54 minutes | Nov 17, 2022
A Conversation With my Friend, Tim: Where Are We Going, Jesus?
We are wrapping up this season of the Gospel Con Carne podcast with a powerful conversation with Tim Hawks, Lead Pastor of Hill Country Bible Church. A man of great faith who has been sharing the story of the Gospel in Austin for the past three decades, you'll hear a common theme behind Tim's vision that has connected his congregation to the work we do at Mobile Loaves & Fishes in serving our most vulnerable neighbors. Tune in as Tim discusses the benefits of stepping out of the comfort zone that our culture has created—one that leads to isolation and a sense of busyness—and into a life of adventure that God has wired us to thrive in: community.
51 minutes | Oct 19, 2022
Consider Saying Yes, with My Neighbor Paul
We often say at Mobile Loaves & Fishes that our missional community is the secret sauce of Community First! Village. Alan’s guest on the podcast this week, Paul Gautier, and his wife Carol have devoted their lives to serving our neighbors every day by living in the Village as Missionals. Paul and Alan met back in 2002 on an MLF truck run and now, 20 years later, continue to serve Austin’s most vulnerable neighbors together. Paul shares an experience that he says was the biggest step in his faith journey and how he has learned the easiest way to live out the acts of the apostles—being in relationship with others.
43 minutes | Sep 28, 2022
A Place of Healing, with My Neighbor Shea
Many of the neighbors living in Community First! Village experience mental health problems—some easier to identify than others. Alan's guest on this episode of the Gospel Con Carne, Shea, is on the autism spectrum and remained undiagnosed until later in her adult years. It took becoming homeless for Shea to seek mental health assistance, discovering that her difficulty in social settings, which caused her to become socially isolated and depressed, was deeper than she thought. Now, living in Community First! Village for more than three years, Shea finds dignity and healing through her work on our Genesis Gardens team. Tune in as Shea shares her story of living isolated on the streets of Austin to now living in a community where she is known and loved.
37 minutes | Sep 7, 2022
Catching Up with The Mayor of Community First! Village
For two years, no one in Community First! Village knew or saw much of our neighbor Blair due to a health condition that left him believing he needed to stay in his home. Now, after living in the Village for more than four years, going a day without seeing him out and about in the community is quite unusual. As the unofficial "mayor" of Community First! Village, Blair finds purpose encouraging his neighbors to start a new beginning in the Village—a place where they will be fully and wholly known and fully and wholly loved by their community, all judgement aside. Today, after facing his fear of coming outside his home, Blair exudes a palpable excitement for life while fulfilling what he believes is God's purpose for him of being a good friend and neighbor to everyone he encounters.
40 minutes | Jun 8, 2022
Rediscovering a Divine Gift, with My Friend Jason
When you would lie in bed at night as a child and dream about what you wanted to be when you grew up, like Alan's guest Jason, maybe you dreamed of being a rockstar or an artist. One thing Jason never dreamed about was being homeless. At one point in his journey, however, that became his reality. After living through the storms of life on the streets and then laying down roots in Community First! Village almost a year ago, Jason now expresses elements from his personal experiences through the incredible detail of his art—reigniting and living out the dreams of his youth.
45 minutes | May 18, 2022
Memories of Mom, with My Brother Harrell Graham
If you've listened to the Gospel Con Carne podcast long enough, you know that relationships and the importance of community are recurring themes. This week's episode is a little more personal in nature, as host Alan Graham is joined by his older brother, Harrell, for a conversation down memory lane. The Graham siblings reflect on growing up in a time when community seemed to have a different meaning, and talk about the relational challenges of being raised in a household that was stricken with mental illness. Harrell and Alan also share the many ways Community First! Village is focused on building community in a generation that seems to be missing it, and find themselves in agreement on an important piece to the community puzzle—knowing your neighbors.
44 minutes | Apr 27, 2022
Common Threads, with My Friend Leah
It takes a Village, along with a loving community, to lift up our neighbors who are living on the streets and bring them home to Community First! Village. Alan's guest this week on the Gospel Con Carne podcast is no stranger to navigating this multifaceted process. Leah Hargrave is the founder of The Charlie Center, a homeless hospitality and navigation center in Austin, and has moved more than 30 men and women to Community First! Village through her relentless focus on connecting with and serving our friends who are experiencing homelessness. Through her years of homeless ministry, Leah has realized how her own life experiences help her relate to our most vulnerable neighbors and better understand the deep need we all have for community.
