This AM was amazing! Why? We went out and passed out tons of water we collected during our #projectTHIRST campaign! This morning we encountered several people who said that they have experienced dehydration before while living on the streets, and were grateful for the water.
While serving, I got a chance to help some people on 14th day of #closetstrike… It was humbling…I’ve been wearing one outfit for 14 DAYS straight, and
I still can’t believe it…
Now, some may say that it is pointless to go out and distribute bottles of water, but I beg to differ… Our goal was to collect tons of water to encounter people who are subject to dehydration, and build relationships with them, learn their stories, and see how we can get them the resources needed to transition off of the streets (while making sure they are hydrated during Summer months).
Well, while serving we encountered this 28 year young man named Lamar! By passing out one bottle of water, it sparked a conversation that ended up with me driving him to Atlanta Crisis Center to check himself in… He told me he hadn’t slept in three days because of the hard drugs he was doing…But for some reason he wanted to try to leave the streets this AM…
So, was it the water, or was it the conversation that mattered. I believe it was the conversation! I believe it was the relationship, and I believe it was because we chose to go beyond a hand out…
Hand outs do nothing, but hearing stories and building relationships can be used by God to do wonders!
Below is the bottle of water that sparked the conversation. Pray that we reach more people, hydrate more people, and pray that I stay committed to the #closetstrike journey.
Today, I’m sitting here thinking about how intense and how long it is going to take me to complete the third 3rd awareness campaign.
In fact, I have shared the idea with many close friends, and some people honestly think it is
nuts. Well, I really don’t think it is nuts… I just think it will make a strong statement for all the children who struggle with generational poverty, lack, and broken families. I only have 24 more DAYS left… I will reveal this Sunday what it is…
Pray that this campaign changes others, changes me, and helps us #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.
I’m up thinking (5AM)… I cannot believe I made thirty miles walking! In fact,
my eyes are sweating (LOL). I don’t think I was strong enough to make a 15 hour walk, but God saw me through it…
Over the last two days, I have gotten many pats on the back, encouraging words & well wishes for walking thirty miles on behalf of homeless people in Atlanta (and this country)… BUT, I don’t think I deserve the credit…
Why? Because without God, and the good people who were around me, I would have not completed the 30 mile walk–literally! The pictures below (among many others) prove my point:
There were many individuals & social media followers who pushed, encouraged, and stood with me the whole way (even people I don’t know). Additionally, there are many people on the #lovebeyondwalls team that helped make the “LOVE RALLY & WALK” possible. Many people on the team even stayed the night with me in the parking lot at Crossroads Church (I’m extremely grateful for them).
What am I saying? I’m glad you asked. Without God, my wife/family, & a solid support system, #lovebeyondwalls wouldn’t be anything. Of course we would do work, but not without the support from good people that God sends.
So instead of making this blog about me, I would like to make it about the people who made history with me, and the people we advocated for–people who face homelessness by living on the streets, in shelters, or living with loved ones without a residential address. It’s over a million of you! And, If you fit this category, YOU DESERVE A VOICE!
It’s the people that go through life without support that need a voice! It’s the individuals who have a heart to serve and help others that need the platform. NOT ME. I’m just trying to be obedient to God, and follow Jesus’ model… I know if he were walking the earth, he’d be involved in broken communities and loving on the poor.
Although I cannot name everyone who helped, I’d like to say you know who you are! You rock, you are special, and God is using you to help uplift people who are looked down upon!
In closing, I would like to list four words that I thought about the entire walk that helped me finish:
1) Resilience – This word means to continue despite present difficulties, and to press forward continuously.
2) Love – This word is a verb, and must be shown through demonstration. This word also restores and protects.
3) Teamwork – This word means nothing in this world happens alone… There is always a team needed to achieve great goals.
4) Family – This word helped me to remember that I have a solid support system who believes in me–my wife, kids, and loved ones!
I was tagged in a picture today on our [INSTAGRAM PAGE] by @CWH25 (a high school student)!
I walked into my son’s room, and just stood over him watching… Of course he was sleeping, but I just stood there in awe that he turned three years of age this morning. Let’s sing….”Happy Biiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrthhhhhh day toooooooo yoooooooou” I’m joking.
