Made For More

Make A Difference Day 2017 was a success!!! Make A Difference Day or MDDay is a day for volunteers around the nation go out of their way to make a difference by serving their communities.

On October 28, 2017, ARM, along with churches, organizations, and individuals across the nation extended Christ’s love through home repair and community service. We served with over 150 volunteers and 17 crews for 14 different families’ homes in Lee and Macon counties.

Our theme this year was Made For More (Ephesians 2:10). We began the day at Cornerstone Church. 151 volunteers gathered to register, eat breakfast, and have a moment of devotion which was led by Rev. Pat Bethea who spoke from Ephesians 2:10. As volunteers registered, they were provided with T-Shirts with our Make A Difference Day theme “Made For More”

After gathering at Cornerstone, each our teams went to their assigned sites. They spent the day doing hands-on home repair with 14 different families.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to Make A Difference Day 2017. We could not have made a difference in 14 families’ lives if it had not been for you!We are also very appreciative to our corporate sponsors: Behind the Glass, Victory Design, R&D Enterprises, and Bailey Harris Construction.

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Feeling Thankful for 20 Years of Youth Mission Camp

It’s the season for giving thanks and we’ve been counting our blessings as the old hymn goes. As we remember all God has done, we are thankful for God’s faithfulness in ways both big and small. And, we’re excited for what lies ahead! Next year, 2018, marks our 20th anniversary as ministry… wow, God is good!

We continue to be amazed by God’s faithfulness as we serve with our home repair families and day camp kids. The relationships made between our middle and high school mission teams, summer mission interns, and our day camp children and home repair families continue to be a blessing in more ways than we can ever know. It’s just good to come together, serve each other, and worship our gracious God of love who made us for mission!

We’d love to host your middle & high school student mission team at youth mission camp this summer! Team registration is open and we have plenty of dates throughout June and July for your team to serve. Check out www.arm-al.org/missioncamp to learn more, check dates, and register your team!

What is youth mission camp? A 4-day/5-night mission and discipleship experience in rural Alabama where your team extends the love of Christ with families and kids through home repair and day camp ministries. After a full day of service, your team gathers for evening worship led by our summer mission intern team. We provide your meals and housing, coordinate your team’s home repair ministry, and serve alongside you with the day camp kids.

Teams serve with families and kids at one of our two mission sites in rural Alabama: York (serving Sumter County) and Tuskegee (serving Lee and Macon Counties). In York, teams are hosted at the York Mennonite Church. Tuskegee teams are hosted at the Tuskegee Mission Hub which is part of Tuskegee First Methodist Church. ARM provides all meals at both sites, but teams will work with our staff to prepare meals and cleanup.

 

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Leaving the Shack

Another shack year and our 10th year had several twists. Together we have raised $78,780 towards our goal of $100,000. We are equipped to serve 15 more families making their homes warm, safe, dry and beautiful. We are eager to extend Jesus’ love displaying compassion and grace with some special homeowners who are also our friends. Hurricane Nate was fortunately not significant for us and with the three previous storms, we were grateful. Still, we prepared the shack for the worst; tarping the roof, putting in window shutters, and reinforcing the floor with more plastic, Walmart bags to keep water from seeping under my mattress. I imagine many families were making similar preparations.

Two other parts of the shack warmed my heart. Having KK and her brother set up a lemonade stand on game day was such a treat. They earned $377 which they gave to ARM…they could have kept that money. KK told me that it made her feel good to serve someone else and it was worth it. With the money they raised, they pointed out how they could by two kitchen sinks for families. Seeing such generosity and tenacity from elementary students; I was left speechless and hopeful.

Most special to me was Ms. Andrea joining me to help with our fundraiser. She brought her famous cookies and spoke to passersby about the ways ARM serves others. Ms. Andrea repaired her home with our volunteers last year and then served on our day camp staff in Tuskegee. Being a retired teacher, she was well equipped for serving with our elementary children and mentoring our college interns. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote, “everyone can be great because everyone can serve”. I saw this at work through Ms. Andrea. We all have opportunities to give and receive as we participate in restoring hope and building dreams!!!

Our Sweet Homes for Alabama aka No More Shacks Campaign will run through Oct. 31st so there is still time to give. Click the “Donate Now” button at www.arm-al.org/sweethomes or text “give” to 334-731-7637. Your gift helps us finish Ms. Sanford’s home and several more families. If you are local and would like to join us doing home repair, email joe@arm-al.org.

