Recently, LEGOLAND reached out to us to do a drive for our “LOVEKIT…” campaign. In fact, they are doing a DRIVE for #lovebeyondwalls to help us reach our goal of 300 hygiene kits for the homeless in ATL. Read an earlier blog [HERE] about why we are doing this drive.
Below is the verbiage they have placed on their site,
“We’re having a hygiene drive for Love Beyond Walls throughout the month of February! Donate 10 items to receive a special offer!
LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Atlanta will be having a hygiene drive for Love Beyond Walls Organization throughout the month of February! Bring 10 hygiene items for a special discount offer!
We are so happy to be working with Love Beyond Walls Organization this February”
Click the image below and it will take you directly to the offer! Thanks for your support.
I really can’t believe I only have 26 more days until I walk 30+ miles on behalf of ALL who are homeless in this country! This is totally something I have never done before in my life, but I feel like I should. I may be as focused as ever at this point! Why? Because I truly have a heart for those without a voice!
This past saturday, we mobilized 40+ volunteers to hit the streets with us to engage those who are homeless in ATL! I truly encourage those who serve with us not to give ONLY a hand-out, but connect with them as people and HEAR their stories.
I encourage people to build relationships in hopes to create trust between the served and those that serve. NOT TO SAVE, BUT TO RESTORE DIGNITY! Well, something special happened this past Saturday…
A young lady (Flowers) who has been serving with us connected with a gentlemen, heard his story, talked to him for hours, and wrote down tons of free resources for him to use to get himself together (and off the streets).
Well, when we went out there again… this same guy walked up to her, and shared with the entire group all the steps he had taken. He was clean shaven, showed the group many of the things he had collected, was looking for work, and mentioned he was checking himself into a facility this week (WED). Even better, he prayed with us at the close…
People who served (young and old) got a chance to see what God can do through relational power!
This story is powerful because he remembered not the
handouts, but Flowers taking time to hear his story.
We are checking up with him this week for encouragement and to make sure he follows through. With stories like these, I can’t help but to see this 30 mile walk through, continue to build #lovebeyondwalls, and continue to love on those that are forgotten… Continue to pray for my strength as I prepare mentally to take this huge step of faith.
Below is a picture of our new friend Tony! Pray for him, and his new steps toward freedom!
Have you ever seen what 30 miles looks like in a video? Here it is… This is the journey ahead of us…#lovebeyondwalls[embedplusvideo height=”600″ width=”600″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/MDOmsA” standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/-3cjbPtPvxo?fs=1″ vars=”ytid=-3cjbPtPvxo&width=600&height=600&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=¬es=” id=”ep2014″ /]
Yesterday, I received a few emails from people asking me, “Why are you walking so far for homelessness?” or “Can I walk with you?” Well, you’ll find my answer in the four points and picture below:
1) I am walking because I believe the voiceless often times go unheard — There are many people who have hit rock bottom, and have had a hard time recovering from that low place. You’ll never hear their stories, or see them on the news. Nonetheless, their stories MATTER (no matter where they are, or what happened). Therefore, #lovebeyondwalls would like to sacrifice our time and energy to do something that will uplift them.
Maybe you can relate with being voiceless… I know many of us who were trapped in cars the other day for hours and hours can relate.
2) I am walking because of my homeless friends under the I-20 75/85 bridge — There are many that I have befriended under that bridge. In fact, they call me every other day, and I truly care about them. Of course I don’t have tons of resources to pull them off the streets (yet), but I listen to them, know their stories, shed tears with them, model Christ to them, and consider them people that God loves dearly. And, if God loves them, I am going to love them too… Hopefully, my walking will inspire someone to come along side #lovebeyondwalls, and help restore “some” that want to be restored.
3) I am walking to teach people what I’ve learned — While homeless around Christmas time, I learned five lessons from walking in the shoes of the homeless. And, I would like to share those lessons. One of the lessons has to do with walking. When you are homeless, there is non-stop physical movement… especially during the winter months! Without the ability to walk, you could stay somehwere and literally die (if you don’t have that ability or support).
