There’s an old adage that goes something like this, “A family that prays together stays together!” It was first coined in the early by Father Patrick Peyton, a Irish Roman Catholic priest and founder of the “Family Rosary Crusade.”
Peyton was a popular and charismatic figure in Latin America and popularized the phrase “The family that prays together stays together” in the early 1900’s.
Without damaging the integrity of what Peyton was trying to communicate, I’d like to alter this phrase just a tad.
While walking on #MAP18 to bring attention to the poor and vulnerable, my wife and I have learned that not only does “a family prays together stays together,” but also “a family that sacrifices together must also endure burdens together.”
I love my family, and I know this journey has been hard on them like it has been hard on me.
In fact, if you know me then you know that family and friendship mean a lot to me. My family is my heartbeat and I don’t call a lot of people friend. But, if I do call you friend then I do really mean it.
Over the last 23 days, my wife and children have had to endure some of the same hardships that I have experienced. Why? Because whatever I carry they carry as well.
For instance, on the last walk to Washington D.C., they were able to walk with me and experience the walk too, but on this walk we felt that it was safer for them to be present but not walk.
My wife opened up and did an interview to explain what she has felt while I’ve been on this particular walk.
You’ll be able to view that below, but I would like to first share a few things that my wife and I have learned is this journey:
I. We’ve learned that when one person in the family is called to a mission, everyone in the family is called to that same mission.
It must be agreed upon by everyone in the family to carry the load and sacrifice. If everyone is not on board, then it will make the mission even harder. As a family, we all feel like this is what we were assembled to do together as a unit—serve those who are forgotten.
II. We’ve learned that when one person feels pressure, everyone feels that pressure.
For instance, in the video below my wife explains what she’s been carrying although not walking with me every single day.
One of the ways we maintain strength is by reminding each other of our original commitment to finish what we’ve started no matter what the outcome is.
III. We’ve learned that if children are present, they are watching.
On day 22, my daughter wrote me a note about what she is learning from watching my wife and I.
She said, “I’m learning that when we take care of those who are poor, God takes care of us.” Each day, I’m not only driven by who I’m fighting for, but by who is watching me—my children.
Check out the full video below to hear my wife’s side of the story below:
It’s official. The countdown begins. Today, Terence will make 21 days walking on behalf of the poor in our country. On March 3rd, he set out on a 386 mile journey on foot to the Lorraine Motel to bring attention to poverty and honor MLK’s life.
He started from the Center for Civil & Human Rights in Atlanta, GA and has walked all the way to Mississippi. It’s his hope to arrive at the Lorraine by April 4th (MLK50th).
People have asked him what’s the one thing he wants people to hear from this sacrifice. It’s simple. We have over a 100 million people in our country living near or below the poverty line. Therefore, “Poor People Matter.”
Can I ask you an important question?
What breaks your heart? If fact, if you have a heartbeat, you’ve experienced some type of heartache before.
Maybe it was a disappointment. Maybe it was some sort of loss. Maybe it was self-inflicted because of a bad decision. Maybe it was some type of relational hurt.
Whatever it was, you will never forget how that heartbreak felt.
Not to diminish personal heartbreaks, but I’m after a different type of answer in this blog.
I’m seeking to know what breaks your heart publicly? Most times when we think of heartbreak, we only think of it from a personal lens.
So for the sake of this blog, I would like for you to pause for a moment to consider another type of heartbreak.
Let’s look at it from a different viewpoint.
Let me ask you again. When you look out into the world, what breaks your heart?
Is it sex-trafficking? Is it racial division? Is it hungry children? Is it poverty or homelessness?
Whatever it is, it has to be something! If I can be completely honest, I am afraid that we are moving further and further away from empathy and into the abyss of apathy.
Yesterday, my friend and I visited Birmingham, AL after I walked tons of miles on behalf of the poor for #MAP18.
We visited the 16th Baptist Church and walked around the historical park across from it.
This is the same church where four little girls were killed when the church was bombed during the Civil Rights movement.
After soaking up both the deep tragedies and triumphs of Birmingham, we hopped in the car and drove to find people dealing with homelessness.
We encountered a few people. One lady dealing with a mental disability stood on the corner and literally used the restroom on herself. I suspect she did it because she had nowhere to go to relieve herself, and no support and community.
It broke my heart. Would that break your heart? To know that she was out there alone with no clothes and probably no medication or treatment?
Then we finally met Eric.
Eric is the reason I’m writing this apology.
I’ve worked in homelessness ministry for 14 years, but something about Eric broke my heart all over again.
He was walking down the street when I noticed him. He left one of his many bags sitting on the ground (which was a sign that he was possibly homeless).
I stopped the car and asked him if he needed some help. He responded, “Yeah, I do need some help carrying my bag.”
What I think Eric was really saying is, “I need someone. Anybody. Support.”
I parked, got out of the car, and carried his bags a few hundred feet to an empty park where he’d stay the night.
For some reason, he immediately opened up and began to share his story,
“I used to be a pharmacy student. I was on the right track, and I had a mental breakdown. In fact, here’s my medicine I have to take right here. I struggle with depression.”
After talking for a while, he paused and asked a question that I will never forget. He asked, “Who sent you all?” He then looked up towards heaven and said, “I know you all being here is divine.”
It kind of reminded me of the scripture when Jesus says, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Eric with a grateful disposition said, “You all are making me rich today. Keep loving people.”
What I think Mr. Eric was saying is, “Thank you for making me rich by stopping and noticing me in the ruins of my life. Thank you for not judging me and taking time to stop and make me rich by noticing that I exist. Thank you for praying with me when people use their bias to prey on me.”
