Extend with Us-Sweet Homes for AL
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Day 5 and 6-the last days
Fire crackles in the pit and a soft chill lingers as the sun begins to push away the last pieces of the dawn. It is a new day and to say that I am excited is an understatement. More like overwhelmed, broken, humbled, and honored. First, the outpouring of financial gifts is unprecedented for us. We are in position to exceed our goal of $77,000.
I think of Ms. Gore living in the Valley of Alabama who is anxious about her finances. Recently her debit card was compromised and her account emptied. Surviving on Social Security, she only receives a monthly allotment and it is gone. For whatever reason, the bank would not replace it even after filing a police report. Many times people like Ms. Gore are one flat tire from near financial collapse. Hers is greater than this. After helping someone “jump” their car battery off, it fried her car’s electrical system and she cannot exceed over 20mph making travel difficult. Living far out in the country, it takes a significant amount of time to get to the grocery store. The estimate on the car…$1000.00. So, when the body of Christ and loving people can come around her and repair her leaking roof, it gives her hope and one less thing to worry about. Where the roof had leaked, the ceiling had collapsed leaving a gaping hole in the ceiling where her granddaughter slept. Imagine having to look up into a hole in your attic each night as you slept…I would be unnerved. As the colder air comes through, it would gush through the hole into her room. There was extreme joy for this little girl when then hole was patched and her ceiling fully intact. When we see something broken fixed, it does something inside of us.
And that is why we will live in shacks, set crazy goals, and be uncomfortable. It is why we have to keep telling this story! There are thousands of Ms. Gore’s and her grandchildren across our state. And there are thousands of you willing to give up your time and money to help. That is special.
Thank you! Thank you for the meals, coffee, cookies, smores, did I say coffee :)), and all you have done for the Kingdom! Thank you for bringing your kids to paint, your groups to pray and learn, and for your warm emails and encouragement. It means so much to me and the ARM team. We love you all.
I am looking forward to sitting with my good friend, Chris Kelsey from Auburn UMC this morning and Rev. Jeremy Pridgeon from FUMC Montgomery coming at lunch. We love you all and reminded we are “Made for More” and Jesus calls us into deep, sacrificial relationships with all people!
Come see me at the shack!!!!
Day 4-Night 4- Saturday
Game Day! Wow-what a fun time in Auburn yesterday! Lots of people, lots of energy, and people were fairly generous! My secret weapon was unleashed yesterday. A secret because I did not even know I was going to have him! Jacobi-an 8 year old that goes to school in Tuskegee was none too shy about asking people to “put your money in the barrow” (meaning our wheelbarrow of change). And they did! Much better than I was doing. With his help, we had over $150 in cash given-a record for game day!
I was joined by the Aulner’s for dinner and some artistic painters in Charlie Man! We watched the Auburn game on line and simply enjoyed the electric evening.
Some asked me how the night went. As I said, it was happy drunks. And I was ok with that!!!! At 10:00pm the bar kicked off with GhostBusters followed by Thriller and I felt like I had been transported back to Junior HIgh but without all the junior high issues and insecurities. Besides the student running up onto my trailer and shaking my shack, it was pretty quiet.
I am so grateful to all those who are giving and what that means.
We will see how our $5000 match challenge from today turns out and looking forward to how that will go!!!
Day 3- Night 3 update- Box City
Why would you sleep in a box or on the ground knowing that the temps would be in the low 40’s and lots of potentially intoxicated people would be coming by? Why try to sleep in your car with just a thin blanket when you could have a soft mattress? Why choose to be intentionally uncomfortable? Why?
That’s what several students did last night in Auburn. It was a way to connect with families and individuals who live in substandard housing. On this chilly morning , as we uncurled from our fetal positions, cold, damp, and cramped…we knew that thousands of people would do the same thing. The difference is that our situation is temporary. And through the work of ARM we hope we can make it temporary for others.
As we sat around the camp fire roasting smores and talking about our experiences with serving, there was a connection with these ambitious and idealistic students who connect belief, obedience, and service. “Loving your neighbor” is not about “should” but what they do.
I have enjoyed serving alongside these young Christians who see the bigger picture, willing to make some sacrifices and want to spread Kingdom love in the way they serve.
Enjoyed having some wonderful people come by yesterday-shout out to Jason and Meredith Martin who brought Harper and Hendrix by to paint, to the Greene’s for dinner, the Aulner’s for extra blankets and for Betsy and Joseph setting up Box City.
Our total is $42,221 and looking forward to what more you all will do!
Why it Matters
Below is a story from Joe Davis about one of our families we have served with who means so much to him and us. It is why we do what we do. It is what makes your gift of love so significant. It’s what makes me get up every morning!
Why does it matter to make sweet homes for Alabama? I think of my friend Ms. Betty. She and I had the pleasure of meeting soon after I joined ARM’s ministry team back in 2014. Since I was so new, Ms. Betty was one of the first homeowners I had met through ARM’s home repair ministry, and she quickly made a lasting impression! Ms. Betty is full of joy and strength. She LOVES hosting mission teams who serve alongside her to make her dream home a reality. By the end of each service day, Ms. Betty is a new mom to everyone who serves with her. She looks forward to the day when she can have everyone who has ever served with her – her “babies” – over for a big cookout to celebrate all that God has done.
Ms. Betty got connected with ARM at a very difficult time in her life. She had hired a “contractor” to make much needed repairs, but he never completed the work he had agreed to and took a full payment – all Ms. Betty had saved up. Being a resourceful woman and hard worker, Ms. Betty did as much of the repairs she could on her own. Her courageous efforts weren’t enough, and she eventually had to pawn off her tools to pay bills. Ms. Betty is also a woman of deep faith – she even serves as a minister for a church – and when she felt like she had nothing left she did what many of us would do: she prayed. Thankfully, she soon found out about ARM and we were able to send volunteers to partner with her to make her home a little sweeter. As we extended Christ’s love, Ms. Betty extended love right back to us. We’re all better people, better disciples, for having known and loved each other in very tangible ways.
There are so many families throughout rural Alabama whose homes are not warm, safe, and dry. I thank God for my friendship with Ms. Betty, and that her home is now warmer, safer, and drier because of God’s work through ARM. I’m thankful for all the people who pray for us, serve with us, and support us financially. We believe that God desires a sweet home for every family and that means ending substandard housing in rural Alabama. Won’t you join us as we restore hope, build dreams, and make sweet homes for Alabama?