Fuller Center General

Month in review: September 2014

By Chris Johnson,
Director of Communications

In the past few months, the Ebola crisis has gotten more and more attention — and rightfully so. It's tragic to see the toll it has taken on thousands of families in West Africa and terrifying to think of the “what ifs.” What if we can't stop it? What if we can't contain it? What if it mutates and becomes more than we can handle?

When I think of the “what ifs,” here's one you may not have thought about: What if the Ebola outbreak had begun in a Haitian tent city with families crammed together in unsanitary conditions, more than four years after the devastating earthquake there? I believe it would have be even more devastating and would spread even faster.

Here's another “what if”: What if we stopped such outbreaks before they started? One critical element in that equation is decent, healthy housing. That's why we remain committed to helping our covenant partner in Sierra Leone, in the heart of the outbreak, as they strive to provide decent homes for families and move them away from the unhealthy slums of crowded cities like Freetown. If you would like to contribute to that cause, click here.

Housing is a key component to having healthy families and healthy communities. Studies have clearly shown that children who grow up in a decent home are healthier, happier and do better in school. That's why we're thrilled with each Fuller Center home built or repaired. And we're even more thrilled to see entire communities of Fuller Center homes.

And that's what we're seeing in Haiti, where an entire healthy community of decent homes will be completed during a Global Builders work trip Oct. 19-26 of this month. Haiti is a nation desperately in need of the kind of help The Fuller Center provides — help that empowers instead of creating a culture of dependency. This community sets the standard by which all nonprofits should operate. President David Snell will join volunteers on site for this momentous occasion and will share his thoughts from the experience with you. Click here to meet some of the dedicated volunteers who've helped make this possible and who will be revisiting Haiti this month to help us complete the place we call Lambi. They are some pretty impressive, service-minded folks!

Now, let's catch you up on some of the Fuller Center news you may have missed in September. (Like us on Facebook to make sure you never miss any news.) Click the links for each story:

Back in the 'valley'

By Aaron Carmichael,
Chief Development Officer

Well the injury bug has struck again.  Perhaps it’s my age.  Perhaps I’m pushing myself too hard.  Perhaps I’m pushing myself too hard for my age.  But whatever the cause, here I sit with a twisted back and bruised ego.  This time I need the attention of a trained medical professional.  Seriously, should I be able to stare straight down at the heels of my feet?  I don’t feel like I’m the king of the road right now, I kind of feel like I AM the road. 

A time for renewal

By Aaron Carmichael,
Chief Development Officer

I believe spring has finally sprung here in Indiana.  This past week I have been able to take my workout, at least part of it, outside.  We’ve had some amazingly gorgeous weather and I just couldn’t wait to get outside and enjoy it with a few evening jogs. 

But getting off the dreadmill, I mean treadmill, and hitting the pavement isn’t without its perils.  There are a few things you don’t have to worry about at the gym ... like traffic.  Do you remember the old Atari video game Frogger?  Imagine the little frog jumping through traffic with running shoes on ... that’s me.  And of course there are unfenced dogs in my community lining every block waiting for an expectant jogger to come by.  My first outside jog was a good 4 minutes faster than my treadmill time.  It’s funny how fast you can be when you’re running for your life.

"Intervals" a dirty word that works

By Aaron Carmichael,
Chief Development Officer

I’ve heard that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results.   Have you ever found yourself in this cycle?  We are creatures of habit and creatures who seek comfort.  Both lend themselves to a path of routine. 

My exercise routine had become just that, a routine.  Lately, I haven’t been getting the results I had hoped for.  I’ve been working really hard but the weight isn’t coming off.  After talking to a few experts in exercise, I decided it was time to change up the routine.  I’ve had good results but it was time to move on to something a little different, something a little outside my comfort zone….something exhausting.  I can’t expect the same results I received early on by doing the same thing over and over.

INTERVALS ... it’s a dirty word to me.  But it is working.  After dropping 4 pounds in three days, I think I’ve escaped exercise insanity, at least until my body adjusts and I’ll have to shock it with a new routine.  But I’ll be watching out for that.

