Apr 292015
 

Some closing thoughts from COS 2015 Day 3

Day 3 was our ride from Selma to the Mississippi line and ending in York, Alabama. After Saturday’s ride of dodging tornadoes, rain, battling gusty head winds, and some grueling hills, Sunday was looking like a gravy kind of ride. Basically, a relatively easy 100 miles. Only a few hills and head winds at only 5-6mph.

Heat was our only factor. Our water bottles could not stay cold after about 45 minutes so stopping just to ice down was a necessity.

One of the highlights of the Selma ride is crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. Only six weeks ago was the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery march for voting rights. An iconic landmark, it reminds us and humbles us to the struggles we still have for social justice. Scripture calls us to side with those who are marginalized, disregarded, and taken disadvantage of. We are called to suffer with those who suffer, the true meaning of compassion. Jesus gave us a model of washing feet and revealing our allegiance to Him by laying down our lives for others and being an active example of sacrificial love.

So, after devotion and a prayer from Pastor Steve Kopp, off we were with well paved four lane roads, good conversation, and ready to complete our journey.  Passing through Union Town is always interesting and reveals what happens when a community no longer has a stream of economic development and vision. With most of the population being elderly, there is really no way to leave as their homes will not sell in order to create a flow of funds to relocate. “Stuck” is the word of choice. Yet, fifteen miles down the road is an example of hope. Demopolis, although a small town has hope, economic development, camaraderie, and a solid integrated school system. You feel safe in Demopolis.

From Demopolis to the state line on Highway 80, it is wide open country. This was the most difficult part of our ride for the day. Although beautiful once you get to the top, the bridge over the Tombigbee in Demopolis is a formidable challenge. And then comes the hills into Cuba. Five long, grueling climbs and then one more hill before getting to Highway 11 and the smell of the finish.

We completed our ride in York and then shuttled over to Livingston UMC where we were provided with a great dinner before our ride back to Auburn. Thanks to Gail and Ron Baughman. Rev. Gail is the pastor of Livingston UMC and Ron is a retired COL who knows ton about construction and loves to lead volunteer groups.

Lessons are valuable…ones that come to mind. Service. Perseverance. Teamwork. I could not complete this without the help of others. Our riders, the support drivers, the churches and businesses and of course our individual sponsors giving the necessary funds,  make one large network of love.  So, thanks to a great ride and another Cycle of Service completed.  Now, the real work of home repair, loving children, and loving our neighbors continue.

 

The story behind this picture: Our heart, thoughts, and prayers go out to Oliver Crowson. Oliver is a young boy with a brain tumor and going through treatment. His dad and our friend, Chase, who is an alumni of Auburn, rode with us for the first few years of COS. Chase hopes to join us in the future but his time is currently committed to his son’s treatment and on the day of this ride, there was a 5k happening in Oliver’s behalf to help raise funds for his treatment. Children, Oliver’s age, from our church made these bibs and decorated them. We are sending them to Chase and Oliver to let their family know of our love and support of them!

Oliver cropped

Mar 202015
 

Saturdays are something special at ARM. On average of two Saturdays a month it is when we get to be with our families and hear more of their story and share ours. It is when our friends from the local community and around the state come out and put their hands, hearts, and a few hammers together to make some much needed repairs on a home. Joining hands in the morning and afternoon  to pray together, laughing as we eat, fellowship, and share some reflections about the scriptures; all of these make for a day that looks a lot like the kingdom Jesus said was here and would be fulfilled at His return. And when the day is closing, we can see the light of joy as a person like Ms. Brenda can smile at her new windows that are now water and air proof. Radiating with joy, she beams as she sees new siding and fresh paint.  Hugging each “friend”, she praises Jesus! For me, it is a reminder of hope and what living in genuine Christian community looks like. I literally live for Saturdays.

That is why events like our 6th Annual Cycle of Service mean so much. Being one of the main ways we raise funds to support our home repair and children’s ministry, we always look forward to the experience of a celebrated and anticipated finish. So, what does this ride really look like?

  1. Imagine sitting in a bicycle seat for about 6 hours and getting off maybe once per hour for 15-20 minutes. Can you hear the colorful conversations of 5-6 other fellow cyclists having a similar experience?
  2. Imagine a long blacktop with some rolling hills. Hills that have you out of breath at the crest but that bring great reward as you coast down-usually at about 27-30 mile per hour.
  3. Sun…rain…wind-with a myriad of combinations…
  4. Imagine the evening where your legs and back remind you of the physical sacrifice you just made after 100 miles of pedaling.
  5. Now multiply that by 3.

