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: www.arm-al.org  or text  334-731-763

Want to set up your own fundraising page?

https://arm-al.networkforgood.com/projects/35791-sweet-homes-for-alabama

Thanks so much!

lisa

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At Your Service: Service Day September 2017

 

Many residents in rural Alabama live in homes in need of repairs. ARM strives to repair homes so that they are warm, safe, and dry.

This weekend, ARM was able to assist and serve two wonderful ladies whose homes needed repairing. Ms. Sanford and Ms. Turk received the help they needed this weekend.

We served in Macon County at the home of Ms. Sanford who was having issues with her roof. It was great working and speaking with Ms. Sanford. She is very appreciative for the ARM@AU volunteers who helped make the repair a success.

Ms. Turk, who had repairs done such as floor repairs, counter-top repairs, and various plumbing repairs was also appreciative of the ARM@AU volunteers for their help in serving Saturday.

It was a great day making sweet homes in Alabama!!!! We look forward to being of service to many more families in the future!!!! For more information on volunteering for ARM’s service days, visit www.arm-al.org or email Joe Davis at joe@arm-al.org.

 

Below Ms. Turk and Joe Davis takes  a photo in front of Ms.Turk’s new repairs.

Jeremiah, the Construction Supervisor, assists with the repair of Ms. Sanford’s home.

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College Students: Applications are available now for Summer 2018 Internships!

How would like to do something meaningful and life-changing that will not only benefit you, but also those around you? If serving others, sharing God’s love, and helping yourself and others grow in their faith is something that you love to do, you are exactly who ARM needs on its team! Currently, ARM is seeking interns for Summer 2018 to serve at our Youth Mission Camp. Why not do something fun, meaningful, and life-changing for the summer? ARM is all about extending the love of Christ, restoring hope, and building dreams as we build a movement to end substandard housing in rural Alabama! If you would like to do something meaningful and life-changing next summer, JOIN OUR TEAM! Applications are available now!

During the 11-week full-time paid internship, you have the option of serving as a Construction Coordinator, Day Camp Counselor, or Site Leader.

Construction Coordinators gain hands-on residential construction experience by serving with families seeking a home that is safe, warm, and dry. You will also learn invaluable project planning and management skills as you coordinate plans, tools, and materials for our mission teams.

 

Day Camp Counselors serve alongside our mission teams to coordinate Bible lessons, recreation, educational enrichment, and more for 25-30 kids ages 5-10. Over 150 hours of classroom exp erience with kids from low-income communities makes this a great position for those interested in elementary education, social work, psychology, or human development and families.

Site leaders manage and direct the summer mission interns and volunteer teams and oversee all operations at each mission site including meals and housing.

We are looking forward to hearing from you!

Contact Joe or Kaylen or visit our website for more information!

Click here to apply!!!

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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. I am overwhelmed and find myself numb because it is so big and the devastation so great.

The first time I stayed in the shack, Tropical Storm Faye came through. Rain pelted my thin roof, wind howled rattling the plastic over my windows, and water began seeping through my floor being absorbed by my mattress. That was 10 years ago. In 2012, it was Hurricane Sandy that was pushing through. ARM works with families who face storms. When we record the family stories we will hear how a tornado, severe thunderstorm, or results of a hurricane created enough damage that repairs were needed. Because the event was so small in volume, they did not qualify for assistance. Time became the enemy and the damage increased.

If we are going to end substandard housing, we need to consider all the ways homes can become damaged and the vulnerability of the families staying in them. Storms, age of the home, deferred maintenance, and even bugs can create and perpetuate conditions making a house substandard. Our elderly and those with major disabilities have severely limited resources making the hiring of a contractor or handyman nearly impossible. Can we pay attention and make this a priority in every church and every faith community?

Due to the storms, I have been on active duty since September 5th and will remain as long as September 30th. Listening to the stories every day of the first responders and tracking the response and recovery efforts put a new emphasis on our ministry. Although not in the path of these storms, there were people in Alabama affected. Heavy rain, wind, tree limbs, and more put pressure on vulnerable structures. Later this week, I will share with you Ms. Samford’s story and the storms she has faced.

Looking forward to going in the shack three weeks from Wednesday!

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Thank You Sonshine Day Camp Sponors 2017

Dear Day Camp Sponsors,

We are so grateful for your support of Sonshine Kids Day Camp this summer! Through your partnership as a day camp sponsor, the love of Christ was extended in so many ways through so many people as we played games, made crafts, sang songs, danced, practiced reading and writing, and brought the Bible to life each and every day. This summer was all about being a COGPOW – a Child of God, Person of Worth. Instead of finding our worth in what we achieve, our kids were encouraged through stories of COGPOWs from the Bible and modern-day times to find their worth in God as His beloved children. This message was reinforced each day by dozens of tangible expressions of love and compassion shared among the children, our summer ministry team, and youth mission teams. What a blessing it is to be known and loved by our Creator God and to share that love with others!

This summer, 113 day camp sponsors – individuals, families, Sunday school classes, VBS groups, and whole churches – came together to provide a fun, safe, nurturing, and loving summer for 58 day camp kids in Livingston and Tuskegee! In Tuskegee, we were blessed to serve with 3 day camp counselors and 2 counselors-in-training – high-school students from Tuskegee who volunteered to serve. Our Livingston camp also had 3 day camp counselors and 2 counselors-in-training.

One of the day camp counselors at each site was an adult from the local community. In Tuskegee, we asked Ms. Andrea, who we met last year through our home repair ministry, to join our team after learning of her teaching background. Another one of our home repair ministry friends, Ms. Bernice, served as Ms. Andrea’s driver traveling 60 miles every day throughout the summer! In Livingston, one of our former summer interns, Ms. Adrienne, came back to serve again during her summer break. She graduated from the University of West Alabama in Livingston and is now a full-time elementary teacher. God was so good to open the doors for Ms. Andrea and Ms. Adrienne to serve with the day camp!

As the summer ended, both day camps enjoyed a fun field trip to the Birmingham Zoo! You can see their group pictures from the field trip shown below. It was a very hot day, but the children loved it anyway! After our field trips, both sites hosted their closing celebrations, which featured potluck dinners and presentations of songs, dances, and skits from the day camp children! It was fun night of fellowship and gave the kids a chance to give us a glimpse of some of the things they learned over the summer.

I invite you to take a few minutes to watch our 2017 day camp video posted above! If you would like a DVD, please contact us by emailing Joe at joe@arm-al.org or call at (334) 501-4276 x100.

We really cannot say it enough – thank you, thank you, thank you! Thank you for your prayers, your generosity, and for your heart for these children. May God bless you as you continue to seek His kingdom and shine the light of His love wherever you go!

Livingston camp at the zoo!

Tuskegee camp at the zoo!

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