42 minutes | Apr 6, 2022
It's Good to be Home, with My Neighbor Helen
We're back with season five of the Gospel Con Carne podcast! So many new faces are being welcomed home to Community First! Village, and we're excited to be able to share more of our neighbors' stories with you. This week, Alan is joined by his neighbor Helen, who takes us on a deep dive into her career as a nurse in the UK and her journey over to the United States. Helen stumbled into a long season of burnout and addiction, which ultimately led to recovery and a new-found sense of purpose through her work as an artist in Community First! Village.
45 minutes | Nov 17, 2021
Gettin' Stuff Done, with Walter Moreau
On the season finale of the Gospel Con Carne podcast, Alan is joined by the Executive Director of Foundation Communities, Walter Moreau. Like Alan, Walter is a "do-er." Foundation Communities currently has more than 20 affordable housing communities which serve about 7,000 families and single adults throughout Austin and North Texas. The organization also provides education opportunities and other support services to help empower its residents to achieve educational success, financial stability and healthier lifestyles. Listen in as Walter and Alan discuss the value that comes with getting to know our neighbors, as well as the future collaboration planned between Community First! Village and Foundation Communities to lift more of our homeless friends up off the streets.
37 minutes | Nov 3, 2021
Let's Be Honest, with My Friend Phil
As a prankster with a contagious laugh heard throughout Community First! Village, joking around has always been a defense mechanism for this week's Gospel Con Carne guest, Phil, as he has faced challenges throughout his life. While Community First! Village is a place where our formerly homeless neighbors can engage on a journey of restored hope and dignity, healing from years of trauma and addiction takes time. Listen in as Phil opens up about his ongoing challenge of trying to move away from a lifestyle he has known for so many years, to one based on his desire to be clean and have restored relationships with his now-grown kids. Phil also shares what he has learned about the value of being honest with yourself and not being afraid to reach out and tell someone when you're struggling.
36 minutes | Oct 19, 2021
Appreciating The Person Across from Us, with Noble Doss
This week at Mobile Loaves & Fishes is all about celebrating our volunteers, and the Gospel Con Carne podcast is no different! Alan's guest, Noble Doss, has been volunteering with MLF for more than three years in our Community Market. Our Community First! Village neighbors visit the on-site market daily for basic necessities, and also treat it as a gathering spot with other neighbors and visitors. Noble brings camaraderie to the market, building deep connections with the men and women he sees on a regular basis. He's even been known to show up in costumes for special occasions! Hear Noble's journey as a doctor, and lessons he has learned in his work about the commonality we share as human beings. We are so grateful for volunteers like Noble who bring care and compassion to their roles as we serve our friends who have experienced homelessness along with our brothers and sisters who are still living on the streets.
34 minutes | Sep 22, 2021
How Did I Get Here, with My Neighbor Brian
After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, our guest on this week's Gospel Con Carne, Brian Bell, recalls traveling back to what was left of his damaged home to gather his belongings and set off on a new path in life. He headed to Austin, Texas with hopes of starting over, but the loss of his job along with a deep depression which halted his motivation left Brian in an unexpected state of homelessness. Countless days and nights of traumatizing experiences led him to wonder - "How did I get here?" Now, after only six months of living in Community First! Village, Brian is an active and engaging neighbor who has worked for our culinary program and also our bed-and-breakfast operation. As he settles into his new community, Brian believes the deep-rooted anger he has previously experienced in life has helped him see and better understand the importance of trying to ease people's suffering through the simple act of kindness.
32 minutes | Sep 1, 2021
A Smile is Contagious, with My Neighbor Letty
At Mobile Loaves & Fishes, we believe that the single greatest cause of homelessness is a profound, catastrophic loss of family. This week’s guest on the Gospel Con Carne podcast, Letty, experienced not the physical loss of her family, but the loss of having no one to love and care for her. Being told from a young age that she wasn’t supposed to be born, and bullied by peers and family her entire life, Letty found herself living on the streets off and on for almost eight years before moving to Community First! Village last September. Despite the many obstacles Letty has faced, she has persevered, and has done so while utilizing what she has found to be a simple yet powerful relational tool—a smile.
