Have you ever gone 3 full days or even a week without a shower or bath?
What about this… Have you ever stood in a line of 100+ to take a shower, and got discouraged by the time it got down to only 20 in front of you (because it took hours for you to go)?
Well, many of our homeless brothers and sisters experience this week in and week out. In fact, when I lived on the streets for three days, I found out that personal hygiene was hard to maintain if you are a homeless person (especially if you live on the streets). Why? Because there isn’t easy access to everyday products like toothpaste, soap, rags, lotion, q-tips, etc… (products that are some times at arms length for us)
I remember day 2 when I went homeless… I decided that I wanted to take a shower… I wasn’t able to because a gentlemen fell out in the shower, hurt himself (causing blood to be on the floors), and they shut the shower down for a few hours (by that time, I was discouraged). It took hours for the shelter to clean it up and by that time, I was on day two without a shower… It was hard because I wanted to shower or at least keep clean, but wasn’t able to.
Point blank, it is hard. It is hard to maintain cleanliness when there are only “few” showers around the city for thousands of homeless people. Therefore, if you wanted to know why #lovebeyondwalls is collecting hygiene products, this is why… With walking in the shoes, and hearing the heart of many of my homeless friends… We have decided to provide hygiene “LOVEKITS”
In the month of February, #lovebeyondwalls is collecting “LOVEKITS” filled with hygiene items that will aid our homeless friends with items to survive on the streets. To participate, contact us [HERE], or simply drop-off items at one of our three locations on the flyer below.
Below is a piece of the LBW’s story and how it started.
-LBW Team[embedplusvideo height=”600″ width=”600″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/1meCGa7″ standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/8Dfs-ea6Vvs?fs=1″ vars=”ytid=8Dfs-ea6Vvs&width=600&height=600&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=¬es=” id=”ep9744″ /]
Today is the day after Martin Luther King’s Birthday, and I am reflecting on many things… Firstly, I am reflecting on Martin Luther King’s legacy, and my top three favorite quotes spoken by King… Here are those three:
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
“A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.”
These quotes are not only inspirational. They speak to the core of who I am… I believe life should be about God’s love, faith, justice, community, and relationships.
Second and last, I am reflecting on how tough this journey has been trying to lose weight and prepare myself for the next life-daring campaign to raise awareness. Also, #lovebeyondwalls is growing fast. Although we have many supporters, it has been a challenge trying to manage it all with a few. In fact, we need admins, social media managers, people to pick up donations, speakers for campaigns at schools, love team leaders to lead people out in the streets, and other roles to expand the vision [if this is you, let’s meet to see if you’d fit on our team… contact me [HERE].
Most importantly, #lovebeyondwalls needs a space. We are looking to secure an old office in the back of a church, a storage space we could fix up, or somewhere we can plant in for a year and build more (800-1200 square feet). Currently, we are a mobile organization with many working pieces. Why are we looking to plant and build? Simple. We have outgrown our home! Our garage in my home is no longer a place to store stuff. We have gotten so many donations in the last 30 days that our garage is filled to capacity (we can’t park our cars in it anymore).
If you are reading this, I need you to pray… Pray that we find a generous person, church, or business to donate an office space (in ATL), and pray that God keeps me strong while losing weight for our next big social campaign. Can’t wait to share next week!!!!!!
Why do I care so much? Because when I go out and saw that many of my friends lost everything when the city cleaned up under the bridge, it hurts… Below is a picture of the area without tents after G.D.O.T cleaned the area. I care because I would like to collaborate with people, organizations, and other agencies to sit around the table and collectively come up with solutions. Real solutions!
Many of my friends have to start over from scratch. Also, the video will give you a story to connect with and explain what happened… Could you imagine having a few things one day, and losing everything the next? Well, if you have questions… That’s why I am going forward with #lovebeyondwalls and our next campaign.
We have a pretty busy week this week…
On Thursday, we will be partnering with Mundy’s Mill Middle School (interviewing with 40+ students about homelessness, and discussing ways in which we can combat it).
On Saturday, we will be passing out socks again from 8AM-9AM (in many locations downtown Atlanta), and afterwards we will be partnering with Area 1 Young Men’s Conference at South Cobb High School (to speak with 200+ young men about DREAMS & making wise decisions).
On top of these, I am still on my 50 day journey. It’s been five days of eating healthy, and drinking water. Continue to pray for my strength, and #lovebeyondwalls. We are making small steps forward.
Yesterday was was both hard and emotional… Not only did it rain and pour down, but our team encountered many homeless people who literally were standing out in the rain without shelter (getting soaked)… Their clothes were wet, and we even encountered some who did not have on shoes (just socks and flip-flops). It was hard seeing God’s people without safety, refuge, or hope.
That’s why when we go out, we try to listen to stories, get to know people, and restore dignity back to what some would classify as
“invisble people.” Although hard, it gives me hope knowing that God can use #lovebeyondwalls to pray for people, and love on them right where they are…
Also, my wife and one of our teammates went into a shelter yesterday and saw over 60 kids, and many mothers who were with very few resources… My wife said,
“When we walked in… it was like nothing I had even seen before… kids sitting there under-dressed, and mothers hoping that someone would bring their children some food and clothing…It broke my heart…We have got to keep raising awareness”
This alone is enough for me to remain FOCUSED and continue this journey toward our second campaign to raise awareness (I can’t wait to share what it is…)
Thinking about yesterday… I guess I’m filled with compassion right now… I want the world to know that there are many redeemable stories and people… I want the world to hear those who go unheard… I want God’s people to have a sense of dignity restored back to them!
