Yesterday, our #plantlove campaign started!
Ironically enough, it was
“April Fools” day. You know… the national holiday where people pull pranks on their closest friends & relatives? LOL.
Well, yesterday felt “foolish” is a sense. Why? Because it is unbelievable and humbling that we are taking steps forward to get planted in our office/storage and city of ATL/College Park. Personally, I am excited and blown away by God’s ability to provide. It does’t make sense at all.
DAYS 1 & 2 have been focused on getting the parking lot cleaned. There were many leaves, sticks, and old trash in the lot from the previous occupant. Also, we have taken these two days to get several things cut on — like power, gas, phone, and other small items. Currently, there is a little waiting period that came up unexpectedly.
We are awaiting the final inspections, and clearances for our organization to be planted in the headquarters (officially).
However, during this waiting period, I’m learning three lessons as a leader during the process. Here goes:
1) Remain focused on the bigger picture — The big picture for us involves serving, helping, and reaching people who are under resourced, under valued, and overlooked. This is our “why” behind our “what.” Nothing more, nothing less. When you stay focused on the bigger picture, it makes your process worth it.
2) Be open to grow — When you venture out to do something greater than yourself, it will demand that you grow in areas that seem uncomfortable to you at first. But, in order for your work to grow, you must continue to grow yourself. I have personally increased my listening and reading capacity (x2). Additionally, you must use every experience (in the process) as an opportunity to grow.
3) See it through — The process is uncomfortable at times, but you must have a resolve in your heart to “see it through.” This is the place where you refuse to look backwards. With the work we do with #lovebeyondwalls, we have a “see it through” mentality. Why? Because we truly value the work God has us doing.
Below is a back of the building shot! Every day in April, we are getting closer and closer to getting planted. Continue to pray that God guides our work.
In the entire month of March, we collected shoes from hundreds of people across the state of GA, and from some people who live out of State.
It was an amazing month! Why? Because we collected over 5K shoes, and were able to resource over a thousand individuals with their correct sizes. Why? Because generous, selfless, and kind strangers gave we were able to meet particle needs and minister to the homeless population in ATL.
Here is a picture of a gentlemen we met that had on five pair of socks just to fit shoes that were not his size. The beauty in this picture is found in the fact that he received dignity from a total stranger that sacrificed their shoes for him.
So, “What’s next?” you might be asking… I’m glad you asked.
The entire month of April, #lovebeyondwalls is getting planted in our office/storage space. Why? Because we have a vision to connect & resource many other organizations with items, serve more people, and build relationally with many under-resourced people and lead them on a life-changing relationship with God.
It’s a pretty huge vision, but it will happen one step at a time. And, the first step is getting planted. Therefore, we are literally planting “LOVE” in our city.
I cannot believe tomorrow marks a historical month for our “young” organization. It is commonly known as “April Fool’s Day” to many, but to us it is a reminder that “God takes the foolish things to confound the wise…”
It is a reminder that God is using us to do God’s work to help restore lives and reach people! We ask you to do two things:
1) We ask that you view our simple “wish list,” and help us rally items on it so we can get planted in the city of ATL, and
2) We ask that you continue to pray for our efforts!
We are excited about partnering with India Faith Ministries in India to resource many kids with shoes who don’t have any at all. This will kick off our #lovebeyondborders initiative to share the love of God with people across the globe. Thank you so much for your contribution to our #givemilesaway campaign!
Below I received an email from the kids the other day saying, “THANKS!!!” Not only did this warm my heart, but it is reminding me of how God loves every single person on this planet.
Keep praying for #lovebeyondwalls
We are approaching a historic month for #lovebeyondwalls! Why? Because in the month of April we will occupy our first office/slash storage space. Below is a picture if you have seen it yet:
Of course it is not a gigantic building, but it will be something we call a headquarters & home.
It will be a “launchpad” for the work we would like to continue doing in our city (ATL), country, and world.
It will be a place where we can get planted and grow as an organization. We ask that you do four specific things to help us get planted into our new office/storage space in the month of April (whole month).
1) Pray – I ask that you pray that God allows us to get planted, and immediately continue to reach people who do not have any hope.
2) Give – I ask that you look at our simple “wish list” and contribute in of the items on it that we need. This is ALL from scratch, so we will need your help. But, if we have to spend the first month on the floor with laptops working, we are cool with that too. LOL. Simply click [HERE] to visit our “wish list” page.
3) Volunteer – We will post the days that we will start working on the building to clean it, and make minor repairs to it. We ask that you volunteer to help get our building together. We will need help getting organized, painting, etc. Why? As we get planted, we can help more people.
4) Share our story – If you know someone who could help us move forward, share our story. You never know who “you know” that we can help, or could help us.
This morning (5AM), I am reflecting on the need that is in this city (ATL), across the country (USA), and in other countries as it relates to the poor. This past Saturday, 400+ men, women, and a few children stood in a line to receive a pair of shoes. Why? Because some of them were wearing shoes that were not their size. Could you imagine wearing a size 11 shoe, and have to squeeze your feet into a size 9? This was the case most times…
The line was so long, it literally wrapped around the parking lot. Below is a picture if you think I’m joking…
All this for shoes… YES SHOES! And just think… We have seen people die on the News over the latest pair of shoes (namely Jordan’s)… Nothing against fashion, but these people were not standing in line for the latest pair of Jordan’s…They wanted any shoe!
While I write this blog, I am thinking about two things: Firstly, the many supporters, organizations, donors, churches that gave to our #givemilesaway campaign (God used you)! We were able to raise over 5K shoes. How? Over 400 people gave to this campaign! Not only will we be able to resources shelters, people directly, but continue to do this throughout the year as needs arise. There are too many people to thank, but God knows you ALL.
Secondly, I am reflecting on a passage found in the book of Matthew. It is in Chapter 25, and is one of those verses that I center my life around. It speaks to what we are all called to–to care for those who are in need! Not for our own glory, but to share and display the love God intended for ALL people to experience.
Here’s that verse (Matthew 25:34-40, NKJV):
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Yesterday was one of the best speaking engagements I’ve ever had! Why? Because I got a chance to speak to a classroom of bright, articulate, intelligent, and hope-filled 5th graders at Cheatham Hill Elementary.
I was invited by an educator who recently learned about LBW (Ms. King), and what we are doing to raise awareness about homelessness and other issues in the city (ATL) and country. Ms. King asked me to share stories with her class that paralleled a non-fiction novel they are reading. The novel contains stories of homelessness, and the stories I’ve experienced (while homeless for three days) bring those non-fiction stories to life.
As I shared, I began to see many student(s) faces light up while they listened intently… Also, I started to see lights go off in their heads.
After I gave my talk, it then dawned on me–homelessness is connected to so many educational topics! One student asked, “Why are families broken…” another “Why are people poor in this country…” yet another “What are we so wasteful in this country…”
These bright students raised questions about sociology, psychology, economics, politics, and public health. I was intrigured and even inspired with how concerned these kids were with people who they don’t know (the under resourced).
I answered a couple of questions, and then this group of students asked if they could help #lovebeyondwalls with a project. It just so happened that #lovebeyondwalls is adopting 30 orphans in India (from the Dalit community) in the month of April.
They are in need of shoes and other small items, and these students vowed to raise the resources needed to supply these orphans with resources. It became a class project instantly.
So not only was my conversation filled with different areas of study, it became a beautiful picture of kids serving kids that do not have anything. Below are the two pictures! One picture are the orphans, and the other picture are the students that will help the children in India through our #lovebeyondborders campaign.