about students and believe in their educational future. A #lovebeyondwalls army!

How does it work? I’m glad you asked.

1) When a person donates $15-$20, that person starts the process to receive one of our branded shirts that says, “GIVE LOVE AWAY

2) From there, our manufacture creates a “Uniform of Hope” for a student in need.

3) Our manufacturer then ships the uniform (free of charge) to one of the ten schools we are partnered with to resource a child that I described a little earlier (aiming to get more schools).

4) Lastly, an exclusive branded #lovebeyondwalls shirt is printed and sent to the donor for their donation.

Here’s our diagram of how it works:

Slide 7.0

So, do you want to help us resource students yet? If so, donate and let’s resource 1K students starting in January (that’s 100 uniforms for ten schools)! We are calling this #projecthope.

Today, as I prep myself even more…not only am I thinking about my homeless friends in downtown Atlanta, I am thinking about students across this country (and the fastest growing population of homeless people in the US).

Donate 1




3 Days & 27 Degrees

Last night… I tossed, turned, and could not get any sleep! Why? Simple. The temperature dropped down to 27 degrees last night… In fact, I walked out to the truck, and it said “ICE” on the dashboard. The very thought that I’ll be in shelters, outside, and roaming the streets during my homeless journey is becoming more of a reality!

Don’t believe me about the temperature, check out google’s thoughts at 5 AM this morning,

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This week has been taxing already (working tons of hours, working on this organization, and trying to prepare my mind for this journey). I have been praying, talking to folks, and frequently visiting spots in Atlanta where some of my homeless friends sleep to keep my mind focused and stay encouraged.

Even with all that, I still felt like pulling the plug at various times.  BUT, I have made up my mind to persevere!  I am determined to keep going forward regardless what the weather, circumstances, or anything else has to say…

Where is this perserverance coming from? I’m glad you asked. It comes from three specific places:

1) Calling. I believe deep within my soul that God has not only called me to live for God, but has also called me to reach, uplift, and inspire people to Trust God and live their lives fearless! The most frustrating place in life is being in a place where you don’t get a chance to do or be who you were created to be… There is no life in that at all. And guess what, we only have ONE life to live!

2) My family. My wife & kids are the closest thing to me (literally). My wife is my number one supporter, and my children are very close to me. Every day I have come home from a long days work (leading up to this). Their smiles, words, and belief in me fuels me to keep going. My wife @cecilialester literally told me last night, “This is what you are created to do, and regardless of where this leads…I believe in you…Keep going!”

You can’t go wrong with support like that!

3) A Book. Noooooooo…. not the Bible (although I do read it, and am a believer). But a book I came across some time ago called, One Month To Live by Kerry & Chris Shook. The premise of the book is life-changing! It focuses on the fragelty of life, and pushes the reader to think about the limited time (we ALL have) on earth. One quote in particualar that has pushed me this week is this,

“Your time on earth is limited… No matter how much this idea makes you squirm, it’s a fact. No matter who you are, how young or old, what measure of success you’ve attained, or where you live, morality remains the great equalizer. With each tick of the clock, a moment of your life is behind you. Even as you read this paragraph, seconds passed that you can never regain. Your days are numbered, and each one that passes is gone forever.”

The authors then go on to say that when we pass away (or die), the dash on our tombstones will represent what we did one earth while alive. With that being said, I keep asking myself, “Terence, what will be your dash?” “Will you live an average life, or will you live to help others live?”

These words alone are life-changing, and why I am perservering with the homeless journey and launching #lovebeyondwalls Jan 1, 2014.  I want to literally start a movement of people who come together to serve communities, people, and model what Christ modeled in the scriptures. I want to raise awareness about an epidemic that is near and dear to my heart! I believe the greatest sermons happen when you live your faith…not preach it. 

But, let me ask you a few questions…

Now that you know the clock is ticking, what will you try? What will you pick back up? What will you do to make the world better? How will you restore your relationship with God? How will you persevere?

Why do I ask? Simple. Because as you continue living, you’ll find out quickly that the greatest things in life are often forfeited for things that don’t matter at all. I refuse to live that way anymore! I am three days away from doing the most daring thing I have ever attempted, and I need your prayers, support, and for your to spread this mission!