Do all people who are homeless have to walk? No. However, many people who stay on the streets do…
4) I am walking because of the picture below — Below is a picture of one of my homeless friends that uses socks for shoes. Have you ever walked miles in socks? I haven’t either. Therefore, not only am I walking to raise awareness, restore dignity, and mobilize people — I am walking to help some people get simple things like shoes to survive and live.
Short answer, YES people will join in at various points to walk… That information will come in later blogs…
Until then, continue to pray our strength as we prepare to make this journey…
Do you want to know why I am losing almost 30lbs? Here goes…
Did you know that people who are in transition (homeless) have to walk to survive? In fact, if they live in a major city like Atlanta, walking is a must.
“You have to walk to shower…Walk to eat… Walk to use the restroom… Walk to get food… Walk to find clothing… Walk to find employment… Walk to the bus stop (or train station)… Walk to get medical help… Starting to get the picture yet?”
Walking is a means of survival, life, and wellbeing to someone who doesn’t have a home or the necessities of life. These are hard shoes to wear! Why? Because it takes a toll on your body, your hope, and your energy level….
WATCH THIS VIDEO[embedplusvideo height=”500″ width=”500″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/1ez98jl” standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/pK1SpZjs5hU?fs=1″ vars=”ytid=pK1SpZjs5hU&width=500&height=500&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=¬es=” id=”ep8003″ /]
Could you imagine walking 50-70 per week just to survive and make it (hoping to transition off the streets)? Could you imagine walking 365 days out the year? Could you imagine being tired from survival and having very little energy to do anything else?
Well, #lovebeyondwalls is going to do something about it…While living on the streets for three days, I found out that many of my homeless friends walk tons of miles per week to survive (watch the video). Walking is equivalent to water and food to a homeless person.
On March 1st, 2014, I am going to attempt to do something I have never done in my life to teach people what I have learned about the survival of people in transition (homeless).
Along my journey, I am going to invite people at various points to join in with the walk on later blogs… Also, I will release the specific journey that I will take, and how you can meet me at the end of the journey (and what we are doing in March)…
I am going to wear the shoes of the my homeless friends again by walking thirty miles straight in one day (four miles over a marathon). Why? Because many of my homeless friends in Atlanta and across this country have to walk to survive! It’s a little less than the distance that some homeless people have to walk per week. BUT, It’s going to take me 10-12+ hours to do it…I am also doing this to teach the world the top five lessons I learned while homeless. This will be a way #lovebeyondwalls can show the world how much a person without a home has to go through to live and survive. Why? Because many homeless people walk marathons every week (without notice). #lovebeyondwalls has created the second homelessness ribbon! It is a ribbon for the voiceless. We have created this ribbon to give those who are overlooked, and deemed rejects of society a voice. Therefore, we are calling it “VOICE FOR HOMELESSNESS…”
Our organization feels that this is one way people can correlate walking with “walking to survive…” (literally)
I’m walking in the shoes of the homeless again, and hope to help many restore their lives from the streets… Pray my strength!
Yesterday, I experienced one of the longest days of my life (in a car)…
I was stuck in traffic, ice, and a snow storm for more than 14+ hours. I ran out of gas, had to be pulled out of a ditch, and drove on the wrong side of the road at 1 mile per hour to get home around almost 2AM in the morning (I had been in traffic since 10:30AM the day before).
However, two miracles got me home… Firstly, a nice older man gave me gas after running out sitting in traffic six hours in Douglasville. This same old man pulled my car out of a ditch and led me to the gas station in his truck so I could fill up again. From there, he led me all the way from Douglasville to Fairburn Rd where he wished me luck to get home.
After traveling some distance, I arrived on Camp Creek Parkway where I sat another seven to eight hours… All of a sudden, a random truck driver approached me vehicle and said, “I want to help you get unstuck…”
He suggested that I drive up the wrong way to get home… I was hesitant, but persisted to do so, and to my surprise was able to bypass tons of cars, and traffic. I saw cars in ditches, 18 wheelers flipped over, tons of ice, people crying and walking, and several trucks and cars stalled. It was a horrible sight.