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Day 7-Ms. Andrea

For the Son of man did not come to be served but to serve…

This scripture puts serving at the heart of following and discipleship. Love is not words, it is action. It is not lofty platitudes, it is sacrificial love. True social justice is not pickets, shouting and demeaning the other, it is coming along side people, getting into their story and mining out the image of Christ in them. We don’t talk about substandard housing, we experience living in it. That makes the difference.

It is my final day living in a shack. With some large pledges overnight and some pastors from churches with large mission hearts coming today, we can get there. Our new total is $59, 434! $40,000 is still a big number…but we serve a big God with people who have sacrificial and generous hearts. What was that phrase, don’t tell God how big your problems are, tell your problems how big our God is. Perspective.

My highlight yesterday was having Ms. Andrea McIntosh come sit with me. What a difference that makes! We served with Ms. Andrea last year getting her home rewired and repairing a kitchen that had a major leak rotting most of the floor. Ms. Andrea is a retired teacher who moved down from Pittsburgh to take care of her father who eventually died. She now lives in his house which had many issues. Without a car, some medical problems with her knees, and living several miles outside of town, she faces many challenges. Despite this, she has an incredible cookie ministry baking cookies for anyone she can. What made our summer special is her serving at Sonshine Kids Day Camp. The kids fell in love with her and she knew how to dole out sweet and sometimes tough love. Words do not explain the impact she made. That is what service looks like. Sometimes we are the giver and sometimes we are the receiver. Both require grace and humility.

Looking forward to several pastors coming this morning. Rev. David Camphouse from Grace UMC, Rev. Cory Smith and Rev. Charles Cummings from Auburn UMC, Rev. Larry Bryars from Frazer UMC, Rev. Lester Spencer from St. James UMC, Rev. Rusty Hutson from Cornerstone Church and Rev. Robin Wilson from FUMC Opelika. What a fun time!

We’ll keep you posted on how it goes. We are raising funds but also want to encourage groups to come learn and serve with us putting love and discipleship into meaningful action!

Grace and peace!

lisa

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Just Another Manic Monday-Day 6

Just another manic Monday- total is $40,051

Rain bounced off the blue tarped roof of my little shack in the early morning. A mosquito buzzed against my ear and drew blood from my unshielded face creating a nice welt. Somehow an ear plug fell out accentuating the morning routine of dumpster trucks slamming metal and grating iron while cars sloshed water as they passed by. Waiting for the rain to subside, I made a mad dash into Wesley to start my morning routine of getting ready for the day.

After working through Nate all day yesterday, I was disappointed to see all the rain-although we need it. It keeps me from sitting outside and talking with people and putting out the material that tells our story, that tells Ms. Sanford’s story.

Media coverage for the shack last year was awesome. This year, despite several press releases, emails, and tweets to press contacts, we just do not seem newsworthy. Maybe because of recent disasters, maybe because we do not seem new, maybe repairing someone’s home who has few funds does not seem too significant. It is hard to tell. These culminating events have led to a decrease in the fundraising momentum we have experienced the past few years.

This morning I was reading in Mark 8 where Jesus heals a blind man. In previous healings, it came instantaneously and completely. In this situation, Jesus spits and puts his hands on his eyes. The man says he can see people walking around that look like trees. Jesus puts his hand over the man’s eyes again and he is completely restored. Such a curious display of Jesus’ healing power. Did this progression relate to the man’s faith and therefore take two iterations? Was this saying something about the way Jesus heals; that there are times when healing is progressive? Maybe a little bit of both.

What I thought about is that sometimes Jesus provides over time. Some things may not be instantaneous but progressive and over time. As I ponder our fundraising this fall and in light of all the disasters, maybe God will provide more over time, ensuring we have just what we need when we need it. The passage directly after this healing story has Jesus asking his disciples “who do others say that I am” and then asking them “who do you say that I am”. You are the Christ, the Messiah. In that truth is the assurance of who Jesus is, his direct identity and a confidence that God is in the business of caring and providing. Even if the funds are slow (and I am certainly ok if we get a surprising funding surge as we close), we know that we are loving our neighbors and especially the materially poor. We are living out the commands of loving our neighbors and reaching out to those who struggle. We are serving Jesus as we serve with the poor. I believe our faithfulness will be matched and certainly exceeded with God’s faithfulness even if it takes a little longer.

Cheers to a wet day-we needed the rain and I will try not to let it put a damper on our efforts today. Instead, I will think of our families and all those who have struggled when the rain, wind, and water cannot be contained. Prayers for ARM, for Houston, Florida, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and more.

Let’s see what happens today!

Grace and peace- lisa

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