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Dec 052016
 

Hey Friends,
Just a quick announcement as the holidays role in and if you are like me, you eat a lot and bike less! But, I invite you to keep some rides in and enjoy some good afternoon spins. If you have been planning to Cycle with ARM either all three or one day and are looking forward to registering. Get ready! We are opening it up in just 10 days- December 15th! And if you register before Feb. 1st you will get a 25% discount on a new ARM cycling jersey.

Registration opens on or our website Dec. 15th.  Active.com allows you to use their platform for getting sponsors. If you do not register through Active.com, you can still use Social media platforms and sponsors can donate through our Cycle of Service website on your behalf. Easy either way.

So, enjoy the festivities and get in a few training rides! Our 300 mile challenge will be here before you know it!

lisa

Apr 262016
 

Our total is inching closer to $19,000 as I write this and I am amazed at all those who have given and supported us.

The last day is the most difficult…no doubt. And I will get to that. On Saturday night, our team was visited by Tuskegee Mayor, Johnny Ford, who came to express his appreciation. After taking a picture with the group, he made us all honorary citizens of Tuskegee. After sharing in a meal provided by Country’s BBQ in Auburn, we walked over to Tuskegee Methodist and took a tour of the church.

Saturday was a community work day in conjunction with the ride. We had two different student groups working. One continued serving at Ms. Maddox’s home painting two rooms and the other team built more bunk beds used for our bunk rooms this summer. We also had a group laying new tile in the kitchen. All in all, a productive day.

Sunday came…last day. We were all sore, tired, ready to go and honestly ready to be done. What was encouraging was the donations steadily coming in making our time climbing hills, blazing sun, and being in the saddle, worthwhile.

Something really providential and crazy happened when we arrived at a small gas station in Seale, Alabama. We met a woman washing her clothes who told us about her friend who needed to have her home repaired in order to get her kids back from Department of Human Resources. I felt a sting of pain as she recounted these details.  Just a few days prior to our ride, I realized I spoken to this woman and remembered feeling saddened by her story and situation. The area where she lives is well out of range of our volunteer teams. Although I tried to connect her with some other potential ways to help, it was with deep sadness and regret that I told her that ARM would not be able to help. While recalling this story with this woman’s friend who was keeping three of her friend’s kids, she told me the oldest son was inside drying clothes. He had big dreams as he was scheduled to attend basic training this upcoming June. I spoke to him for a few minutes hoping to offer encouragement. While walking outside of the laundry mat I was introduced to his mother who had just driven up. Again, I was overcome with remorse but now not on the phone but in person. We listened to parts of her story. Several of our cycling team then gathered around, grasped hands and surrounded her, her son, and her friend so that we could pray. It was the only thing I knew how to do.

Most of the time I get to share the success stories. This one reminds me ever so painfully that we cannot get to everyone and that not every community is aware of the needs around them and the importance of sustainable and affordable housing. We need more groups like ARM engaging their communities and creating opportunities to help. We need more followers and believers out LOOKING for where there is pain, hurt, and where people feel lost in order to connect them into the larger faith family.

So after the sober realities, we were off on our journey again. For me, a little bit more meaning and intentionality. It was a great feeling to reach the GA/AL state line and know we were 2/3 of the way finished. We had a great rest stop with our friends at Trinity UMC Phenix City, Steve and Olivia, and then began our final journey. I tell you, it was no cake walk. Every incline burned trying to climb, one pedal crank after another. The big hope was that we would soon be finished. And we did…the miles and time clicked by. The last main hill on Wrights’ Mill Road the beginning of the end! The reception at Auburn UMC was epic. With loud cheers, hoots, and hollers; claps, whistles, and shouts-we entered into the parking lot with family and friends welcoming us home. Spectacular and heartwarming to see so many out there. 3 Days, 3 States, 300 miles…finished!

Another COS in the books and as Keith Foster announced, “the best one yet”.

What a journey. Being finished is a relief. Thank you for your love and help as we link arm’s together to extend the love of Christ and eliminate substandard housing in Alabama!

Grace and peace,

lisa

Apr 242016
 

Going through small towns, you see all types of sites. Mobile home parks with dilapidated structures. Signs of despair. But also signs of growth, promise, and hope. Each community has a story and like us, it has its bright spots and flaws. One of the families we have served with in Lee County is Ms. Alford. She is elderly and takes care of her grandchildren who love her deeply. Recently her church honored her for her mission heart and contributions to her church. Also living in a mobile home, she had several conditions such as a leaking roof, ceiling damage, and needed a ramp. The cost of these repairs just in materials well over $1000. But with willing heart and big smiles, our “friends” linked up with Ms. Alford to make those repairs. While with these groups, she prayed for them, encouraged them, and displayed love and grace. It was a pleasure to serve with her; one who has done so much for her church, family, and community.

