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,


Edmund Pettus Bridge Selm
Jun 272010

Today started bright and early with breakfast at Memorial UMC in Selma. After sleeping on floors throughout the church, we arose to a great meal and getting everything situated for the day’s ride. We even were able to have a police escort through the city of Selma. Riding over the Edmund Pettus Bridge and remembering the sacrifice of those who had to fight for civil and voting rights was very memorable. The ride was not going to be long-50 miles, but it was going to be filled with large, rolling hills during a 10 mile stretch.

My personal glitch stated early when I broke the valve on my back tire. But no worries, Chase had a spare tube and was pretty handy. The tube was replaced and off we went! I decided I was going to stay with the boys and learn how to draft…I lost my balance and ran off the road a few times. But overall it seemed to be going well…and then I heard a WHOOSSSSHHHH….and I looked behind and my back tire was flat…again. It seemed to be a great place for a break so we all stopped and Keith worked on my tire. After about 15 minutes, we were back on our way. I guess after resting a bit longer I just felt more tired…it seemed harder and harder to get up the hills. After about 20 minutes of hills but feeling really strained, I looked at my back tire and realized it was nearly flat yet again. This would make flat number three in a two hour period. Frustration was setting in…Keith and the pack were way ahead but Garrett made his way around. I was able to change out bikes…this bike was a bit tall for me but we made it work. It was wonderful getting into Montgomery and the church.

Lunch was a huge spread of sandwiches, chips, cobbler, and refreshing drinks. Sitting together at the old Cloverdale School we recapped the events of our day and the next step of the afternoon. We were tasked with helping clean inside a gym and hall of an old school being converted into a community center. We swept, dusted, cleaned walls and basically repeated-it looked great after two hours.

The night ended with another generous spread of food from St. Mark’s UMC. Roasted ham and turkey-it hit the sport. We closed our evening with a devotion on John 6 and what it means to think of Christ as the body and blood. We shared our thoughts about what communion means and then served communion to one another. Molly sang some beautiful songs and we enjoyed the fellowship around the table. Overall, it was a fun day and I learned alot…the first day was about endurance…today was about perseverance and overcoming obstacles…

We are all extremely tired and looking forward to completing our journey tomorrow. To God be the glory!

Jun 182010

Today marks two weeks since we were activated by the state of Alabama to support the efforts with the BP oil spill. Our role as the National Guard has been to assist with the BP claims. Our mission is called Task Force Alabama Claims Assistance Teams or TF ACAT. (We have all kinds of cat jokes floating around). Our 200 person group has been housed in Baldwin County at a coliseum. Most of the soldiers sleep in cots in an open area and each day are deployed into different communities of Baldwin and Mobile counties to distribute information about the BP claims process or assist with assembling claims packets. Who knew that a massive oil leak would create a need for this kind of assistance?
Being in Gulf Shores has created challenges for my training for the ride-mainly getting time. My rides have been just before dark or early on Sunday mornings. Besides the numerous amount of small bugs that make breathing a challenge-it hasn’t been too bad. Unfortunately I am not being challenged by hills which I believe is going to have its affect. But, we’ll see. Sunday I am riding 50 miles just so I know that I will be ok on the following Friday.
I am excited about the riders! We have such a great group of people going with us-all very mission minded and servant hearted. I will be doing my best to try and keep up. There are only two girls really riding so it will be fun.
Being in Baldwin County and listening to employees of businesses discuss their fear and frustration has helped me stay connected with what is happening here. Although we do not repair homes in this area, the situations that are occurring sometimes become the initial scenarios that strap people financially and keep them from being able to repair their homes.
We are all diligently raising our support and working to raise our $1200. These proceeds will go to help us serve more families. Some of our goals for the fall include opening a thrift store for building supply materials and possibly becoming a partner with a program called Circles. We have some huge hurdles ahead of us but looking forward to the incredible challenge!
Finally, my ride last Sunday went very well. The distance from Robertsdale to Point Clear and back was 40 miles. Most of it was flat with some small hills. Getting to Point Clear and riding along the Gulf was inspiring and really beautiful. The coastline has rows of quaint and cute cottages most of which are summer or rental homes. Parks were frequent for boat launches and picnics. Much of the land was crop land with a few deep, green, plush horse pastures dotting the landscape. I expected an intense sun but high clouds diffused some of the heat. Without hills I was able to ride fast and was finished in about 3 hours. I know that will not be the case with the actual ride.
Just one week away and I’m ready to ride!
Blessings, lisa

Jun 032010

It’s never too late…well by June 12th it will be. But, if you were thinking about the ride and just couldn’t get the registration in, that’s ok-we are extending the date just a few more days! If you haven’t spent much time on a bike or haven’t trained-that first day could be a real challenge. Come anyway!