After spending time with Eric, my heart broke again for the many people experiencing homelessness across this country. Therefore, I want to apologize to a community of people that constantly feels isolated and alone.
So here goes:
Today, I want to apologize to you if you’re experiencing homelessness and have been judged, overlooked, walked by, and abused by the words of people who have never walked in your shoes.
I apologize that you feel alone and like no one has been there for you.
I apologize that we live in a society that looks down on you when you can’t shower, brush your teeth, sleep in a bed, have a change of clothes, or meet some false expectations.
I apologize every single time you reached out, and literally got nothing in return.
I apologize when people look at you on the side of the road, and lock their doors and ride by.
I apologize that you somehow find yourself isolated, and are unable to trust the outside world.
I apologize that we have somehow overlooked your traumas and judged you when you developed a mental health issue and used substances to cope with life.
I apologize that some of us haven’t displayed the same love towards you that we want from God.
I apologize that you have to sometimes sleep outside when there are abandoned buildings all around you that could help you.
I apologize for every single time you were put out of a shelter, asked to provide ID when you didn’t have one, and shoved leftovers like you don’t have a preference(s).
I apologize we haven’t made you a priority in our country, and I apologize if you serve in our country and are still struggling to find benefits and housing.
I apologize that we haven’t allowed your plights to break our hearts to the point where we rise up and say enough is enough.
I apologize and I want you to know that I love you, and there are many others like me out here that love you.
I love you for being brave enough to weather your hardships sometimes with a smile and faith.
I admire you for having the courage to weather poverty and in many instances with deferred hope.
Today, I and thinking about you and what you to know my heart breaks for this plight.
I will continue to fight on your behalf.
This is my apology.
Here’s a recap video from DAY 15 of #MAP18 – Terence share’s why this was one of the most inspiring days while on the journey to Memphis, TN.
He was inspired by a group of young adults that stopped and prayed from him out of nowhere.
To learn more, visit marchagainstpoverty.com
Today is DAY 4 of #MAP18 and my body is feeling the wear and tear already. Not to mention, I just looked outside and it’s raining. I remember these types of days during the last walk, and they are draining.
If I’m honest, I’d like to pack up my bags and go home where it’s comfortable and safe.
Why? Because the roads ahead of me are long, and filled with the unknown. But, I’m the type of person that never commits to anything that I’m not willing to complete and finish.
Sometimes people think because I do these type of campaigns that fear isn’t present, but that’s actually not true. Fear is always there, but my faith is greater!
I believe a little bit of fear is always present with all of us, and that same fear paralyzes some people from moving forward. It’s only four days into this journey and the fear is telling me to
stop and go back home!
But, each time I see a different face of someone who is poor, voiceless, or vulnerable God’s courage tells me to continue.
We must press and move past the fear in order to fulfill our purpose(s). How fear is holding you back and telling you to go home?
Maybe to overcome it, you may have to do what I’m doing and listen to courage and faith more.
Last night, I was reminded that I’m not only walking for people who are poor, but also for those who may need to have their perspectives changed.
I was inboxed over Facebook by a man that I never met, but he said my posts changed his perspective.
“Hey Terence. First of thank you for caring for the people of the world unconditionally. Second thank you for moving me. I seen a post of yours about 30 minutes ago and have been scroll threw your page. I’m young and have a young family and you have inspired me, and reminded me that I have so much to be thankful for. I have been feeling a little lost and it realized threw your videos and post and movement that it’s because I have been focused on myself and my family. When someone out there would love to just have a warm meal or even a kind word. Again thank you. I will share your story in hopes that your movement may change the world or at the very least someone else’s moment.”
His posts echos two messages that will push me today.
Firstly, it echos that no matter where we are in life, we should remain grateful. Gratitude is the fuel that keeps us focused on what matters most and centers us inwardly. This same gratitude pushes us to stand in awe of God.
Second and last, it echos that life is too short to only be focused on yourself and play it safe. We are are given opportunities to serve those around us and we must be bold in serving others.
As I close this blog, I’m thinking about Jesus’ words found in Luke 4,
“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”
Luke 4:18-19, NKJV
WATCH VOICELESS DOCUMENTARY FREE!!!
About three weeks ago, our organization was offered a distribution deal for our documentary film “Voiceless.”
Although it was a huge opportunity, I (Terence) felt the pressure of having to entrust our message to many people who are not connected to the day-to-day work of fighting for those who are marginalized.
So, instead I (Terence) have chosen to make our documentary free to the public. Many would say this is foolish and insane to turn down a deal, but my heart has always been about educating, equiping, and moving people to care about those suffering with poverty in our country.
Therefore, if you have not seen our documentary and have always wanted to see it you can do so FREE of charge below.
Please read the disclaimer note to support our work!
After watching this film, you have three options to support Love Beyond Walls:
1) Go directly to our site and make a donation to our cause. Your support helps us to continue fighting poverty and homelessness (lovebeyondwalls.org/give).
2) Download a free 22 page workbook on our site at (lovebeyondwalls.org/voicelessfilm) to get next steps and continue the conversation on poverty.
3) Share this film as it is an important message in our country.
On October 3rd, 500+ young adults gathered to watch our “Voiceless” documentary at Victory World Church in Fusion ATL – Check out a quick video that has initial responses from young adults that watched the film. Powerful.
To learn more or watch our documentary, please visit voicelessfilm.com
This video is a full recap of our first public screening of our documentary, “Voiceless.” To learn more, visit lovebeyondwalls.org/voicelessfilm
Check out this original spoken word piece that was written by Derrick Bailey for our upcoming documentary on systemic poverty. This is the first feature length film our organization will put out to give those wrestling with poverty a voice in the U.S.
The name of our film is called, “Voiceless” – If you like this piece, share it or visit voicelessfilm.com