Monthly Archives: September 2009

Faith Without Action

14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? James 2:14

I’ve been thinking about the Sunday sermon today. Pastor Phil talked about putting our faith into action by using a strategic plan. He said that many times Christians will see an injustice in the world and spend a year praying for God to fix it, not realizing that maybe God put them there to do something about it.

To be honest, this has never been my problem. I’ve always wanted to save the world and I’ve been trying to for as long as I can remember. I collected pennies and nickels from my classmates after lunch to buy up some Guatemalan rain forest and help stop the ozone layer from disappearing. I harvested pumpkins in my backyard to raise money for Christmas gifts for needy kids. I sent dozens of letters to celebrities asking for autographs so I could sell them and raise money for leukemia research.  I never thought much about this tendency towards action until lately.

My pastor has been talking about how so many Christians fail to turn their faith into action. They live their lives, filled with car pool, yoga class and grocery shopping, rarely taking the time to put their faith into action. They start their days with pumpkin spice lattes and end them snuggled up in bed with a Max Lucado book, all the while forgetting that that is not why they’re here. That’s not why I’m here.

So because my pastor says until you write something down it really doesn’t truly exist, that’s what I’m doing. The Lord has significantly put two things on my heart over the past few years. I see the importance of both helping in my own community and also helping those suffering around the world. Here are two things the Lord has broken my heart for.

Local- Homeless Population: Let me first start with the burden I have for my community. While working as a reporter I did several stories on homeless people. I was inspired to help one initiative in particular  called Reedy Place. It gives about a dozen chronically homeless people a place to live. They are given an apartment and they can stay there as long as they want, provided they stay drug and alcohol free and get jobs. Some friends and I have “adopted” these men and women for the past three years to give them Christmas gifts. My hope is that it is an encouragement to them to stay clean and make a difference. But since Christmas only comes around once a year I wanted to do  more. I decided to use my new passion for couponing to collect items for Miracle Hill Ministries.

Over the past five months I’ve donated $434.12 worth of stuff like toothbrushes, shampoo, and food for Miracle Hill to hand out in their homeless shelters. The cool thing is I’ve only spent $23.94 on those items. To continue this ministry the Lord has prompted me to offer a free coupon class in my community to try to urge others to use this simple task as a way to reach out to those in need. The goal with the class would be to inspire others to donate their good deals and freebies to ministries like Miracle Hill. Who knew that couponing could actually be a ministry? I certainly didn’t! But as you can see with the amount of food and products I’ve been able to donate, even getting just a few other people inspired to do the same would make a big difference!

Global- Water Missions: While homelessness is a terrible problem, I believe every American has access to assistance that people in third world countries can’t even imagine. Millions of people live without access to clean water, which causes health problems and high death rates, especially among children. I first felt a burden for water missions when Steve and Jennifer Lorch, founders of Hydromissions, visited the church I was attending several years ago. They shared their story and showed how they were able to bring clean water to remote parts of the world using simple mechanisms often made out of bicycle parts and common hardware. For months Hydromissions would come into my mind, a repeated nudge from the Lord I believe. I wanted so badly to do something to help them. I told my husband and we devised a plan called 2 Wheels 4 Water. We drove 2 Vespas nearly 1200 miles across North and South Carolina to raise money for Hydromissions. The amount we raised, roughly $3300, is enough to fund eight deep wells in India. That was last summer and even now our trip is still getting publicity when just last week the official Vespa Facebook page posted photos of our trip.

People involved in water missions continue to cross my path. Just today I read about a Carolina organization that was recently putting in a well in Peru and when I heard about the work they were doing I cried. My heart is so broken for this mission and I want to be a part of the solution. Although I’m not exactly sure how I will be used I have a couple of ideas I’ve been thinking about and praying about. While I don’t know if this classifies as a strategic plan, it’s definitely a place I will be putting my faith into action and you can be sure I won’t spend a year sitting around waiting for God to do something because I believe that’s exactly why he put me here.

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Two Lovely Years of Marriage

Celebrating Year Two!

Celebrating Year Two!