Not only has reflecting on stories above ignited something in me, my homeless friend Tony ignited something in me when I was able to pay him back 100 pairs of socks for him giving me his last pair of socks the first night I went homeless. Below is a picture of my friend and I…
I ask that you pray for #lovebeyondwalls, for me as I continue to prepare myself for this next awareness campaign, and for people to join in our on next campaign to raise awareness.
This morning, I have to be honest… I asked myself & God, “Can I really do this?” “Can I really get prepared in 50 days?”
I tried making excuses… “Maybe I can do something else…Or, maybe I can find somebody else to do this with me… Or, better yet… Maybe I can say it is too hard…”
Then I shook myself out of it, and gave myself what “kid president” calls, “A Pep Talk…people”
Why did I ask these questions and make these excuses though? Because I looked at my weight on the scale yesterday, and surprisingly the scale revealed a shocking number that not only pained me, but revealed how unhealthy I have lived (in my eating habits) over the last few years. Are you ready? I weigh 260lbs (I need to lose 25-30lbs)… This is the most I have ever weighed in my life. Of course, I am big guy, but I am not comfortable with that.
As a matter of fact, my “weight” number shocked me so much I dropped down on the floor and asked God to help me get my life healthier so I can be transformed personally, and physically prepare to raise awareness for my homeless friends. Isn’t it amazing that before we can fully help others we must be willing to transform ourselves?
I know we all make health commitments throughout the year, and soon break them with inconsistency. But, when I saw this something happened in me… I was reminded of how important my health is, and how important it is to remain healthy if you are homeless (living on the streets)…
When I was homeless for 72 hours, I encountered many people who had medical conditions that were life-threatening. In fact, many people revealed how those conditions increased when they started living on the streets with no resources.
I clenched my fist, looked at the scale and said… “I’ve got to change… I’ve got to beat this so I can raise more awareness for my friends…Lord, I can do all things through you… NO EXCUSES…”
Ever feel like you need supernatural strength to make it? Well, over the next 49 days that’s what I am going to rely on (God’s strength).
Yesterday was rough, but I found support…I reached out to an old friend that does personal training… His name is Lucien. We attended the same High School (Westlake), and it “just so happened” that he lives in the neighborhood across the street and runs “bootcamps” at parks. Without thinking, he told me he’d help me train to get the weight off for this big challenge that I am about to embark on in 49 days. I agreed and began exercising yesterday along with changing my eating habits (water only, and clean foods).
THIS IS HARD PEOPLE… I had two meetings in Chick-Fil-A yesterday. LOL.
Can you do something to help? Yes! I need you to pray, hold me accountable via social media, and push me until I am ready to reveal #lovebeyondwalls‘ next challenge to raise awareness about one of many social ills we care so much about.
So, a few have asked “What are you going to do with all those socks…?”
Below is my answer…
For the next two Saturdays (Jan 11th & Jan 18th 8AM-10AM), we are going to mob out into the streets of Atlanta to pass out every sock that we collected this past Saturday (to our brothers and sisters who live on the streets). We are asking people to come out with us to join a few members on our team distribute these socks….
How will this be different? Simple. Our approach is different…
Instead of the normal passing out things and leaving, we want to encourage people who serve with us to discover stories, learn needs, and build relationships. A restorative work cannot happen if trust and a relationship is not established. Additionally, we are creating consistency among this important population, not events.
I envision #lovebeyondwalls being both a mobilization agency (of doers) but also a collaborative organization that partners with other groups and individuals who desire to make a difference in the world
(not one time a year, but every single day).
If you’d like to serve with us the coming two Saturdays, hit us up [HERE] or shoot an email to the email on the flyer…
Below is a snippet from the interview at Relevant Church… Pastor Carl asked me to give closing remarks about this tweet:
Below is the snippet…
Terence[embedplusvideo height=”500″ width=”500″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/19PSRe0″ standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/xtz_iKbd28I?fs=1″ vars=”ytid=xtz_iKbd28I&width=500&height=500&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=¬es=” id=”ep8059″ /]
I got up early to write like I normally do, and I could not stop thinking about all the men and women who I encountered downtown who do not have anywhere to stay at night (my homeless friends).
Why? Because it is freezing cold! As I lay in my warm bed, I am uncomfortable at the same time. It bothers me that some of my friends do not have anywhere to go, and that some do not have enough blankets, socks, and other items to keep them from freezing to death. While thinking about this harsh reality, I am pained with this gut-wrenching question,
“How many homeless people die during the winter because they lack shelter or blankets?”
Looking at the temperature on google does not make it any better this morning…
The other day #lovebeyondwalls took firewood to many of my friends under the bridge because of how cold it was!
With that being said, our team will be going out every night this week to distribute blankets, socks, and identify places where our friends can find shelter.
If you have any blankets, or would like to partner please contact us [HERE].
We’d love to meet you, work with you, and help spread warmth during this cold winter season!