Homelessness & 5th Graders

Yesterday was one of the best speaking engagements I’ve ever had! Why? Because I got a chance to speak to a classroom of bright, articulate, intelligent, and hope-filled 5th graders at Cheatham Hill Elementary.

I was invited by an educator who recently learned about LBW (Ms. King), and what we are doing to raise awareness about homelessness and other issues in the city (ATL) and country. Ms. King asked me to share stories with her class that paralleled a non-fiction novel they are reading. The novel contains stories of homelessness, and the stories I’ve experienced (while homeless for three days) bring those non-fiction stories to life.

As I shared, I began to see many student(s) faces light up while they listened intently… Also, I started to see lights go off in their heads.

After I gave my talk, it then dawned on me–homelessness is connected to so many educational topics! One student asked, “Why are families broken…” another “Why are people poor in this country…” yet another “What are we so wasteful in this country…”

These bright students raised questions about sociology, psychology, economics, politics, and public health. I was intrigured and even inspired with how concerned these kids were with people who they don’t know (the under resourced).

I answered a couple of questions, and then this group of students asked if they could help #lovebeyondwalls with a project. It just so happened that #lovebeyondwalls is adopting 30 orphans in India (from the Dalit community) in the month of April.

They are in need of shoes and other small items, and these students vowed to raise the resources needed to supply these orphans with resources. It became a class project instantly.

So not only was my conversation filled with different areas of study, it became a beautiful picture of kids serving kids that do not have anything. Below are the two pictures! One picture are the orphans, and the other picture are the students that will help the children in India through our #lovebeyondborders campaign.

Orphanage2014-03-13 10.12.15-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Terence

30 Miles & 7 Leadership Lessons

This morning, I am reflecting on last Saturday. Why? Because not only did #lovebeyondwalls make history (walking the longest distance in GA for homelessness), we got a chance to meet some really cool people along the way. Below are seven lessons I learned while walking thirty miles… Maybe these can apply to you in some way! I share these because I almost did not make it walking 15 hours straight!

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1) In order to persevere, you must keep your mind focused on the main thing — Whenever you set out to do something, staying focused on the bigger picture will help you to make it through… This one of the reasons we made it! We remained focused on the vision God had before us.

2) It’s okay to push the envelop to help others — Taking a risk can move people to respond and get involved. However, sometimes you may have to start alone and trust that God will bring others along to help. One of the reasons #lovebeyondwalls walked was to give those who have no voice a voice.

3) You cannot complete anything great alone — Whenever you set out to do something great, it takes a team. There were thousands supporting #lovebeyondwalls via social media, hundreds supporting along the way, and several others who made the walk with #lovebeyondwalls.

4) You must rest for long journeys — This point is synonymous with life. There is no way around resting. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. If we did not take small breaks, our bodies would have shut down.

5) You must have a plan — You’ve got to have a plan before you attempt to do anything. Knowing, studying, and preparing the route before hand helped my personal trainer and I mentally/physically prepare for the walk.

6) You must be vulnerable — In order to grow, or accomplish anything you’ve got to be open. There was a point where I had to use two brothers as crutches to make the last 9 miles. My knee was shot, and I had to let go, and ask for help to make it.

7) You’ve got to resolve not to stop until you’re finished & trust God — Sometimes you’ve got to have a resolve in your heart and know that this is what God has called you to do. This takes determination, resilience, and faith. If it wasn’t for my faith, I would have given up. But, God strengthened me every step of the way.

Terence

 

Next Two Serve Days in March

We will have two serving opportunities this month (March) to pass out many of the shoes we’ve collected for our #givemilesaway campaign! Below are the details… Email us if you are interested:

serve

Terence

Not About Me – 48 Hours Later!

I’m up thinking (5AM)… I cannot believe I made thirty miles walking! In fact, my eyes are sweating (LOL). I don’t think I was strong enough to make a 15 hour walk, but God saw me through it…

Over the last two days, I have gotten many pats on the back, encouraging words & well wishes for walking thirty miles on behalf of homeless people in Atlanta (and this country)… BUT, I don’t think I deserve the credit…

Why? Because without God, and the good people who were around me, I would have not completed the 30 mile walk–literally! The pictures below (among many others) prove my point:
DSC_0065DSC_0073There were many individuals & social media followers who pushed, encouraged, and stood with me the whole way (even people I don’t know). Additionally, there are many people on the #lovebeyondwalls team that helped make the “LOVE RALLY & WALK” possible. Many people on the team even stayed the night with me in the parking lot at Crossroads Church (I’m extremely grateful for them).

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What am I saying? I’m glad you asked. Without God, my wife/family, & a solid support system, #lovebeyondwalls wouldn’t be anything. Of course we would do work, but not without the support from good people that God sends.

So instead of making this blog about me, I would like to make it about the people who made history with me, and the people we advocated for–people who face homelessness by living on the streets, in shelters, or living with loved ones without a residential address. It’s over a million of you! And, If you fit this category, YOU DESERVE A VOICE!

It’s the people that go through life without support that need a voice!  It’s the individuals who have a heart to serve and help others that need the platform. NOT ME. I’m just trying to be obedient to God, and follow Jesus’ model… I know if he were walking the earth, he’d be involved in broken communities and loving on the poor.

