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.
Last night was extremely hard (however I have made 8 nights of the 30 nights I am aiming for), but God sent me someone to help. In fact, last year on today I met my friend Robert while sleeping under a bridge in the heart of downtown Atlanta. He was homeless, and we formed a friendship. Today, he is living with someone, and is hoping to join a program that will provide housing.
Earlier this week I spoke with him and he decided come up here and stay on the bus to help me go the distance. This means a lot to me because last year we were under a bridge, and this year he is helping me raise awareness about this bus project.
I am grateful for him and our friendship! He has helped to understand why it is so important for people to have dignity. Below is a picture of my friend on top of the bus.
Yesterday was unreal.
Around 10pm a small group of us arrived back at the office where the bus is parked… I talked to my wife and kids, we prayed, and I climbed up to start living on top of the bus for the next thirty nights straight. My friend Dave built a pretty secure platform on top of the bus for my safety. It includes a porta potty, a small heater, and a little power so I can blog about my experiences.
However, I know people are probably wondering
“what in the world does living on top of a bus prove. Better yet, why in the world would you do it in the middle of winter. It makes no sense.”
Well, to me this means everything. This past year, our organization encountered thousand of people through service. We served tons of apartment complexes, and served a couple thousand homeless individuals in the heart of the city, and I noticed something very unique among all those we served. People have lost hope, a sense of self-worth, and even dignity. It is hard looking into the eyes of people and knowing that the only self-worth they have is their existence (meaning they feel they only feel worth because they are alive). In fact, I can remember encountering a lady in the apartment complex where we serve that said, “I feel like I am forgotten about… and I’m all alone…” This same lady said that she hadn’t eaten in a week because she was a senior citizen and had few resources.
No matter how you slice it, communities and people who live in poverty deserve to have a sense of self-worth, dignity, and even receive help that could possibly help them rebuild the pieces to their lives. We’ve seen recently in the news a underlining call for all people to start working in communities to restore the broken pieces that leave stains, and scars that never go away.
One of the ways #lovebeyondwalls would like to start helping the community is by reaching out to communities and homeless individuals by providing makeovers with our bus. These makeovers would be more than physical touchups, they would be like a launchpad for people to taking steps toward permanent change.
This doesn’t answer why sleep on a bus…. does it…
Well, I am staying on this bus because we are serious about transforming the bus, and sharing compassion with many people who have no hope! We desire to go mobile to serve people in the city of Atlanta. It’s just that simple. I believe in what we are taking a stand for… And I believe that we will be able to band together with other organizations to help people.
I don’t claim to be the best leader, but I have learned what my favorite leadership style is… It isn’t the most popular leadership style, but it is one that most aligns with how God has made me.
In fact, when you look at the New Testament, you’ll see that Jesus used the same model of leadership. What is it? That’s simple. It is “servant leadership.” It’s leading by serving others. Let me warn you though
it’s not popular in a culture that tells you to place yourself first ALL the time.
In fact, if you were to do a google search right now on leadership styles all types of styles would come up that are often used by those leading organizations of all sorts. However, one leadership style you’d be hard pressed to find is servant leadership.
Why? Because servant leadership “is an age-old concept, a term loosely used to suggest that a leader’s primary role is to serve others (Haskett, Forbes)”
This past year, I have led with this style because it places people as the main priority. It’s grassroots, time consuming, and has high involvement, but is totally worth it when you see people touched and impacted…. In fact, it doesn’t always come out perfect, is messy, and has high risks, but the end goal is always to serve others. That’s what I believe God is most pleased with.
This morning, I felt the need to mention servant leadership because this is what we are aiming to display by getting our mobile makeover unit off the ground. Of course our approach is a little untraditional sometimes, but we are aiming to serve others in such a way that #lovebeyondwalls can play a major role in seeing people’s lives transformed.
No agenda, no motives, no gimmicks, just servant leadership.
Some have asked why live on top of a bus for 30 nights straight (and even called me crazy for attempting this)… But it is simple… To help us serve more people as we aim to get our mobile unit off the ground. I care about people, and have a deep desire to see people receive love, hope, and life transformation.
I ask that you keep me/us in your prayers as we embark on our next servant leadership journey. Additionally, think about supporting our cause by “Getting on the bus…” and clicking the image below.
It’s Giving Tuesday, and we hope LBW is in your plan for giving this Holiday Season.
There are two quick-and-easy ways to support LBW. Firstly, you can simply visit our site, and make a contribution [HERE]. Every gift powers us to serve more people, and spread hope and love!
Secondly, you can give toward our “MOBILE MAKEOVERS BUS” campaign [HERE]. We are aiming to retrofit a bus to reach those who are under resourced in Atlanta.
If you experienced any of our service projects or stories this year, or if you believe in our efforts to reach those who are in need, please make a tax-deductible year-end donation.
This past weekend, one of our church partners began collecting toys for our upcoming “Party for A Cause” one year anniversary! We are using this party as a way to give love away to over 300 children in need in the community where we serve (for Christmas).
This past Saturday, we showed our film at Ga Tech! Now, we have placed it on Vimeo for 7 days to give people a chance to view it who did not see it… In fact, you can view “Love In The Trenches” below. LBW Team
This past Saturday, we encountered a little over 100 people on the campus of Ga Tech to preview our first film (Love in The Trenches)! It was an amazing experience. People stood around, engaged in conversation, looked at many of our art pieces, and got a chance to preview the film.
It was amazing because two minutes into the film, people instantly connected and started shedding tears. We all cried, laughed, and ultimately left inspired to make a difference in the world around us.