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We are delighted to welcome Tammie Sawyer, MSN/CRNP to M-POWER and the Health Center. She will be filling the role of Evening Clinic Coordinator. In this role, Tammie will coordinate all evening clinic activities and is responsible for assisting with volunteer coordination, patient referrals, care plan feasibility, injections and in-office medical treatments. If you are a clinic volunteer, Tammie is your contact person for any issues that may arise during evening clinic hours.

Tammie comes to us with many years of experience as a Family Nurse Practitioner, and, as a Birmingham native has many ties to our community. She attends South Park Seventh Day Adventist Church and is excited to join our team as we work together to accomplish our mission: to help people develop the tools to break the cycle of poverty.

Tammie will begin her work with us this week, so if you’re in the building please be sure to stop by and greet her!

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Sometimes life just hurts.

Suffering is a part of the human experience; a part we don’t enjoy or understand. Pain and death are inescapable for all.

Many of us fall into a trap when confronted with suffering. We ask, “why?” instead of “what now?”

When life hurts, we can take comfort that Jesus shared in our pain. He left His place in paradise to become for us the sacrificial lamb that would redeem us from brokenness – forever. We can also remember that we can be Christ’s comfort to those who suffer alongside us.

Poverty, like suffering, is universal. Since the fall of mankind, we have all been struggling toward wholeness. We are broken vessels, but we’re broken together. What joy there is to share custom essays online in the sufferings of one another! What abundant grace is there in relationships that enter into each other’s pain!

At M-POWER, our students, patients, and volunteers are a part of a community of encouragement that suffers alongside one another. In classrooms, hallways and exam rooms, we seek to be a place that gives hope and strength to the weary.

We are all broken, yes. But we are not alone.

For M-POWER, the race marked out for us this past month included two-weeks without air conditioning, a GED program starting up amidst the heat, and a brief day with no power. And while our race wasn’t marked out by miles and didn’t result in shin splints, it certainly induced some sweat.

We have a hard job at M-POWER.

For one, our mission is difficult. Generational poverty is not something that can be “solved” in a short time frame. Moreover, if someone has never experienced life trapped in poverty, there is no frame of reference for the struggles many of our clients face on a daily basis. Thus, communication about this cause is difficult.

We rely on the generosity of people who “get it” to fund our work. That means this year we’re raising one million dollars to operate the programs that make advancement of our mission possible. We are dependent upon people giving sacrificially.

Order your shirt with a $15 suggested donation benefiting M-POWER Ministries.

Help M-POWER Ministries spread the word that poverty is not just about money.

In fact, no one resource will help someone get out of poverty. Poverty includes a lack of sufficient financial resources, but it is so much more. Poverty is the opposite of wholeness.

Wholeness requires resources like education, physical and mental health, emotional health, finances, a support system, healthy relationships, role models and more.

We define poverty as significant deficits in three or more of these vital resources. When these deficits last into a second generation, we call this generational poverty. Generational poverty creates a poverty culture.

M-POWER Ministries provides opportunities for people to break the cycle of poverty through education and health services.

When you wear an M-POWER “What is Poverty?” t-shirt you are helping us share the truth about the obstacles that affect those we serve.

At M-POWER we depend on volunteers. Volunteers teach people to read, provide healthcare, tend to our garden and do so much more. And we are grateful. So much so that we even have an annual volunteer award and volunteer celebration, and we’re always talking about ways we can improve our volunteer program.

And yet, I am beginning to ask a rather disturbing question: is volunteering biblical?

“I didn’t know what I didn’t know.”

We hear this phrase frequently in the halls of M-POWER. At times it’s uttered by clients; but more often than not, it’s voiced by staff members or volunteers.

The unknown is a vulnerable place. To think you have the answers, only to be rocked to your core with what you “didn’t know you didn’t know” is something else. It’s an education in humility.

When I first began my tenure at M-POWER I was to be here only a short while. The Board of Directors hired me as the interim with the responsibility of keeping the seat warm, signing checks, and making sure the organization didn’t fall apart before they found a permanent Executive Director. More than ten years later I’m still here and still learning new things I didn’t know I didn’t know.

For starters, I had no idea how unique M-POWER’s program offerings were to the Birmingham community. When I came to M-POWER in 2004, the M-POWER Health Center was and remains the only completely free health clinic in Jefferson County. It took me six months to realize there truly were no other options for those without health insurance or adequate health coverage.

I also had no idea how huge the problem of illiteracy was in our community. The statistic from ten years ago still remains. An estimated 13% of adults read below a 5th grade level. That’s 90,000 of our neighbors who struggle with filling out job applications, reading work orders, helping children with homework, and reading the Bible on their own.

Beyond M-POWER’s programs, I didn’t really know what it meant to live in poverty. As a seminary student and someone interested in ethics, I had read countless books on the subject, to be sure. But books can make it easy to create a faceless cause, and at M-POWER, the faces and stories of our clients made the problem of poverty real. When you meet a woman who must choose to say with an abusive man or take her and her children to the streets it’s difficult to remain apathetic.

Ten years later I’m still receiving an education. I know that I don’t have a magic solution to end poverty for my neighbors, but God keeps using me, M-POWER, and our partners to help people develop the tools they need to have enough. Because ultimately that’s what God desires for his people: wholeness, health, enough.

I am thankful that Christ calls all of us to work to make that possible for our neighbors. May the spirit of humility be always present within us as the Lord works to teach us more of what we do not know.

Christ’s Peace,

Ryan Sig

Executive Director