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Arm Blog

Shack Day 2- TS Nate

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!

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The First 24 hours…

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

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Where is the Light? #sweethomes for Alabama

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:  or text  334-731-763

Want to set up your own fundraising page?

Thanks so much!


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Storms, Hurricanes, and Bringing Hope

Normally September is when we are all excited about football, cooler weather. But for thousands of people, it has come at a price. As I write, we face another developing storm system with Maria tracking the same path as Irma. … Continue reading

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Sweet Homes for Alabama

Let’s end substandard housing in Alabama and help Ms. Sanford make her home warm, safe, dry, and beautiful! It’s time for Alabama Rural Ministry‘s 10th Annual Sweet Homes for Alabama fundraiser! Formerly known as “Poverty Awareness Week” and “No More Shacks,” we are launching our Sweet Homes for Alabama fundraising campaign from September 1st through November 1st in order to raise funds and awareness about poverty and substandard housing in rural Alabama.

Because it is our 10th anniversary, we have set a huge goal! We are raising $100,000. This will help families in Alabama like Ms. Sanford restore their homes making them warm, safe, dry and beautiful! Executive Director and Founder, Lisa A. Pierce and others will live in a shack beginning October 4th and staying as late as October 10th! Local pastors, board members, and some students will be staying at the shack with Lisa for three-hour slots or overnight. Rain, shine, hot, or cold, they will be in the shacks in order to experience (on a much lesser scale) some of the challenges that come with these living conditions.

Come by the shack, learn about how ARM is working in the community, and make a donation so that we can restore the sweet homes of Alabama (and get Lisa out of the shack, of course!). Starting September 1, we will be accepting pledges and donations online through the “Donate Now” button on our Facebook page, through our website, and mailed to our office at P.O. Box 2890 Auburn, Alabama 36831.

What if you are not in the Auburn area but still want to experience the shack or get your church directly involved?

Step 1:

Download the Sweet Homes Kit for Churches to check out all the ways your church can engage! 

Here’s a sneak peek of what you’ll find in the kit:

  • Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Pages:It only takes 5-10 minutes to setup a personalized online giving page that you can share with your social media networks! Your church, Sunday School class, or youth group could setup a page and/or individuals could set up their own pages too!
  • Wheelbarrow of Change: Set up a wheelbarrow in with your youth, children, or visible place in your church. Encourage people to put change into anytime from September-October. Cash the change in and send ARM the proceeds.
  • Cardboard Box City: This is great for youth groups or families. Pick a weekend night and set up boxes to sleep in. Not quite substandard housing but it does connect us with helping to keep our families from becoming homeless. It is an intentional way to be uncomfortable. You can set up your wheelbarrow to collect money or use our donation page for online gifts.
  • Build your own shack: We have plans you can use and construct your own shack. It is designed for 2-3 people to stay in at one time. Create options for people to stay in the evening or over the weekend.

Step 2:

Click here to sign up your church for the Sweet Homes Campaign and let us know how you’ll be involved!

AND YOU DON’T HAVE TO PHYSICALLY COME TO MAKE AN IMPACT! Join the event on our Facebook page (make sure you like our organization’s Facebook page too), share it with all of your friends, and pass the donation link to others, encouraging them to make a small donation. Even $10 will go a long way!

Poverty education lunch workshops will be held on Wednesday Oct. 4th, Thursday, October 5th, and Monday, October 9th at 12:00. Room information at Auburn coming. All are welcome to come and join us as we learn about other organizations and the different ways they are serving with low-income families in our community and hands-on ways we can all get plugged in.

We would love for you to drop by and help us spread the word! We need your help so that families have Sweet Homes in Alabama!

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