To cycle with us, you have to commit to getting sponsors and raising at minimum $1200. Through emails, Facebook, and letter writing campaigns, they get individuals and businesses to make a financial commitment. It is touching how passionate our riders are and how much they care about the ministry of ARM and wanting to be a small part of its influence, outreach, and Kingdom work. On the ride, we are supported by local churches and groups who feed us and provide a place to shower and sleep. Again, it is a reminder of the radical hospitality usually only found among followers of Christ.

As  April 24-26th approaches, we are training, tending to our bikes, and working in some long rides before the big weekend. I hope you will surround this event with your thoughts and prayers. Maybe you can give a small donation in support of the ride. Our $25,000 goal will be applied to 10 more family’s houses like Ms. Brenda mentioned above and the Tuskegee Mission Hub we are currently renovating.

We’ll keep you posted as we draw closer to the event. Here is the link to the Cycle of Service web page if you would like to make a gift. Thank you so much! Much love and pedals :)))  Lisa

www.cycleofservice.arm-al.org

Riders at the Georgia line

Riders at the Georgia line

May 052013
 

A few reflections from the ride so far:

Day 1: Six riders with big dreams and a looming challenge. Starting temperature, 65 degrees, partly sunny. Wind was coming out of the East meaning it was against us. Wind was around 16mph with some gusts around 30mph. Needless to say, it was a grueling ride. For the most part, we all stayed together riding in formation to maximize efficiency. But personally,  I got super tired and eventually wanted to quit. I was grateful to Dave who hung with me and continued to encourage me. The night before we heard a devotion from Charles Walters in Livingston about being salt and what salt does. For us riding, doing something different and challenging is certainly salt as we hopefully add flavor to what we do.

Day 2: It rained all night in Selma. We were not sure if we would be able to ride or at least how wet we would be the following day. At 6:15 am it was still raining. But by the time we pulled out-it was sunny although cold. The wind had shifted from blowing east to now being behind us. We were deeply encouraged. Again the graciousness of churches like Livingston, Memorial in Selma and Aldersgate in Montgomery stood out to us. So many have come out to help in a small way by praying, providing a meal, and of course giving.

We rolled into Tuskegee today-and all together. I was grateful to not fall behind and I know that is was due to the team slowing their pace a bit. Although the weather was chilly, it allowed for a great ride and not nearly as brutal as the previous day.

As we closed out our time of devotion, we reflected on Paul’s letter to the Colossians and especially Ch 3 that calls us to do all that we do in the name of Jesus.  We have much work to do as followers of Jesus and how we represent our risen Lord. We are guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit that gives us our strength and endurance.

Finally, it is for our families. Families who may be low income but full of love. They simply need just a small surge of help for a repair like a roof or maybe a wheel chair ramp that are way beyond a budget of $700/month. More, having the community of faith surround them is such an incredible encouragement. Being together in Christ should cross barriers of race, age, gender, socio-economic status and any other barrier we can imagine. This is what the power of Jesus’ love equips us to do in His kingdom. It has been a fun time and we are so blessed!

Until tomorrow-42 miles to go! you can help us out by using the donate button on this site!

Grace and peace,

lisa

Edmund Pettus Bridge Selm
Jun 222011
 

If you have ever gone “horse back riding” for a considerable amount of time, then you know what we mean when we talk about getting used to the saddle. Bike riding long distances is all about stamina-but it’s also about getting used to sitting and peddling for hours at a time. It’s about your neck and shoulders always facing down…and that is what makes these moments grueling and rewarding at the same time.

As we get ready, it’s a few last minute details to bring this together. There are so many making this happen.

Southern Sportsman Lodge on Thursday night hosting us and dinner at Livingston UMC with Rev. Wilson Kendrick speaking. And Wilson is  a support driver on Friday!

The folks in Selma at Memorial UMC feeding us and providing sleep space to the 621st BsSB National Guard unit providing showers

Montgomery FUMC is providing lunch on Saturday and our work project of tornado response. St. Mark UMC in Montgomery will feed us and provide sleep space.

Tuskegee UMC will be our reception area on Sunday and then Epworth  UMC in Phenix and St. Mark UMC in Columbus are the final reception teams! Great stuff and many hands to help.

