Last night made night 25, and also one of the hardest nights yet. Why? Because the weather dropped immensely, and we had to take extra precautions. We had tons of blankets, heaters, and had to cut our night/morning short around 5AM this morning.
If I can be candid for a moment, people ask how have I been able to survive mentally, spiritually, and physically on top of a bus in the middle of winter for almost 30 nights without getting sick, or having a mental breakdown from the pressure that comes with this (because my personal life has still happened).
Well, allow me to tell you that’s it has been God’s sustaining hand. I’m not superman, I’m not strong enough to complete this alone. God has moved through my wife Cecilia Lester caring for our children and supporting, and many others who have stepped up to send encouragement.
I’ve wanted to quit, I’ve wanted to stop, but God won’t let me…God has placed more compassion in my heart as the days go on for those who are broken, and are deserving of hope and love. I’ve seen the other side walking in the shoes of those who are voiceless and nameless… I have tasted the bitter view of the lenses that many wear who are affected by poverty.
Today, I’m five days away from finishing something that’s so much bigger than me or our org. It’s something that gives those who are forgotten a voice, and places focus on God’s love that is needed in the earth today… This is my truth.
Today is rough. In fact, I am literally exhausted. For the last 23 days/nights, I have lived on top of a bus (because of my own decisions) to raise awareness, and hopefully transform the bus into a #mobilemakeovers unit for underserved communities, and displaced homeless individuals in the city of Atlanta. And now, there are only 7 nights left and I am tired. In all honesty,
I want to give up. I want to throw in the towel and pack up my bags and go home. Why? Below are the top ten reasons I want to quit:
1) I have gotten very little sleep. In fact, last night I have only gotten on average 2-4 hours of sleep a night.
2) The weather is a challenge. I have lived in the rain, cold, and wind have been forces to be reckoned with.
3) It is very uncomfortable being in a very confined space. Because of the weather, it has caused me to be in a confined space multiple hours.
4) It is exhausting. When this journey is completed it will be over 700 hours invested in this project, and that is a lot.
5) It has been opposition. There are several challenges that have come up along the way.
6) I have had to face myself. This has forced me to face multiple fears, and even some things I had had to learn about myself.
7) Limited access to normal things. This has stripped away every attachment I have had to things that I was accustomed to…
8) The unknown. You never know what is to come, or anything will come at all.
9) Loss of enthusiasm. Having to deal with many issues can strip away your spunk or get up and go. I have had to overcome this many times.
10) Having to communicate constantly. For the last thirty days, I have documented most experiences that I have had during this period of time, and have shared them publicly. But, you get tired of communicating sometimes.
However, although many of these may be true it is God’s mission, people, and the cause that is keeping me going. This morning, I read a scripture that reminded me that this whole project is greater than me. It is because it’s about the people who have been impacted, and the people we have yet to impact. It’s about sharing the good news…
Jesus says, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily… (Luke 9:23)”
With that being said, I am going to continue the journey until I complete every single night on top of the bus (of the 30 night journey).
For the last 10 or so days, a few brothers have been staying with me on the bus. While I sleep on the top, they stay below inside the bus. Additionally, they have become out first #mobilemakeovers candidates.
With the help of several barbers, and generous donors, we will able to make them over, and this morning for the first Sunday of the year we are all going to church. Why? Because they asked to and outward transformation is not compared to the inner transformation that can take place.
Below is a before and after pictures of the brothers! So far, I only have 9 more nights on top of the bus before I make thirty days. I ask that you help us change the bus so we can reach more people.
Last night made 20 nights on top of the bus! This has been the most difficult time ever. For the last couple days it has been raining.
However, I am grateful and willing to the distance! I have made up in my mind that I will complete the full thirty nights on the bus, and do all things through the power of Christ (Phil 4:13).
Below is the countdown graphic!
Last night made night 17, and I am actually starting to feel inspired. Why? One reason is because we were able to mobilize, a barber, a tailor, and a few generous people to complete our first #mobilemakeovers (before we have gotten the bus up and going)!
Who did we make over? We made over Robert and his younger brother, Willie. Below is a before and after picture that will give you a glimpse of what we’d like to do all next year once we get the bus up and going.
Additionally, we recorded the barber to capture his words about volunteering his time.
We hope to launch our project with the bus soon to start the process of making people over from all walks of life, and hopefully connect them to agencies and programs that will help them take steps toward total life-change.
Last night made 16 nights on top of the bus! Literally, we’ve been living on top for 16 days/nights straight, and plan on going a full 30 nights to complete the journey.
Below is a quick video from the halfway point updating and highlighting what’s been happening.
This morning, I opened the tent and it was wet again. It’s always hard when it rains because it makes the journey feel that much more intense.
For the last 15 days, I have been living on top of a bus in College Park, GA to raise awareness about people in need that we are hoping to make over with our #mobilemakeovers bus! I am aiming to go a full 30 DAYS.
Honestly, I can’t believe I have survived this long because of the weather, and the intensity of this journey.
I know it is only by God’s strength that I have not given up. God has been carrying me the distance, and given me more compassion about the cause.
Additionally, my wife has pushed me by caring for our children, and stepping up in a few places that I have had to pulled back from during this journey. She has been encouraging me the entire journey! In fact, she has sent me scriptures, and quotes to keep me uplifted.
There are so many lessons I’ve learned on top of this bus about trusting God completely, the importance of simplicity, blocking out the absence or negativity of people, persevering through rough times, and the importance of maintaining pure integrity and character.
Well, I am at the halfway point, and I am still believing that God will use this bus and our project to do something fascinating in the lives of those we seek to serve. I can’t wait to see what’s to come of this!