Dangerous Democracy

It’s a big day if you live in Alabama. It’s a big day in the US. As you get ready to vote, and I encourage you to do, here is something to consider. Below is a piece of what I wrote in response to a person saying vote for a particular candidate, not because they are any good, but because we need to control the seat in Congress he will hold. Their logic was that he would have an ethics investigation and possibly ousted anyway but that would allow a certain party to control the congress. When this rationale becomes our method of voting for candidates, we have all but destroyed the very democracy that framed this great country.

I must disagree with the logic of flat party voting. I find this type of logic is eroding the overall democratic process and the value systems needed for a stable democracy that benefits all people. To simply vote for the “party” no matter which one it is without careful consideration of the candidate, their value systems, and how they will work with other constituents is undermining our democratic process. Our republic was built upon an educated citizen voting with knowledge of what the candidate stood for and whether he or she would represent the highest values needed of a public servant. I am disheartened at the demonizing of the parties and the candidates, a carte’ blanche approach to voting, and not considering the values and integrity needed of a leader in the public sector. Our democracy must be more than just maintaining a seat in either one of the political parties. We are better served with candidates who uphold high moral values, demonstrate compassion for all people, and know how to build consensus and collaboration no matter what party is represented or even if no party is represented.

Although I am deeply tempted to speak about the candidates, I don’t believe social media is my best venue and will keep that to my closer circle. If you want to know…email or text me. But again, just voting for a party to keep a seat is dangerous, illogical, and will continue to have damaging effects on our democratic system. We must transcend this type of thinking and promote a more holistic way of selecting those who will lead our democracy most effectively with character values, accountability, and a record of excellence being primary traits of consideration.

My hope is this will drive your consideration for your candidate. Vote values. Vote character. Vote collaboration. Anything else may be unraveling and dismantling the very democracy we espouse to uphold.

Shalom,

Lisa Pierce

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Summer Mission Intern Stories: A Fool For Christ

Nicole Cronin, one of our 2017 summer mission interns who served as a Day Camp Counselor, first heard about ARM after meeting Joe at a career fair held at her university.

Nicole gives us the 411 on her summer experience. Nicole says, “It was exciting and challenging to serve as a Day Camp Counselor at the Livingston, AL site. We took care of high school and middle school teams and led nightly worship for them every night. During the day, we ran a summer camp for underprivileged 5 to 10 year olds that live in the area.”

Like others, Nicole’s summer experience helped her to grow. She says, “I grew more confident in myself. There were plenty of times when I thought to myself that I needed to find an adult who knew what to do, but there wasn’t one. I was the adult, and it pushed me to step up and handle things that I didn’t think that I was capable of doing before. The experience also taught me to trust in God. He helped me with the things I couldn’t handle myself and gave me the faith to keep going.”

There are many memorable moments that Nicole enjoyed from the summer. Nicole says, ” I think some of my most memorable moments were with the kids. They’re sassy and most definitely a handful, but they are really good kids. My favorite days were Thursdays because it was water day. The kids were so excited to play with the sprinkler system in the park. One moment in particular I can think of was playing duck-duck-splash. It was basically duck-duck-goose, but the goose got a sponge full of water squeezed on his or her head. We were playing and this particular kid was pouting because he hadn’t been chosen yet, so I pointed this out to the girl who was it. She dunked the sponge deep in the bucket, and the pouting kid got drenched. But he was giggling and all smiles afterwards. It was adorable.”

As a Day Camp Counselor, Nicole had many duties. Some of her duties were:

  • Pray (A lot)
  • Create lesson plans for the summer (especially for weeks without teams)
  • Plan and buy snacks for snack time
  • Plan and put on a parents meeting before the summer starts
  • Get supplies and set up the classrooms with your supplies
  • Maintain the budget
  • Plan the schedule for Thursday water days
  • Run the Day Camp (You’d think this would be higher on the list)
  • Enforce the rules (Be responsible, Be respectful, Be safe, Be prepared)
  • Work with the teams to determine activities and plans for the week. (Some will be very prepared and some won’t. You’ll have to figure out how to make the best of every situation)
  • Make tons of adjustments to all of the above plans to suit your kids needs (You’ll find out pretty quick what works and doesn’t work)
  • Send out thank up cards to the sponsors for the Day Camp
  • Plan the field trip/ budget the field trip
  • Lead the field trip
  • Plan the summer celebration, get the kids ready for the summer celebration, and get supplies for the summer celebration
  • Write devotional(s)
  • Do morning devotional every morning with the middle/ high schoolers
  • Make sure they have their lunches (I was the lunch captain)
  • Plan out and participate in nightly worship
  • Supervise cleaning procedures every week
  • Supervise meal prep
  • Help out where needed

“This list looks pretty scary, but you won’t be doing all this on your own. You’re going to have an awesome team of amazing people working with you every step of the way.” When asked what her favorite duties were, Nicole says, “I enjoyed meal prep and worship time with the teams of middle schoolers and high schoolers because I felt that I really got to talk with them and see them grow in their relationship with God.”

