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 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 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

Apr 212015
 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                        Contact: Lisa Pierce, (334) 501-4276 or cycle@arm-al.org

 

3 Days, 3 States, 300 Miles-Cyclists Cross Alabama to Raise Funds for Poverty Housing Alleviation

 

OPELIKA – Tuesday,  April 21, 2015 –

Just 3 days away! From Friday, April 24-April 26th, 8 cyclists will be crossing Alabama to raise awareness about the housing needs in some of the poorest areas of our country, while raising money for home repairs in Lee, Macon and Sumter counties. Their ride will cover 100 miles a day for three days and is a triple century challenge.

 

The Sixth Annual Cycle of Service benefits Alabama Rural Ministry (ARM), a home-repair ministry based in Opelika. Most of the households ARM serves are led by the elderly, disabled or single parents who live on limited or fixed incomes, said Lisa Pierce, ARM’s executive director. ARM also hosts two free summer day camps for underserved children in Livingston and Tuskegee.

 

This year’s goal is to raise $25,000, which will be applied to the cost of purchasing the construction materials the organization uses in repairing homes for up to 10 families, Pierce said. We are also renovating a community outreach center in Tuskegee, Alabama. Riders are currently gaining sponsors and it is not too late to register  to ride at www.active.com or our website.

 

Donors can contribute to the cause now and throughout the three-day event by credit card at http://cycleofservice.arm-al.org

 

Bikers participating in the Cycle of Service will ride for five to eight hours a day. Profiles of the riders can be found at http://cycleofservice.arm-al.org   The ride begins at 7:30 a.m. Friday at Auburn United Methodist Church and will end Sunday afternoon near Livingston, Alabama.

 

Some riders will participate all three days, while others will join various legs of the ride.

Friday April 24- Day 1: Auburn to Georgia State Line to Tuskegee

Saturday April 25-Day 2: Tuskegee to Selma via HW 14

Sunday April 26-Day 3: Selma to the AL/MS state line via HW 80 (will end north of Livingston, AL)

 

For more information about the ride event, go to http://cycleofservice.arm-al.org  or www.facebook.com/Bikebama

A community service work day in Tuskegee will be held from 8:30 a.m.  to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 25th at Tuskegee Methodist Church 202 S. Main Street Tuskegee, AL. Volunteers will be continuing our efforts to renovate a church being repurposed into a Community Outreach Center.

For more information, contact Lisa Pierce, lisa@arm-al.org or (334) 332-8878 (cell).

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

Jun 152011
 

The ride is just over 1 week away! We have 9 riders going across the heart of Alabama. Despite record high temperatures and miserable conditions, we are going to pedal our way through the Black Belt of Alabama.

Who are our riders? Keith Foster, Kevin Voyles, Mark Young, Tara Lontz, Ginger Purvis, Chase Crowson, Scott Middleton, and Lisa Pierce. Lisa, Tara, Mark, and Ginger will do the Black Belt Challenge from Livingston to Tuskegee while the rest will go from State line to State line! What an incredible challenge and witness. The state line tour will include a Century ride of 103 miles the very first day! It’s going to be intense.

In a few days, we will announce those participating in the Tour for Tornadoes. This leg of the journey is designed to help tornado victims and all proceeds for this will go to rebuilding homes in West Alabama. The ride is rich with purpose and meaning!

Please pray for this group and help them with their challenge!

Tomorrow our first set of work teams begins working in Tuskegee with Mrs. Long. She lives by herself in a home her grandfather built. The roof started to leak and over time, all the sheetrock has fallen down. With no insulation, and no sheetrock, not only does the rain come in but all the other weather causing extreme cold in the winter and now extreme heat as the temperatures soar. Ms. Long has asked for work and enjoys sitting with the elderly and helping as much as she can. Our teams in Livingston have been serving families there and working with families who lost much of their homes in the recent storms.

Please pray for us and send messages to their Facebook pages as they travel across!

Blessings!

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