If you would like to sponsor a rider, please feel free-they have been training hard and have huge hearts!

See you somewhere on HW 80!

lisa

May 052011
 

Last week we visited Geiger, Alabama. Where is that, you may ask? Way out as far West as you can get into Alabama without being in Mississippi-and about 35 miles south of Tuscaloosa. Geiger was one of the first towns to be leveled by massive tornadoes on April 15th-about 2 weeks earlier than the devastating blow that came on April 27th. These not only flattened small towns but as you have seen, created utter destruction in Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Huntsville, and all the small, rural communities inbetween.

As we visited Geiger, we came upon a group cleaning up at a church. The church was solid brick with a concrete floor-it might as well been a deck of cards. There was nothing left…nothing left standing except the church drumset and a lone microwave. Where sinks and commodes were once installed-only the piped studs. Unreal. Heartbreaking. When you turned you could see the billowing smoke from where some items were being burned. In the background was the sound  of chainsaws, bulldozers, heavy trucks, and voices. One guy had his pickup truck loaded with water and drove around to hand it out to all those working. One town-gone. That’s just one…

The Cycle of Service is designed just for this. Sometimes homes become damaged over time due to not being able to stop a small thing like a leak from becoming the weak spot in the bathroom floor. Other times damage comes, quick, suddenly, and without warning-much more destructive and a true blindside. Both are difficult to manage. We ride for both. So, I hope you will join us on this amazing journey across our state to ride, serve and raise funds for families needing home repair whether they are from storm damage or just over time.

I pray I will see you on the ride!

lisa

May 112010
 

We had a 20 mile training ride on Saturday and it was so fun! Exhilerating. Now, just to add about 50 onto that and see what happens. All the details are coming together and we are so excited about what we are going to experience. The churches that will be hosting us are so gracious and excited about us staying with them.

So, to put this into perspective. This past Friday afternoon we went out to a family’s home to replace a simple window. The last time that it rained-water poured into the house collecting in buckets and a small ice chest. The window replacement seemed pretty routine- no real big deal. Except that when we pulled off the window, the entire frame crumbled and left us nothing to install the new window into. So after the bike ride on Saturday, we went and reframed the window and then installed a new one. It was great to know that the next time it rained it would be dry on the inside.

These simple acts remind us of why we ride and the importance of sharing the love of Christ with families. So, we look forward to seeing you all on the ride!

God bless,

lisa

May 072010
 

It is seven weeks and counting as we get closer to our launch time. We’ve had fun at community events like Bike Bash and are gearing up for another one called Chain Reaction being held at Cornerstone Church http://cornerstonebuzz.org on Saturday May 15th in Auburn. All the items are falling into place. Why is this important? Well, it’s about one of our special families like Rosetta. When we got to her mobile home, you could barely walk in it. The roof and walls had leaked so much that the floors were rotten along all the edges. Most of their plumbing fixtures were in shambles causing them to waste money each month. Her two boys had to deal with dodging holes and hoping they would not fall through. It was tough. Through volunteers and many hours of labor, the roof was repaired, all the floors repaired, and new plumbing installed. It looks like a new home and now is safe and dry. Multiply this need out across our state and then we understand why our efforts are so important. But, it is more than the repairs…it is about developing friendships and praying with families. Letting them know that they are cared for. The greatest commandments Jesus gave was to love him completely and to love our neighbor as ourself….so why wouldn’t we not be ready and willing to go and serve. This ride helps us keep our eyes on this ever important mission.

So, come ride with us or support our efforts by helping us reach our goal of $60,000. Thanks so much and we’ll see you on the ride!

Blessings,

lisa

May 042010
 

So this past week, Bike Bash was a blast and way fun. We talked to lots of people about our ride and what it will mean. Carla, Justin, Molly, and Ben came out to help and got some free grub from our friend and rider, Dr. Bill Deutsch. The t-shirts and water bottles look great and we are really excited about everything coming up.

Have you seen the profile pics being added? We need yours! Time is getting close for registration! Remember the deadline is May 31st and well, it’s already May 🙂 So, get some good peddling in and get ready to cycle and serve with us!

See you on the ride!

Apr 292010
 

The weather is going to be beautiful and a great day for biking around the Auburn area. ARM will be there as well giving out information and prizes for our upcoming ride, Cycle of Service! So go see Carla and Justin at our booth and they can get you all the information that you need. Bring your bikes and plan to have a blast!