However, not only did reflect on the privilege I have been given to father both my children, I started to thank God for the opportunity he has given me with my children… God is allowing me to give my children some of the things I lacked growing up (we ALL lacked things…).
As I stood and watched, I jotted down five reasons I am glad to be a father to my children. Do you want to see my list? Here goes:
1) Children need fathers. Fathers have a special precence and voice in the life of a child. A grown man can break down from hearing his father say, “I love you” or “I’m proud of you” after not hearing it all his life… When the voice of a father goes lacking, children are left to rely on other things to fill those voids. Therefore, children need fathers or some type of male presence in their life.
2) Children need models. I’m not perfect by far, but I am glad the I have a chance to share, mentor, teach, and model things in our home that can be gleaned by my children. I truly believe in shared equal responsibilities between a husband and wife, but a father can set the tone for the house in many ways. In fact, it seems like my children attempt to do things that I do already… I’m just glad I have the opportunity not to be perfect before them, but to be before them doing the best I can…
3) Children need support. When children grow up without the proper support system, it’s easy to be emotionally damaged, or lose a sense of direction and self. A father can play a huge role in this area lending their voce, experience, and unconditional love to his child(ren)…This can provide guidance, wisdom, and insight along the way.
4) Children need time. Of course we all have busy schedules, technology, calendars, and a number of other things to do, but quality time from a father helps the child feel that “love” is present. I love interacting with my children because it lets them know that they are both special and valuable.
5) Children need a spiritual foundation. As a father, I am glad that I have a chance to not only model but teach and redirect. I have leaned a lot from bumping my head, and making wrong decisions. All of that experience enables me to teach my children what to do, and what not to do… With that being said, I am making it a priority to make sure they develop a spiritual foundation and learn about the God of the universe. Why? Because even though my wife and I are there, it is God almighty that will unfold their lives.
With that being said, I am grateful that I am a father to Zion Joy & Terence II!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TERENCE….WE LOVE YOU!!!!
Over the last week, I have received calls from all over: L.A., New York, Kentucky, Texas, Tennessee, Alabama, Virginia, and a few other states. Many people from these states are talking about possible collaborative efforts, and wanted to know how #lovebeyondwalls could come to those states to help raise awareness.
Although we are pacing ourselves here in the city of Atlanta, I learned something very important about homelessness (in my 72 Hours), what it will take to combat it, how we can help those who are living on the streets without any resources or means, and what it will take to raise awareness across this country about this epidemic.
It takes collaboration! It takes an army of people banded together taking #lovebeyondwalls to make a difference in this sensitive area. Why? Because homelessness is a vast issue. There are many causes for homelessness in the United States: Addiction, Poverty, Job-loss, Foreclosures, Mental health, Lack of affordable housing, Domestic Violence, and a host of other social issues.
In fact, a stat shows that out of the 300+ million people that live in the United States 3.5 million of those people are expected to be homeless each year (stat taken from homeaid.org). This isn’t something a few organizations, or a couple people passing out sandwiches can handle alone. This epidemic will take people from all sorts of industries, churches, faith communities, backgrounds, and neighborhoods to come up with solutions to this problem (and work together not individually). Will it be easy? No. But, it will have to start in the trenches (grassroots), and expand nationally.
It’s just as my IG friend Arkeedah McCormick says, “Collaboration is truly amazing! You get to meet, listen, and engage with many individuals and hear their stories.”
Collaboration will do three things:
1) Create strength. Unity is a powerful tool, and has the ability to provide strength to any movement or cause.
2) Create resources. No one person or organization has all the resources, but through collaboration and unity strength and resources appear.
3) Create a voice. When people band together to take #lovebeyondwalls, the voiceless are heard, and their issues are discussed.
In 2014, #lovebeyondwalls will partner with people from all over to make a difference, and raise more awareness about homelessness in the city of Atlanta, and in the United States. If you are reading this, and would like to partner contact us [HERE].
A few days ago, #lovebeyondwalls mobilized 300+ people to resource people with food, clothes, and other items to survive on the streets in downtown Atlanta. It took collaboration!
Check out the video showing the collaborative efforts below:[embedplusvideo height=”500″ width=”500″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/1eQfosW” standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/DDg25Lwqpyc?fs=1″ vars=”ytid=DDg25Lwqpyc&width=500&height=500&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=¬es=” id=”ep7228″ /]