We so far have 9-10 riders so although a small crew-it will be lots of fun and a great learning experience! I personally am excited about not only the physical challenge but being able to serve. The Slavery and Civil War Museum in Selma promises to be a great experience. Plus, being able to help with renovations at a school that is being converted into a community center will connect us into the Montgomery community.

Today I spoke with the Tuskegee Rotary Club. What a great group to spend time with. We described the number of families we are able to serve each year in the Tuskegee community and then why the ride is so important. One of the members has agreed to be a corporate sponsor for our ride.

If you are in the Auburn area, we’ll doing a few more practice rides so stay tuned!

Most of all, continue to pray for our efforts. The whole point is to share Christ’s love-it’s why we ride, why we serve, and why we work on homes! Thank you again!

See you on the ride!

May 312010

May 31st-Memorial Day is about upon us. This is the registration deadline for those who would like to ride. We are excited about those who are going to join us. We have a wide range of riders some with great experience, and others like me who seem to huff and puff just looking at a hill. The support has been great! We have a great list of corporate sponsors- mostly building supply companies but also Kinnucan’s, several churches, Kroger, and more. Riders are putting out challenges for raising their support-consider using facebook, our template fundraising letter found in the info. packet, or other creative ways.

ARM is doing some amazing things this summer and fall. Our Livingston staff is getting ready to host their first set of teams in a few weeks. They’re site will be packed with 60+ kids coming each week on average. In Tuskegee, we will stay steady with out of town work teams and weekend teams. This fall, we will be opening our store. We haven’t come up with a name yet but it is a thift store for building supply materials and tools. This will give ARM its own office space (much thanks to the Auburn Wesley Foundation for supporting us for so many years) as well as an extra source of income. ARM is also prayerfully considering another venture that is geared toward helping families get out of poverty. We’ll keep you posted on this development.

But, events like the Cycle of Service help us so much to continue our outreach to underserved families and children. If you would like more information, let us know. Thanks so much and we look forward to seeing you on the ride!

May 262010

Cycle of Service: A Ride Across Alabama June 25-27

It’s just around the corner-a three day bike ride across the heart of our state. Despite grueling heat and potential thunderstorms, riders will journey across the Black Belt of Alabama. Our mission and goal, to raise awareness about poverty housing and to raise funds to continue working on homes.

Why is it called the Cycle of Service? Riders not only bike ride up and down hills, through the plains, and across beautiful countryside, we serve. The first leg of our journey takes us from Livingston, Alabama to Selma. Livingston is the historic site of the University of West Alabama and where ARM began. Selma also has a rich history due to it being one of the major hubs for the Civil Rights Movement. After our riders journey roughly 80 miles, we will visit the Civil War and Slavery Museum later that evening.  This will help our riders reengage with some of the roots of why poverty continues to exist in these areas.

Our second day in Montgomery has a bit of a different twist. Once we complete that 50 miles, we will participate in a light construction project helping with renovations at the old Cloverdale School which is being converted into a community center. We will combine our repair efforts with an overall community focus.

The third and final leg of our journey has us riding from Montgomery to Tuskegee. Before leaving Montgomery, we will participate in a morning devotion and worship and then finish our trek of 45 miles. We will have a great lunch and return rally at Tuskegee United Methodist Church.

Riding, serving, helping families…it is a great mission. The physical challenge of biking reminds us of the hardships that many families with limited or fixed incomes deal with on a daily basis. Serving reminds us of the importance of coming together and working as a community to help each other out. It is the old concept of “building barns” together.

The registration deadline is quickly approaching-May 31st! We hope you will consider riding with us either the entire way or a part of the journey. Or, consider sponsoring one or our riders and help us reach our financial goal.

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 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!