Author Archives: arm
Sunday Oct. 8
Time is slipping by and I realized I had not updated since Friday. Hurricane Nate became the dominant center for most of us in the south east. We adjusted our plan; watched the weather and decided how to stay safe and dry. Tarps were emplaced, the shack strapped to the trailer, display booths taken down, and an action plan developed in case evacuation was required. If the storm had stayed closer to east Alabama, my evacuation plan was into the hard stand building behind me. For now, it is rain and some howling wind forecasted to strengthen for much of the day and then diminish early evening. Why a picture of a staple hammer? It’s a simple tool. Most people may not have this. It has become a necessity for me as I re-staple the plastic that is ripping away from my window which does not have a pane in it. This simple
What preparations did you make? Did it come easy? Were you limited financially or was it an inconvenience? How does your insurance work if your home was damaged? Most of us have a safety net in place for disasters. But thousands of people over the past six weeks have lost their homes, mementos and dreams. For many, FEMA assistance or insurance is unavailable. The quiet, unseen and chronic issue of substandard housing and rehabilitation needs goes unnoticed. There are few safety nets and choices are extremely limited.
That is why I stay in a shack. These all become real for me. I feel it and for a short time live it. I want you feeling it with me so that we “see” our neighbor. Your gift and helping others is deeper than the financial gift. It is coupled with Christian love and the fabric holding us all together.
On a lighter side, I enjoy all the people coming to see me; the kids visiting to paint the shack and learning about serving their neighbors. Meals and coffee flow from friends and neighbors and I am overwhelmed with gratefulness and love.
The Auburn alumni faithful and Ole Miss fans helped us raise over $350 in cash yesterday by getting lemonade and water from “KK”. “KK” goes to church with me and is in elementary school. Wanting to help raise money for our families, she set up a free lemonade and water stand. It was a great success and she was so excited to serve in this way.
Being warm, safe, and dry in our homes is a given until something happens. Your gift is ensuring our seniors, single parent moms, and small families have a safety net. Your gift is matched with some incredible volunteers and co laborers helping make a tangible difference and extend Christ’s love!
Tropical Storm Nate now lingers as an ominous rain event and putting another twist on living in the shack. Many have asked me what I will do. My first thoughts go to, what will our families do? How will they weather the storm? If he comes through as a TS, then I stay with it, stay in the shack and weather it out. If he comes in as a hurricane, knowing my shelter is not safe, I will evacuate into a hardstand building. But, I am here. This is what it means to empathize and know what people with substandard housing, desperate for repairs that make their home warm, safe, and dry go through.
We started early yesterday. An extremely committed group of high school students from Auburn UMC came out at 7:20am. They are discipleship groups meeting weekly at this time to deepen their walk and faith. Coming out to the shack, we talked about faith, the gospel, and Jesus’ directives to serve with the poor and love our neighbor. I was inspired by them!
Our Bible study group came at 11:00 am and we are studying a book called, When Helping Hurts. We discussed the dangers from a biblical framework of when we match a need with the wrong kind of aid. How we can be paternalistic and have attitudes of superiority over the poor. These conversations continue to help us treat others like friends, not projects and to help us meet our own need to be needed.
Visitors for the day included Rev. Jeremy Pridgeon from FUMC Montgomery, Rev. Olivia Poole Reneau from Mt. Zion UMC, Rev. Steve Reneau from Trinity UMC Phenix City, Bishop David Graves, Rev. Elizabeth Whatley from Tuskegee UMC, Mrs. Dara Hosey-chair of our board, Mr. David Mashburn- ARM board, and Mr. Davis Lipscomb who stayed overnight in the guest shack.
In the afternoon, we had a group of young and older elementary students come out after school and visit the shack. They asked such good questions and pointed out all the problems with my little house. They seemed to take in that they could help others in need and wanted to help. They are going to raise enough change as a class to buy a new commode-$75! Really cool!!!! I was touched and encouraged. And then….we got to see the Budweiser Clydesdales!!!!!
As the evening closed, the Auburn Wesley Foundation invited me to eat with them and share why I have been camped out on their lawn and what ARM is doing. AU Wesley helped get ARM going and the inspiration behind our work. I love telling them how they are the ones that got this all started!
Despite it being Thursday night and a home game, it was surprisingly quiet and we slept well. No one ripped up my sign or tore anything up. All in all-restful. Grateful for what we have raised and the outpouring of love!
Looking forward to Day 3 and our Cardboard Box City tonight!
The first 24 hours… I have been on my heels. Being away last month on active duty with the storms and not getting back till this past Thursday has been a test. I believe we are all fatigued with the … Continue reading
It’s that time and I cannot believe it. I get excited this time of year to see what God is going to do through so many people.
In the middle of my excitement is the heartbreak we all feel. So many unnecessary lives lost in Las Vegas to a senseless shooting. We question, why would anyone want to do that? Do we devalue human lives and our own life that much? What gets us to a place like that? A sickness of the soul is one of the most heartbreaking and destructible forces we face. Pain caused from so many who lost homes, memories, and lives is still fresh from the three powerful storms that hit our US coasts. The list of disasters world- wide and a Syrian crises grows. In the midst of pain and suffering, with lingering questions that can never be answered, we grasp for beams of light and hope.
Hurting people rush to the aid of other hurting people. Acts of violence are countered with acts of love and kindness. We commit to serving and loving our neighbor. Darkness never wins or gets the upper hand when we counter with expressions of love and light.
Living in the shack is the tangible way that I and others try to understand hardships. Hardships when we see the leaks, when we dodge the unsafe places, when the drafts come in and we do our best to stop them and even moments when we do not feel safe. I have names and faces of families who struggle with these conditions, who wonder if they will ever be able to raise the money to afford the repairs. People who wonder if there is another way and if people care.
The answer is yes. Yes, there is another way. Yes, we care. Yes, there is hope. Paul writes, “in Jesus, we have a ‘yes’”. We can co-labor together and repair homes. We can share our stories together. We can build trust, community and together bring about transformation. All of that from living in a shack? I would like to think so.
Come see us at the shack at 131 S. Gay Street. If you are out of town, take some time to watch the story unfold on Facebook and through Twitter. Share this with your kids. Find ways to serve whether with us or another ministry or organization. Together, our lights will outshine the darkness!
To give: www.arm-al.org or text 334-731-763
Want to set up your own fundraising page?
Thanks so much!