Combination punches

By Aaron Carmichael,
Chief Development Officer

When injury and illness call, you better answer.  I was blessed to have them both conference call me at the same time.  Injury called in first shortly behind illness.  My back had been sore and tired for a couple weeks but I kept pushing, taking no rest days except Sunday.

Going medieval

By Aaron Carmichael,
Chief Development Officer

Medieval times certainly had their torture devices, but the 21st century isn't to be outdone.  I present to you the spinner.  Sure, it looks somewhat harmless but so did the rack.  But upon closer examination, the spinner reveals a very dark, dark secret.  One hour on the spinner, and the object of its torture is begging to be released.

Training is a blessing

By Aaron Carmichael,
Chief Development Officer

I know I’ve talked a lot about how difficult getting ready for the Bike Adventure has been, and in many ways, it has been difficult. But I can’t stress enough the blessing it has been and the change I have seen in me, both physically and spiritually. Now you might look at me today and think to yourself; “You know, Aaron doesn’t really look much different. When is this weight gonna start falling off of him?

Believe me, I keep asking myself that question every day. But it isn’t just about the weight, it can’t be. I’m of that certain age (yes, mid-40s) where it is VERY difficult to lose that belly fat. It doesn’t fall off like it did 10 years ago. But I’ve noticed something when I’m doing my workouts … they’re getting less painful.

For example, last night, I did an hour and twenty minutes of cardio; 40 minutes on the dreadmill, I mean treadmill; 20 minutes on the bike and 20 minutes on the stairclimber. I then did weights and crunches. And here’s the miracle. THEY DIDN’T CARRY ME OUT ON A STRETCHER. ... I may not ever see my abs again but running 5 miles doesn’t scare me I’m starting to believe I’ll be able to ride a bike 80 miles a day.

Getting in shape is no piece of cake

By Aaron Carmichael,
Chief Development Officer

Preparing for the Bike Adventure is really threefold for me — cardio at least 5 times a week, weights at least 3 times a week and eating healthier.

Cardio is my favorite.  I love the dreadmill … I mean treadmill.  I think my mind reverts back to my cross-country running days and muscle memory kicks in.  Honestly, 40 minutes of cardio and I feel great.  Weights don’t bother me either … well, not too much.  I’ve done weights most of my life and I love the immediate impact.  I can already see a difference from a regular weightlifting routine.

But take away my carbs, and I’m a VERY unhappy cyclist.  From my coffee creamer (hazelnut by Coffeemate is my fav) to toast with my eggs and even fresh fruit, I LOVE MY CARBS.  But they are hindering my weight loss and keeping that annoying belly fat right where it’s been for the past several years … on my belly.  I know, I know, we need carbs — healthy carbs, that is — but when you’re trying to drop about 40 pounds and most of it is in your belly, carbs are the enemy.

This plank isn't for walking ... aargh!

By Aaron Carmichael,
Chief Development Officer

Dear inventor of the Plank: WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?

Did mankind hurt you in some horrible way?  Is it your life mission to destroy humanity?  I remember the instructor saying something along the lines “ok, now it’s time to plank.”  My first thought was, cool, pirates!  Walking the plank doesn’t sound so bad ... I mean, they can’t actually hurt us in here, can they?


Let me be the first to warn you: If you’ve never planked before (if that’s even a term), your instructor is a sadist and you’ll never stand up straight again.

Adventure is shaping up

By Aaron Carmichael,
Chief Development Officer

Do you want to help change the world? Most of us want to be a positive force in this world. We are passionate about our causes; we spend our free time doing the things that make us feel alive.

After I bike 297 miles in one week of this summer's Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure, hopefully I'll still feel alive! I'll definitely be changing the world.

I want you to be a part of this journey — without all the aches and pains it's going to take for this old boy to tackle a new challenge. I'll explain how you can do that, but first let me explain why I'm going to whip myself into shape — as opposed to a shape — before summer comes.

My faith is my motivator. Philippians 3:13, 14, "Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

What does this passage mean to you? I used to only look at scripture through the prism of my own selfish salvation. What this passage said to me was I need to get to heaven and not let anything cause me to stumble along the way. But that is not entirely what this passage is saying.