It’s been a couple of weeks now, but it’s an important milestone that deserves recognition. On September 2nd my husband and I celebrated two lovely years of marriage. The following weekend we drove to Charleston for a little adventure, a little romance and a little relaxation. We stayed in a beautiful, white-washed studio apartment above an art gallery in the heart of historic Charleston. The place came with two beach cruiser bicycles that carried us all over town. We hit the beach, drank lots of coffee and ate wonderful food. And we reminisced on the highlights of this fabulous year:

Melly and Al’s Iowa Wedding

Working on Our First House

Stephanie’s Visit From Seattle

Picking Apples in the Mountains

Ross and Rebecca’s Wedding

Alanna and JJ’s Wedding in Charleston

Thanksgiving in Vegas & Celebrating My Dad’s 60th, Going to Beatles Love

Christmas in Florida

Seeing Garrison Keillor at the Peace Center

Tim’s Birthday in Florida & Going to Universal Studios, Trace Adkins Concert

Sodding Our Yard Ourselves

Surprising Tim with a Trip to Ireland

Not Getting Seats on Our Flight to Ireland

Going to Ireland the Following Week

A Double Surprise Birthday Party

Visiting Washington DC

Spending Almost a Week in NYC, Pretending We Lived on the Upper West Side

Going to Cirque du Soleil

Throwing Jenna’s Baby Shower

Driving to Denver for ICRS

Driving to Iowa for Tonya & Ryan’s Wedding, Enjoying the Lake

Tubing in North Carolina

Cheering on George Hincapie at the Cycling Pro Championships

Celebrating our Anniversary in Charleston!

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Vespa Features Our 2 Wheels 4 Water Ride

North Carolina borderLast summer my husband and I took two Vespa scooters on a 1200 mile tour around North and South Carolina. I told Vespa about the trip and this week they featured our charity ride on their Facebook page for more than 33,000 fans to see. Over 100 people said they liked the story and 19 people left comments– although most of them are in other languages so I have no idea what people are saying. I’m excited for this opportunity to spread the word about Hydromissions to even more people. So thank you Vespa for featuring our story and sharing photos with your fans!

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I’m Just Not Meant to Meet Jason Mraz

Jason Mraz is one of my favorite musicians. I love his laid back style, his soulful lyrics, his white boy raps. That’s why when I first started organizing the Greenville Twestival I went out on a limb. I sent his people an email:

Call it a coincidence, call it divine intervention, but Jason is performing in Charlotte on September 10 because a major storm forced him to reschedule a July concert date. Charlotte is just a short 90 minute drive from Greenville so we were hoping and praying that maybe, just maybe Jason could carve out some time in his schedule to join us for a charity concert.

Two days later I got this response:

Hi Alison,
Thank you for the inquiry.

As you may be aware, we receive many requests such as this. Unfortunately under the circumstances we can only dedicate our time to a certain few each year and have to say “no” to the others. We hope you understand.

Best of luck with your Charity Event!

I wasn’t that surprised, but you never know until you ask. I asked. He said no. I told my husband about my long shot request and the negative outcome. Life went on and so did Twestival planning. The event came together with a hot Greenville restaurant, The Lazy Goat, agreeing to serve as our venue.

“They said we can use the restaurant either Thursday September 10 from 5:30 to 7:30 or Saturday the 12 from 4 to 6,” I excitedly told my husband. We both decided Thursday would be best.

Ten hours later while brushing his teeth reality hit my husband like a camera flash in a pitch black room.

“Baby, what day is the Twestival?” he asked with panic.

“Thursday September 10,” I told him.

He froze.

“What?” I prodded.

“I didn’t want to tell you until our anniversary but I bought you tickets to the Jason Mraz concert that night. After you told me he was going to be in Charlotte I thought you’d love to go,” he said.

I would have loved to go. But word of the Twestival had already gone out. Plans were set and there was no way I could miss it. I was crushed. So was my husband. His big surprise was ruined. And my gift was snatched away before I even got to be happy about receiving it. After about ten minutes of mutual pouting we found a way to laugh it off. Surely there will be other Jason Mraz concerts in our area and even though I won’t get to enjoy his soulful lyrics and white boy raps this time around, I’ll be  having a great time at the Twestival.

Anybody want to buy our tickets to the Jason Mraz concert?

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