Nicole also has some advice for future Day Camp Counselors:

Be patient. In training we talk about ways to work with kids and lead them down the right path when we need to, but it’s different talking about it than actually facing a teary child throwing a tantrum because so-and-so pushed him. Be flexible. Like I said before in the duties, you’re going to have to make tons of adjustments to suit your kids needs. Allergies? You have to prepare allergen-free snacks. ADHD? Don’t freak out when she can’t stay engaged. Better yet? Find ways to keep her attention. Running over schedule? Adjust. Be faithful. Pray for the kids. They really need it, like all of us do. Make sure that in all of the chaos that God is first.

When asked what her most valuable lesson was, Nicole says, ” The most valuable lesson learned was to be a “fool for Christ” and just trust that God can get me through even the most difficult times.”

Check out www.arm-al.org/summerstaff to find out more about our summer mission internships! Applications for summer 2018 are being accepted now!

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Spring 2018 Internship Opportunity

We’re excited to announce that we are looking for an intern to serve with us beginning January/February 2018 at our Opelika office.  We are seeking someone to help us with team recruitment, event planning, communications, and more!

It’s a paid position and a great opportunity in which you will gain valuable experience! We can also provide housing in the Auburn area. If interested, contact Joe at joe@arm-al.org to find out more information on how to apply! We would love for you to serve with us!

Join us as we work toward ending substandard housing in rural Alabama. By restoring hope and building dreams, we are making sweet homes for Alabama and extending an arm of Christ’s love.

 

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Summer Mission Intern Stories: A Call to Serve

Joining ARM’s summer staff could possibly be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make.

During an interview, Josh Reid, one of our 2017 summer mission interns who served as a Construction Coordinator, explains what it meant for him to serve with ARM. Josh first heard about us through an email about an ARM service day from Auburn University where he is a Building Science student. He got involved during the fall and spring semesters serving with families in the Lee/Macon county area before applying for one of our full-time construction coordinator summer internships.

Josh realized he had been called to serve with ARM after he arrived to training. Joshua says, “I had been studying the book of Jonah, and after the first few days of intense training, I decided I didn’t want to do it anymore. I read where Jonah didn’t want to do what he was called to do and was forced to go

to Nineveh. At that point, I realized that I was where I was supposed to be. God opened the doors for me to be there and, even though it was hard, I knew the reward of what God was going to do through ARM would be great. (Not saying ARM was Nineveh), but the good things really outweighed the bad,” says Josh.

When asked how he grew over the summer, Josh states, “I grew by having to rely not on myself. I really learned how to give things over to the Lord. I had to rely on Him more.”

The Construction Coordinator’s primary responsibility is to facilitate home repair projects performed by ARM’s student mission teams. Josh’s favorite duties included driving the truck around and picking up materials from the builders. Josh also enjoyed many different things while hosting teams such as: Welcome Day when they had lemonade and cookies, having down time, leading worship, and playing a game called Signs.

I love ARM, Lisa, Joe, and the whole staff. Jeremiah, sorry for making things so difficult this summer. Also thank you for the opportunity and teaching me about life and how to grow closer to Jesus. -Josh Reid

Check out www.arm-al.org/summerstaff to learn more about our summer mission internship opportunities! Summer 2018 applications are being accepted now!

 

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#Giving Tuesday Nov. 28

Our #SweetHomesfor Alabama #NoMoreShacks effort raised $85,600 towards our goal of $100,000. We have another opportunity to make up the difference! We have Black Friday and Cyber Monday but we can outdo those with #GivingTuesday. Your gift will help repair homes for well deserving families and individuals on fixed incomes. You can send a message of love this Thanksgiving Season! If you would like to make a gift in honor of someone, we will send them and you an “in honor of card”. We pray you have a wonderful Thanksgiving as you use your gifts and bounty to serve and help others!

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