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2021 was quite a year for Love Your Neighbor, a ministry that’s close to our heart as a church – one that a lot of you have been involved in at some point in various ways. In this Spotlight, Luke shares some really exciting things that happened in 2021, and takes us back to where it all began…
It’s hard to believe that 2021 is over and 2022 is here.
For Love Your Neighbor, a lot of really big things happened in 2021 – from building a playground and ropes course in Lebanon, to partnering with the Remnant Generation in Uganda, delivering 192 beds in just one year, hosting a build day for the UK Royal Air Force, to launching woodworking and mentorship classes with Pikes Peak Academy High School and Hope and Home…
All of these opportunities were a result of the ways you have stepped up and said YES when you have heard God leading you to love others.
A month ago, we delivered beds number 600 and 601! The beds went to two sweet little girls now living with their grandparents as their mom and dad are working to get stable jobs and rid their lives of substance abuse.
This delivery was like many others – the kids were so excited to have a new bed! It reminded me of the first time we delivered beds and where our idea for building bunk beds came from…
Back in 2018, my wife answered a CarePortal request for a couple of bunk beds for four little girls who were being placed with their aunt and uncle. We decided to buy a few bunk beds and bedding sets from Walmart. I asked a few people from the Love Your Neighbor team if they would be willing to help out that night, and they all jumped at the chance to help.
It took us a few hours to assemble the two bunk beds. And, the whole time we were working, the little girls were right there watching us – it was clear they were excited. Have you ever put together a bunk bed from Walmart? Were you able to do so without saying a “bad word”? If so, I am impressed. Those beds don’t go together very easily and the parts never seem to fit quite right.
Finally, after what seemed like a very long time, we got the beds put together. The girls had been busy deciding who got to sleep where and what bedding set they liked best. They were eager to tell us where to put each bedding set. As soon as the beds were made, the girls were in them – big smiles and excited voices filled the room.
I vividly remember the little blonde girl laying down, getting under the covers and saying, “Okay, I’m ready to go to sleep in my new bed.” This was in a room full of 5 strangers and the light shining bright. It was at that moment, that we were hooked. Their smiles and excitement grabbed all of our hearts.
We all left that night knowing we wanted to help provide beds for more kids. We had no idea what that entailed, but we knew God was leading us in that direction.
So, rather than buy more beds from Walmart, I drew up some basic bunk bed plans. I wanted them to be simple and easy to assemble. I’ve always loved woodworking and now it was clear that God wanted me to use that specific gift to bless others.
We originally started having build days in my garage. We would spend weekends (weather permitting) in my garage and driveway building bed parts. My neighbors would always stop by and ask what we were doing since my front yard often looked like a lumber yard. There would even be weekdays where some Pulpit Rock staff would come over and help me sand and stain bunk bed pieces. I can’t even begin to count how many times we blew breakers because we had too many saws and sanders running! The support from all of you in this project was overwhelming. At one point, there were nearly 40 people at my house staining beds on a Saturday.
The build days quickly outgrew my garage and we started having some build days in Brian Worster’s garage as well. We had no idea that the need for beds was so great. It was clear to us that God wanted us to continue building beds, but our garages were struggling to keep up with the demand.
Then, something amazing happened. I was connected with someone who was storing woodworking tools from his late brother’s woodworking business (find more of the story here). He heard about what we were doing and wanted to donate the tools! So, now we had the tools for a bigger woodshop, but not the space.
And, almost as if God has a plan for everything, a 2700 sq ft room became available at Pulpit Rock Church soon after we got the tools. So, for the past 2 years, we have had Humblewood Workshop – the place where the Love Your Neighbor team builds beds. Having Humblewood Workshop at Pulpit Rock allows us to have regular build days without worrying about the weather or blowing breakers in my garage!
Humblewood also allows mentorship woodworking classes with Pikes Peak Academy High School and Hope & Home Foster Agency with more agencies to have classes in the future. We get to have classes for CASA teens and kids at Pulpit Rock camps. It is a huge blessing, and not a day goes by that we are not grateful to be where we are.
None of this would be possible without all of you that have listened to the tug on your heart to serve with the Love Your Neighbor team. You have all served in so many ways – prayers, monetary support, bedding donations and giving your time to get covered in sawdust to make sure kids have a place to sleep.
I truly wish we would never build another bed – I wish every kid had a place to sleep at night. Unfortunately, that isn’t realistic. So, until every kid has a place to sleep, we will keep building beds. We will keep writing our small part of the bigger story God is writing for these kids. We will do all we can to help remind them that they are seen, known and loved!
In other exciting news… The Love Your Neighbor ministry was recently presented with a $5,000 grant from the El Pomar Foundation through their Karl E. Eitel Fund which focuses on funding organizations that serve at-risk youth.
We are so grateful to receive this grant. It will be used to fund bed lumber and mattresses. While we don’t do anything to receive praise or to get noticed, it is nice to know that an organization as large and well-known in El Paso County as the El Pomar Foundation is backing what we are doing.
Thank you to all of you! Love Your Neighbor wouldn’t be where it is today without all of you – your prayers, support and time volunteering are what has kept this ministry going.
All the ways you support Love Your Neighbor help us make sure kids feel seen, known and loved.