45 minutes | Aug 11, 2021
From Broken Systems to Building Trust, with My Friend Christina
Community First! Village is a place where men and women from different walks of life find restoration and healing, and our Missional neighbors play a vital role in this process through intentional relationship building. Christina Hite and her husband, Dustin, have been living in the Village missionally for almost a year. Although they've never personally experienced homelessness, the Hites have a deep understanding and connection to our formerly homeless neighbors who have been a part of several broken systems. After deciding to foster children, the Hites started a family with their now adopted daughters and have shared their hearts for ministry with their girls in many ways. Living in Peoria, Illinois with no intention of moving, a tour of Community First! Village in 2019 changed everything. After a lengthy season of discernment, the Hites moved to Austin with their daughters to live full-time alongside formerly homeless men and women who are healing from the ravages of the streets. Hear their compelling story along with some profound nuggets of wisdom they have learned from their daughters along the way of their unexpected journey together.
38 minutes | Jul 21, 2021
Learning through Suffering, with My Buddy Vernon
As a budding songwriter in Nashville more than 30 years ago, our guest on this week's podcast, Vernon, once felt like he had it all. He wrote songs for Keith Urban and also had several other number one hits on the country music charts. And then, things changed. When friends in the music industry started disappearing and checks started getting smaller, Vernon entered a decades-long downward spiral of heavy drug use and spent years living on the streets. Just when he thought he had hit rock bottom, Vernon met his wife, Helen. The two have both overcome drug addictions and continue to pursue their passions in music and art, respectively, while living together in Community First! Village. Hear their journey of restoring relationships and walking away from drugs together, as they continue to see God show up in their lives.
45 minutes | Jun 30, 2021
Our Brokenness Doesn't Define Us, with My Friend Lori
As a missional neighbor in Community First! Village, this week’s guest on the Gospel Con Carne podcast, Lori Nava, lives and serves alongside our neighbors coming out of chronic homelessness. In this episode, Lori shares her personal experience with the loss of a relationship with her father and the empathy this has given her for the many traumas our formerly homeless neighbors living in the Village have endured. She also shares her experience as a young, single woman living in the Village, and the sense of security she feels living amongst her neighbors. Lori also reminds listeners about the value of community and that, regardless of our backgrounds, we should never let our brokenness define us.
29 minutes | Jun 9, 2021
The Gift of a Second Chance, with My Neighbor Leatha
After thinking she had lost every family member she had ever known and loved, everything changed when this week's guest on the Gospel Con Carne podcast, Leatha, received a Facebook message from a man saying he was her father. For more than a decade, Leatha thought her father was dead, and she had been alone. After living on the streets for almost four years, Leatha's father, Gary, helped her move into Community First! Village where they now both live and earn a dignified income working on the farming team. Learn more about Leatha and her incredible journey—one that involves a second chance to change her life through a connection she thought was gone forever.
45 minutes | May 19, 2021
Finding Purpose through Mental Health Illnesses, with Chris Roubieu
Many of the men and women we serve at Mobile Loaves & Fishes, whether living on the streets or in Community First! Village, suffer from mental health illnesses. This week on the Gospel Con Carne podcast, Alan has a conversation with Chris Roubieu, the program manager at Integral Care who works directly with our formerly homeless neighbors in the Village who struggle with mental health disorders. During this Mental Health Awareness Month, Chris shares his understanding that everybody, regardless of their background or life circumstances, has their own struggles. He also encourages listeners to strive to find a deeper level of empathy for individuals who are mentally ill by trying to see the world through their eyes.
37 minutes | Apr 28, 2021
Hearing God's Call to Find Home, with My Neighbor Sam
On this week’s episode of the Gospel Con Carne podcast, Alan is joined by Community First! Village’s first formerly homeless resident, Sam. In 2005, Mobile Loaves & Fishes lifted Sam up off the streets of Austin and moved him into what was our first RV through our Community First! program -- at the time referred to as 'Habitat on Wheels.' Now, 16 years later, Sam is living in the Village where he is working on several projects connected to his passion for engineering, geology and photography. Hear Sam talk about the adventures he has been on sparked by his interest in God’s creations, including photographing some incredible scenes that have been used in weather reports on the news! Above all, Sam shares the importance of following God’s call to discover the gifts He has given each of us.
48 minutes | Apr 7, 2021
A Shared Brokenness, with Mark Hilbelink
As the current dialogue around homelessness in Austin continues to intensify, Mark Hilbelink, lead pastor of Sunrise Community Church in Austin, joins Alan on this week’s episode of the Gospel Con Carne podcast for a hope-filled conversation around serving our friends who are struggling to survive on the streets. On a daily basis, Sunrise Community Church welcomes and serves many men and women who are experiencing chronic homelessness, and through Sunrise Homeless Navigation Center, provides resources to help support our homeless neighbors. Tune in as Alan and Mark discuss the importance of meeting people where they’re at through the shared experience we all have with brokenness.