4 Days & Side of Pain!

I litterally sat in my office on the floor almost in tears a few months back…

I was confused, hurt, and felt lost. Why? I failed at one of the biggest things I had ever tried to do…I poured everything into a dream (I believed would take off): time, effort, ideas, sweat, blood, tears, and got nothing back in return but a list of hard lessons. I was down to absolutely nothing. NO THING!

Have you ever gave something your all (be it a dream, relationship, etc), and you were left empty and confused? If you have, welcome to the club. You are not alone! 

Fast forward

I didn’t know what I would do… I invested everything I had into this dream, and it collapsed right before my eyes (I now know It was supposed to). I tried talking to mentors, friends, coaches, and a bunch of people about the pain I felt and none really had solutions. Isn’t it rough when nobody has an answer for you? Or worst, how about when people judge you when you are at your lowest point?

Little did I know that this hard place is exactly where God wanted me to be. I was reminded of a favorite passage a professor shared with me back in college, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you…” Matthew 6:33, NKJV

Without trying to be too spiritual… let me confess, it is hard seeking God when your reality says something different. It’s hard trying to discern God’s plan when you can’t trace God. But, it is true! God doesn’t leave nor forsake. I found comfort in knowing there was peace in focusing on God rather than my circumstances.

Then one day in my office, I walked up to my whiteboard and asked myself this, “What has brought you the most pain in life?” Before I knew it, I had written a list extremely long of items that brought me pain in my life. I wrote:

Feeling misunderstood…Rejection…Broken Family…Depression…Misfit…Lack of resources…Abandonment…Starting to relate yet?

The list went on and on until I realized that the things that most pained me in life are the same list I was most passionate about (where I wanted to do my work).

It clicked. “Go where those people are…those who feel how you felt throughout life…and spread hope! Take LOVEBEYONDWALLS!” In that moment, a new dream arose! A dream where if I were at rock bottom or on top of the world… I would be at peace! It was a God-given dream to take love to the misfits of society. But, here’s the catch. It came from pain!

What do your pains tell you? Do you run from them, or embrace them? What if God could use your unique pains to lead you to your destiny?

This is why #lovebeyondwalls exist! God revealed a greater plan in the midst of my pain, and God can do the same for you. Are you a misfit, been depressed, have a broken past, etc…? If so, welcome to the club. You may have experienced pains that may lead you to provide hope to others.

As I reflect on what I have written above, I am even more convinced to

go homeless! Not for myself, but because God is using my pain to bring hope to a people who are often times forgotten about. I have four more days…Pray for me!





Since Sunday,

I have gotten many inboxes, tweets, and comments about my bravery and sacrifice to go homeless. But, I must take this time to be brutally honest with you on this blog this AM.

Here goes…

Earlier this year I almost quit. Yeah, I said it–QUIT. Why? Because 2013 was one of my roughest years. Have you ever got to December and it looks totally different from your January? Ever had plans for a new year, and all of a sudden things change on you and life happens…

Well, that’s what kind of year I had. And, if you have a pulse you probably can relate.

I had a rough year not because I did something wrong, but because life just happened…

  1. My son got really sick out of the blue (never been ill)…
  2. I had a major dream to fail me (everything collapsed)…
  3. I experienced a lot of loss in relationships (seasons were up)…
  4. All my documents were stolen (including books files have written, important docs, and tons of other things that can’t be replaced)…
  5. And tons of other things, that you’d probably relate to if I shared…Nonetheless, it was a rough year.


It really felt like the bottom, I was discouraged, and didn’t think I’d be able to move forward (maybe you feel this way right now). But, I had many life changing conversations that changed my life, encouraged me, and God lifted my head.

Two conversations stand out the most! One was with a homeless man that I befriended (He stands under the bridge by the Grady turnpike). He said these words that encouraged me,

“As long as you have breath in your body, you can always rise again. Life is NOT over… Not even for me! I believe I will rise again…Why? Because I am grateful for what I have.” Here it was, a person with absolutely nothing was encouraging me (Godsend I believe)!

The second conversation was with my step-father…He told me, “Life will always happen… It has happened to me many times… but when you experience loss and lose things… just don’t lose yourself and your perspective… God can and will work it out.” 