However, I was able to maneuver through it all (while sliding) hoping to make it home. After 14+ hours, I made it home. I can’t tell you how, but I can tell you that I was exhausted, hungry, tired, and overwhelmed. By God’s grace I made it.
After experiencing that yesterday, and hearing all of the horrible stories around the city of Atlanta, I am more than pumped to continue journeying toward #lovebeyondwalls second campaign… Why? Because it is almost parallel with what the city experienced. We will release it this Friday…
Yesterday was my hardest day! I left them gym, and thought to myself is this even possible? “Can I really lose 25 more lbs…?”
My old schoolmate Cooper suggested, “You can if you keep going…” Cooper is a new personal trainer who decided to train me after my last trainer dropped out due to schedule conflicts.
Now I’m 33 DAYS out and wonder if this is possible… I literally had to reflect on Jesus’ life when he was in the “Garden of Gethsemane…” His disciples were sleep, and he was thinking about what was about to happen to his life… Jesus prays, and asks God to take the cup, but ended up saying an incredible and encouraging statement in the face of a Roman scourging and crucifixion… Jesus says,
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done (Luke 22:42, NIV).”
Jesus did two things that are encouraging in the midst of tension! Firstly, he acknowledged the “cup” or hardship. Jesus had a healthy reality of what was before him, which gave him the proper strength to ask God for help…Having this perspective helps one to not live in denial about what has to be faced.
Secondly, Jesus asked. Although this did not remove the “cup” Jesus’ journey, Jesus asked. Sometimes asking helps us to accept and weigh what we are being called to do… Jesus gained strength from what he felt God was calling him to do.
I believe God is calling #lovebeyondwalls to raise awareness about homelessness on this daring journey! In fact, we will need God’s strength to continue. Today, I am reflecting on this scripture…
“I can do all this through him who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13, NIV).
Below is a short video before we release the second campaign…[embedplusvideo height=”500″ width=”500″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/19WYXc9″ standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/Tpe8lGRxzgM?fs=1″ vars=”ytid=Tpe8lGRxzgM&width=500&height=500&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=¬es=” id=”ep9715″ /]
Below is a picture of me and my brother (Rahkeem)… These reason why I post this picture is because I truly believe in this young man. Currently, he lives under the bridge with his mother, and is only 19 years old. I make it my goal to spend time with him once or twice a week.
Why? Because I am building a relationship with him, and hope to grow #lovebeyondwalls enough to remove him from the streets. Yesterday, he read a poem/rap to me that he wrote for us… It went something like this, “Been struggle since I was thirteen seeing homelessness for me…”
He is only a kid, and still has so much future ahead of him! However, he is voiceless!
This must end… I am going to sacrifice my life a little this year to make sure that people like Rahkeem and others get help, or at least be heard.
There are three ways we are planning on helping this young man, and his wife. I ask that you keep us in your prayers as we make preparations to do so in months to come. I consider this young man not only a friend, but a younger brother that needs a “hand up” not a “hand out…”
Yesterday, I almost cracked and gave up on my weight loss journey…
It is so hard to stay disciplined, but I have made a resolve in my heart to keep going. Why? I received a phone call from one of my homeless friends (Rahkeem) yesterday. He is a 19 year old that stays under the bridge in tent city…
He reached out to say thank you for being a friend (and keeping our word)… talk about tears forming…
It was inspiring and moving to me that he considers me a friend, and trusts our team. He went on to say that everybody under the bridge appreciates #lovebeyondwalls having people help them while they are in transition. That alone is reason enough for me to keeping going, stay the course, and share more of what I have learned from going homeless around Christmas.
It is my prayer that God keeps me while on this journey! So far, I have lost 10lbs… I need you to pray for #lovebeyondwalls, and the second awareness campaign that I will release next week. 35 more days to go!