Again, it is why 13 people will get on bicycles and ride 100 miles a day across Alabama. As we pray, ride, and share our story we are hoping people will catch a glimpse of hope.

Our ride from Selma to Tuskegee was successful. With more hills and a cross wind, it was a little more challenging today. We are grateful to Prattville UMC and my friends Rev. Rob Couch, Dr. John Brooks, and Rev. Drew Willis  for hosting lunch. A shout out to Country’s BBQ for sponsoring our dinner tonight. Our friend Chase had to head back home for a cancer benefit. His son has had cancer and has been diagnosed cancer free! It was good to have him with us!!! Tomorrow on our final leg we will also be joined by Taylor and Michael and look forward to adding two more people to our group.

We will check in again tomorrow. Help us spread the word and if encourage people to give at www.cycleofservice.arm-al.org.

May our seats be soft!

Lisa

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Apr 232016
 

Living in a remote area of West Alabama has its challenges. Taking 20 minutes to drive anywhere, gas alone can be a struggle. The soil is not conducive to septic tanks but without larger city resources no sewer system either. Several people have clogged up septic systems or simply run several yards behind their homes. Homes are vulnerable as there are few repair options. Finding a plumber or basic handyman can cost over $75 just for a service call, not to mention the actual repair. But these situations are no match for the spirit and joy of Ms. Ellma and Mr. Curtis. Although Curtis is confined to a wheelchair, Ms. Ellma is a beacon of light, hope, and joy with him. She is a minister herself collecting what few clothes and food she has to give to others; even when she has a floor about to cave in.

This is one story out of hundreds. One family out of thousands. It is the reason ARM brings in hundreds of youth disciples every year to partner with families like Ellma to repair their homes. It is why we pray for broken systems that perpetuate these cycles to be healed. And, it is why 13 people will get on bicycles and ride 100 miles a day across Alabama. As we pray, ride, and share our story we are hoping people will catch a glimpse of hope.

Our ride from Livingston to Selma was successful and the weather was certainly our friend. We are grateful to Livingston UMC and Memorial UMC in Selma for hosting us and doing so much.

We will check in again today. Help us spread the word and if encourage people to give at www.cycleofservice.arm-al.org.

May our seats be soft!

Lisa

Apr 212016
 

Our total today: $9153.00   Our goal: $25,000

Today 13 riders load up to shuttle west across Alabama in preparation to cycle with a purpose. We will have two more riders pick up with us on Sunday for the last 100 miles. I can’t believe it is that time! Between training, getting sponsors, and working out the details, the day has snuck up on us. It takes so many people to make this work. Our Beyond Bikes team at Auburn UMC have been loading a big trailer, getting our banners ready, getting all of the food and nutrition we need and getting our details for the drivers worked out. Others have been tweeting, sending out Facebook messages, shooting Instagram pictures and more to spread the word and the message. Amber, who is interning with us, has been working the logistics at all of our rest stops and keeping the riders informed of details! Cray stuff!

And that’s what brings me to the next step. The why. It’s Mr. Young who is widowed and his monthly social security is all but gone at the end of the month. There was nothing left over even to save for the Kool Seal application his mobile home needs every five years. To hire a person to do that will cost about $400. Or Ms. Maddox who is also single and living in the home her grandfather built. Water damage under aging pipes left weak spots in her floor. Living outside of a small town, the service charge is over $70…and that’s before the work. On an income of less than $900 and still having to use food assistance, these repairs are out of reach. In Tuskegee, there are a number of veterans needing housing. Yet, over 1000 homes lie vacant in the community through abandonment, foreclosure, or some other situation. Two issues needing to come together.

It’s these stories of real people with hopes, dreams, and desires that inspire us to ride. Up hills, in the rain, blazing heat, cars whizzing by…so that we can make a difference. I hope you will make a difference with us.

To follow our journey you can see us at Cycle of Service on our Facebook page as well as Alabama Rural Ministry FB page. If you want to give and help us meet our goal of $25,000 you can donate online at

https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/cycleofservice or email nancy@arm-al.org to make a pledge. Most of all pray for the safety of our cyclists and the potential families we will serve this summer and the rest of the year.