Although I cannot name everyone who helped, I’d like to say you know who you are! You rock, you are special, and God is using you to help uplift people who are looked down upon!

In closing, I would like to list four words that I thought about the entire walk that helped me finish:

1) Resilience – This word means to continue despite present difficulties, and to press forward continuously.

2) Love – This word is a verb, and must be shown through demonstration. This word also restores and protects.

3) Teamwork – This word means nothing in this world happens alone… There is always a team needed to achieve great goals.

4) Family – This word helped me to remember that I have a solid support system who believes in me–my wife, kids, and loved ones!

Terence

The Countdown Begins (2 DAYS LEFT STATS)

During my personal research this morning, I was inspired through many of the stats that I came across! Why? Because many of them touched my heart.

In fact, while walking thirty miles, I am going to post many of them on my social media platforms. Below is one stat that really hit close to home…

VFH-Stat 1

Terence

 

The Countdown Continues (3 DAYS LEFT HELP US PLANT)

Are you like me? Sometimes it’s hard for me to be vulnerable and ask for help... LOL. Not in a bad way, but when it comes to asking for financial support it is tough.

Well, I’m in a place where I can’t be uptight any more. God is definitely doing something with #lovebeyondwalls, and is pushing us to take a leap of faith even more.

Last month, we were introduced to a local building in our area (the picture is below). This building could possibly be the starting place for the #lovebeyondwalls team.

In fact, it will give us a greater opportunity to HELP & SERVE more people. And, if we can do that, more life change can happen! Did you know in less than three months we have mobilized over 1K people to get involved in our campaigns, over 20 businesses, and have grown our social media platform by 1000%… This is not to brag, but to say maybe God is up to something!  

Here is the actual building:

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But, we still need your help… We need your help to secure our first office space. It will take at least 10K to get in this building and operate for one year. What will we do in the building? I’m glad you asked.

1) Base – This would be our base to work from, dream, raise up leaders, and collaborate more to impact the area around it, and the city of ATL.

2) Storage – We would use this place as storage and a place to get more organized to lead more community engagement projects.

3) Train – We would train, teach, and lead people on how to do what we do.

4) Restore – We would use it as a place to counsel, build relationally with people, and work to restore the lives of those we serve.

Our goal is to raise 10K… We have a gofundme page, and a starter amount of 5K. If we could get 200 people to give $25 this would give us half of our budget to secure this place.

Therefore, not only are we walking to raise awareness, we are walking to get planted to HELP more people.

If you would like to give, please visit our page [HERE], and consider making a contribution. I believe that we have the opportunity to change the world around us for God’s glory. I personally ask that you would consider helping us to get planted and established.

Terence

 

 

The Countdown Begins (4 DAYS LEFT STATS)

Over the next 4 days, I’ll be Tweeting, Facebook-ing, and Instagram-ing stats on poverty, homelessness, and hunger! These stats and many more have fueled my attempt to walk #30miles straight. The stat that touched me this morning is found below…

1million

Why focus on education as it relates to homelessness? Because the other day, we had a group of brave students (who are not homeless) do a project on our organization.These students presented on what we stand for, how we mobilize people, our coming campaigns, and encouraged some of the judges to participate. This has encouraged #lovebeyondwalls to launch its Educational Campaigns soon.

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Pray for us as we gear up to walk for 1 million students who may be homeless.

Terence

The Countdown Begins (7 DAYS AWAY)

I don’t know what to think this morning…

It’s (5AM), and I am literally 7 days away from doing the second most daring thing I have ever done in my life. I have never walked 30 miles before (it will take 12 hours to complete)!

I am literally nervous and excited at the same time. I’m in constant preparation of my mind and body to make this happen!

However, I honestly have three fears:

1) I won’t make it.

2) I won’t make it.

3) I won’t make it.

LOL. I’m going to need every ounce of support I can get–including prayers, and anything else that will help me to get through.

One plus I do have is that I’ll have my personal trainer walking with me… He is going to be there the entire journey. Also, other people will probably join in on the journey as well. Will you?

Today, I am mediating on a scripture found in 2 Corinthians 12… The writer is very transparent in this verse (speaking of his personal limitations), and then is encouraged with a thought from God.

 “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV)

I am praying that God continues to give #lovebeyondwalls the strength to raise awareness and impact the lives of people!

Terence

The Countdown Begins (DAYS 9&8 THREE SIMPLE THINGS)

Hey,

Below are the three simple things you should know about the walk

1) Homeless in parking lot – On Feb 28th, I will sleep in a tent in Crossroads Church parking lot (Douglasville, GA) the night before I walk 30 miles to raise awareness. You are welcome to join me to sleep outside that night in the parking lot.

2) Waking up early – On March 1st, I will wake up from my (hopefully) restful night, and begin walking at 4AM to raise awareness of homelessness in the city of ATL, and across this country. Why? To give homeless people a voice, to raise shoes (1K), and to hopefully raise some funds to get us a storage place for a year to house all donations.

3) Meet me – I am walking the entire Bankhead HWY… So, at any point you want to join in, please do. Or, if you want to wait until I get close to the city, join in on the last mile on North Side Dr.

Below is a graphic restating these three simple things! We are eight days away before #lovebeyondwalls give a “VOICE FOR HOMELESSNESS!”

threethings

Terence