Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
July 7, 2013
Rural Ministries deserves our support
had heard about Alabama Rural Ministries but paid little attention to it. Then my
son Steve joined the staff earlier this year as Construction Manager and introduced
me to ARM’s founder and dynamic leader, Lisa Pierce.
Lisa and Steve I soon discovered that this small but growing ministry is making
a real difference for some of our neighbors in rural Alabama. What ARM is doing
is not complicated. The ministry does home repairs for poor people and offers
Day Camps for children. Right now the work is limited to service in three
counties, Lee, Sumter and Macon.
relies heavily on college students who are recruited to serve as summer interns.
The students gain valuable experience repairing homes and offering children the
love of Christ in Day Camps. From what I have seen, ARM deserves our prayers,
support and applause. A financial gift would be a great way to applaud and
encourage this fine ministry.
thought my readers would enjoy reading the following article written by Jan
McDonald and published June 30 in The
West Alabama Watchman:
“At first it seems the two ministries wouldn’t
fit together under one umbrella, but Steve Albritton believes both making
needed home repairs and providing engaging activities for children have a place
in Alabama Rural Ministries.
“Now the former Demopolis resident, who makes
his home in Auburn, is beginning a new chapter in his life, continuing work for
which he has a passion, he has the skills and to which he was led by the Lord.
“Albritton joined ARM in January after running
a successful construction company for 20 years. “My sons think I’m crazy,” he
laughed, but he considers his decision a “great teaching tool” for Jake and
“He made the decision to apply to ARM after
reading the want ad for the position. It could have been written especially for
him, he said. Everything the ad called for, such as construction and mission
experience, he had.
“With the support of his wife of 26 years, the
former Amy Baxley of Demopolis, Albritton left his business and began
coordinating volunteers, checking out potential sites for repair and lining up
support for ARM’s construction ministry.
“Started 15 years ago by its director Lisa
Pierce, ARM strives to get youth and adults to serve others in a meaningful
way. The ministry works in two areas in the state. It hosts year-round programs
for young people and on-going construction projects in Tuskegee and the surrounding
area. In Sumter County it conducts Sonrise Day Camps for children and does
repairs on homes during the summer break.
“ARM has its headquarters in Auburn-Opelika.
Pierce earned her undergraduate degree from Auburn. She received her master’s
degree at the University of West Alabama, and it was while she was a student
there that Pierce began ARM.
“The summer programs allow groups from around
the country to serve with families that need home repairs and provide
activities for children. Albritton said ARM has eight college summer interns
working in Sumter County this year, four with each phase of the ministry, who
serve under a site leader. They are matched with their fields of study, but
Albritton said it is important that each ‘have a ministry heart.’
“It is that same ‘ministry heart’ that drew
Albritton into mission work. When his father, Walter Albritton, was pastor of
the Demopolis First United Methodist Church, he took part in his first mission
trip to Haiti in1980. ‘It was a train wreck,”\’ he said. ‘It was the worst
series of events for a first mission trip.’
“In spite of the horrid trip Albritton
continued going on such mission trips, eventually leading them in countries
around the world. When his father asked him why he
continued to go in spite of his initial experience, Albritton told him, ‘I
guess I thought I could do it better.’
“The question everyone asks him is how ARM
chooses the families to help. Albritton said the ministry gets calls all the
time from churches, social workers and individuals who tell them of the needs
of Sumter and Macon county residents.
‘There is no shortage’ of need, he said. ‘We will never run
“It comes down to using the ‘safe, warm dry’
approach to determining the individuals that will be helped and how the
ministry team will handle the repairs, he continued. Most of the recipients are
elderly, sick and poor. ‘There is nothing they will be able to do to get out of
“He must rely for the most part on volunteers,
whose skills sometimes are limited, and on the funds he has to use. Most of the
ministry’s money comes from small donors who give annually. ARM also applies
for grants, and local churches sometimes support its work. The mission teams that
come to help contribute funds to help pay for the building supplies. ‘The
challenge is figuring out how to do something with limited resources,’ he said.
“Albritton said it can be difficult to find
local volunteers and churches to support ARM in west Alabama because the
ministry only serves the area for two months out of the year. He hopes to grow
the ministry by starting Super Saturday mission projects as well as working out
partnerships with other groups who work in the field. He firmly believes that
local relationships help build the program.”
Contact ARM at P.O. Box 2890, Auburn, AL
36830; telephone 334-501-4276, or www.arm-al.org. + + +