These conversations and many more pushed me to get back up and launch #lovebeyondwalls

Therefore, if you wanted to know why I am taking on this homeless challenge, here are five reasons why:

  1. I am seeking to raise awareness for the epidemic of homelessness in Atlanta (a few of my friends are homeless and have encouraged me).
  2. I want to advocate for those who have absolutely nothing! Many times we go through trials, but they are not to the extent where we have absolutely nothing. Also, to raise awareness about having contentment.
  3. I want it to change my life! From birth until whatever age, society teaches you to get the best, be the best, own the finest, and none of it satisfies the soul. I am detoxing from the “American Dream…” Only God satisfies the soul.
  4. I want to fully launch this organization to raise awareness of more social ills, and mobilize people to do something about it. I want to inspire people to be doers…
  5. I believe God has called me to this. In my own despair, I found that God sometimes uses things that pain us to lead us to our purpose. Thus, this is why you are reading this post.


There you have it… I am not wealthy… not famous… but, what little I have I want to bless somebody else with it. I hope this blog lets you know that you can take what little you have, where you are, and make a difference for God.

Today, I am meditating on Psalm 46:1-3 NKJV to keep moving forward with this project,

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. 



Just learned it may rain…

Man… I think I will have to actually buy a tent to survive!

My wife shot me a text while I was out scouting places to stay. She checked the weather, and let me know it says it is supposed to rain when I am out there. Now, I have this on my mind! But, I am definitely going to continue going forward. I believe God wants me to do this to raise awareness of the people that are invisible to the rest of the world.


Video of when I received the text message is below:

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6 days and a sleepless night…

I woke my wife up at (2AM) and asked her, “Babe, what if this kills me?” She responded, “God will be with you!”

Last night, I believe this challenge hit me the most as I prepare my mind to go homeless! I couldn’t sleep at all last night. In fact, I tossed and turned thinking about all the little things that I have at my disposal (right now):


Washer & Dryer,






and a bunch of other things that will be stripped away!

I kept thinking to myself, “This is either going to change my life, kill me–or both!”

“What if you don’t make it out alive?” I thought.

But, then I reflected on the importance of why I am doing this… “I am doing this because I believe God wants me to…I am doing this because homelessness is an issue that should be addressed in the city of Atlanta… I am doing this because many people are unaware of how serious this epidemic is… I am doing this because of the stats below (taken from Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless website)…”

  1. The fastest growing group of homeless people is children under 9 years of age.
  2. Atlanta is the poorest city in the U.S. for children – more children in Atlanta live in poverty than in any other city.
  3. 48% of all the children in Atlanta in poverty live in families with annual incomes of less than $15,000 a year.
  4. For children under age 6 living in female-headed families with no spouse present, the poverty rate is 58.8%.
  5. Children ages 6-17 living in female-headed families with no spouse present have a poverty rate of 44.9%.
  6. Current welfare (TANF) benefits are $282 a month for a woman with two children. Could you find an apartment to rent on $282 a month?
  7. Fewer than 20% of those women and children living on welfare get any kind of housing subsidy.
  8. 98 million children in the U.S. have no health insurance. Eight million of those children without health insurance live in working families.
  9. Did you know that 40% – 60% of homeless people work?
  10. Minimum wage in Georgia is $5.85 per hour, which yields $12,168 per year, before taxes.


However, when I made the story public (yesterday) many people hit me up saying, “I know where they are… I pass by them… It sucks they are homeless…” That’s another reason I am going homelessBecause as I reflect on the gospels and Jesus’ life, there are many passages that say, “And Jesus saw….” But, those same passages also showed that Jesus saw and responded with action & compassion.

I am starting #lovebeyondwalls because I have a passion for God’s work to be accomplished in the trenches where the “nobodies” are. Why? Because I was a nobody, a misfit, an outcast, and God’s love reached me… As I continue to prepare my mind, I am reflecting on David’s psalm today ( Psalm 23:1-6, NKJV),

The Lord is my shepherd;

I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord

This psalm promises that God will be with me, and walk with me even in the “valley of life…” Continue to pray peeps! I am six days away from the most challenging thing I have ever done.