So far we have raised: $9,153.00 Thank you so much to all who have already given! It’s here

3 Days-3 States-300 Miles-Cycle of Service!

Apr 202016
 
I can’t believe it starts tomorrow!!!! Wow! Crazy times! We are excited about our riders and our sponsors and are looking forward to what God will show us. Please say thank you to these people giving up there time, money, and so much more. Our sponsors are helping us achieve our goal of $25,000. Watch for the ride updates on our Facebook page and the #cos2016.
 These are the crazy people riding their bikes across the state!
  • Lisa Pierce
  • Keith Foster
  • Debbie and David Smalley
  • Mark Smith
  • Michael Azar
  • Taylor Robenalt
  • Herb Rabren
  • Lashae Rich
  • John Stevenson
  • Chase Crowson
  • Tom Meagher
  • Marlena Robles
  • Scott Middleton
  • Caroline Gardner
We’re so thankful for all our SPONSORS this year:
  • Pharmavite /Nature Made
  • Auburn Dermatology
  • Hall’s Wholesale Flowers
  • Washburn Family Dental
  • Vast Solutions
  • University Ace Hardware
  • Auburn United Methodist Church
  • Quail Hollow Gardens
  • Tiger Town Family Dentistry
  • Jimmy’s Car Stereo
  • Hosey Construction
  • All Creatures Veterinary Clinic
  • Prattville UMC
  • Memorial UMC (Selma)
  • Livingston UMC
  • Trinity UMC Phenix City
  • Vaughan Feed and Seed (Tuskegee)
  • Sabel Steel
  • RSI Small Engine Repair
  • James Brothers’ Bikes
  • Brian Hollingsworth Family Dentistry
  • Best Copies of Auburn
  • Allstate – Dee Madison
  • 122nd Troop Support Command (Selma)
Apr 182016
 

With less than a week to our big ride, we wanted to introduce you to two more of our awesome riders!

5f198ad2-83c2-46dc-ae75-9fcb513243371Mark Smith is a native of Alabama and has lived in the Auburn area for the last 3-1/2 years after joining Pharmavite as a purchasing professional. After a long span of not cycling, he has been riding regularly for the past two years. Riding in the Cycle of Service for the first time seemed like the perfect opportunity to combine a love of cycling with service to the Lord. He looks forward to supporting ARM and their ministries to the community.

 

HerbHerb Rabren: “Why would any sane person ever ride a bicycle 300 miles in 3 days? I’m not a professional rider. I’m not being chased. For me, riding is a side note; bringing attention to and raising support for ARM by riding across the state is one way that I can help. I’ve participated with organizations like ARM in the past; hammering away, pouring concrete, cleaning up, and the like. I’ve always felt like I was the one blessed by helping others.” This is Herb’s second ride.

Apr 152016
 

One week and counting as we get ready to cycle across Alabama. Cycle of Service Sparta Challenge! 3 Days, 3 States, and 300 miles! I am excited and nervous! Our training has gone well and there have been several opportunities to ride together. It is a great community we are building.

And why would we endeavor to do this? Because we know several families, with calls coming in every day, of people and families struggling to make ends meet. A $3500 roof repair can be difficult for the average homeowner, but what if you only bring in $900/month on social security. Even to save $100/month would take three years. It’s nearly impossible. Furthermore, we know that our veterans who have served our country and fought our wars struggle to find decent housing. Finally, for over 90,000 Alabamians, there are simply not enough affordable places to live. Rental rates take up 60-70% of their monthly income leaving little room for other expenses.

These are the reasons we ride. Raising money provides the funds we need to purchase the construction supplies. Then we recruit friends and neighbors from near and far to contribute their time and love through serving and working on homes. It is a beautiful expression of the Kingdom of God at work.

You can be a part of this great work. By giving to our ride you play a vital role giving us the steam and energy to keep going. And, pass this on to others who may want to hear how we are doing. And if you would, say a few prayers of protection and success :))

You may donate online at  https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/cycleofservice  or email Nancy@arm-al.org to make a pledge. We appreciate you in advance!!!!

Building for love,

lisa

Apr 072016
 

Almost two weeks away! See this short interview about why we are riding and doing something so crazy. It’s not too late to register to ride with us…and you don’t have to ride all 300 miles. If you would like to give to help us towards our goal of $25,000 you can do so easily at this link: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/cycleofservice

WSFA interview link: http://www.wsfa.com/clip/12331191/alabama-rural-ministry?autostart=true

15 days and counting!!!!

Blessings,

lisa