“Agape” means unconditional love.

“Salvation Mountain” in Nilan, CA

Agape Restoration Mgmt Inc (ARMi) was birthed through a time of service in Bombay Beach CA, a mile-square, impoverished community in the California Desert. Seeking to alleviate the obvious burdens of the community, Founder Brotherjohn Spoon, while working with a nonprofit he had served on missions to Mexico with, enlisted his firstborn, Joshua, to assist him with some of the monumental tasks ahead. Packing up their comfortable lives in opulent Orange County CA, they zipped their bags and moved to Bombay Beach.

The first order of business was to bring light to darkness. And so a small motley gathering of believers was born, with prayer and worship as their tools. Working with a borrowed property that, until that time, had been a home to Meth dealers and human trafficking, the crew went about removing the evil by evicting the squatting individuals and renovating the interior. The next order of business was to establish a daily meeting time dedicated to edification of the growing community and time spent learning from the Word. Daily Worship rang out in the stillness of the morning in those days!

Bascilica by the Sea, Bombay Beach CA

As the weeks progressed, neighbors became curious and began to ask questions about this new force that had entered their community. What? Why? And How much? “FREE” was the answer to each. Our mission was to connect this under-served, nearly forgotten hamlet, with the working hands of God. Our good deeds and community service began to take root like the small oak sapling that would one day provide shade and shelter to those in need. We began the practice of community feasts, a twelve step program, as well as financial assistance to individuals in distress. A food pantry was established and our members volunteered regularly to assist other community groups like the town council and the women’s club. As a group we would attend the small Baptist Church and lend our voices to the dwindling congregation. Much was done in those early days of loving abandon.

Concurrently, a growing art scene was developing in BB. An annual festival had been created and was being attended by thousands. The Spoon’s hope was to bring the Truth and Light of God’s goodness into this scene that so often can be dominated by greed and self-aggrandizing egos. Not surprisingly, many lives were touched and friendships built through these efforts.

Art scene in Slab City near Bombay Beach, Photograph: Etienne Laurent

But as it often happens, the enemy found a back route into our movement and our small band was broken up but not broken. Individually, each of the men continued to share his good works with his own neighbors. Joshua returned to college to pursue his accounting degree and his father (the one locals refer to as SPOON) poured himself into his chosen field, carpentry, hiring locals and hoping to serve as source of income and encouragement.

During this sabbatical from an organized group, Brotherjohn dreamt of a service corps that would help those in need. Drawing on his own experience, “Bombay Beautiful” was initiated to go out and do good works for seniors and others on fixed or very low incomes.

In the midst of a Pandemic, this little endeavor took shape. A clearer structure, a leadership board and a fresh mission propelled the Spoons onward to formalize the effort. Agape Restoration Management Inc. formally filed a 501c3 in late 2021. Seeking to build tiny homes for fathers who wished to stay in their childrens’ lives, ARMi sought God’s guidance and protection. God answered Brotherjohn’s prayer by bringing him a wife, a helpmate, and a friend. Mary Ann Carlson, a mathmatics instructor of middle and high school students, now be came an ARMi board member. Her willingness to be involved showed great faith in God and a sweet love for others. Brotherjohn and MaryAnn were married in November 2021 and dove into service together.

We hope you might consider supporting ARMi in our mission.

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