2018 East TN and North TX Spring Fling Updates

This past Saturday, the ministry was privileged to host not one but two Spring Flings. One in East TN at Shady Grove Methodist Church and One in North Texas at Valley Ranch Baptist Church! That’s right twice the ministry and twice the blessings all in one day. :)

It was the fifth time we held a Spring Fling in East TN but the very first one ever in North Texas. However, we had some great servant hearted and seasoned volunteers at both. Each event was attended by about 60 participants and volunteers and while the activities differed along with the locations, God was still present blessing each and everyone there!

We hope you enjoy the smiles in the photos here but feel free to check out more East TN Outpost activity pictures at https://access-life.com/outpost-in-etn or more North Texas Outpost activity pictures at https://access-life.com/outpost-in-ntx.

If interested is starting a ministry Outpost in your area and hosting an activity or two please let us know and we will do all we can to help make things happen on our end. :)

Pray, Pray, Pray to Brighten Your Day

You know, prayer is one of the most under utilized resources we as Christians have here on earth. It is not only the way we communicate and fellowship with God but it is how we engage Him in bringing more of Heaven to earth each day through our prayers of petition.

Prayer fills us with the peace, love and joy needed to make it through each day and our requests bring about miracles both small and large. God alone is the miracle maker who does more than we could ever hope and imagine on a daily basis and we get to often be a part of things through our prayers.

Prayer is an open line of communication to heaven and a direct pipeline bringing down heaven’s blessings to earth. It is a two way street though offering up praises and heartfelt words and listening to words of encouragement and guidance.  Prayer is the most powerful gift we have as Believers. Yet we often go days between conversations and replies to the nudging of the Holy Spirit.

When we do take time to prayer, we are more hopeful, more confident and even happier as we walk through our day holding the hand of our Savior, Jesus. It’ll not only brighten your day but light up the world around you, too. So if you need a lift today, pray. I know you will be glad you did. :)

 

Wholesome Thinking

I wanted to share a great devotion by ‘Seeds of the Kingdom” I read [text is below] on wholesome thinking.

I know all of us here agree that we need to be wholesome in our thoughts in order to honor God but what I find challenging is keeping my definition of what is wholesome centered in what God says in the Bible given the bombardment of things contrary to what God says is good from schools, businesses, theme parks, tv, the media, culture and society.

There are so many subtle and not so suble graphics, images, words, mascotts, characters, lifestyle choices and just plane yucky stuff sugar coated, dressed up and twisted to sound and look ok all under the umbrella of tolerence, entertainment, compromise, sensetivity, open mindedness and moderation that it is hard to know what’s what these days.

However, as Christians we are called to be separate and set a part and not mixed-up in all the yuck. In fact, we are called to be the salt of the earth protecting people, the culture and scociety from decaying just as salt protects meat from going rotten. The great news is that Jesus has given us all we need to stand for Him, evangelize the lost and bring our cultures in line with how God wants us to live and I believe is starts with prayer and is lived out through wholesome thinking as outlined by the devotion I came across below.

Scripture: “Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking.”
2 Peter 3:1, NIV

“Recently I was praying with a group of friends and skimming through my Bible at the same time looking for inspiration. Suddenly my eyes lighted on our verse for today – a verse I had never noticed before, even though I must have read it many times!

In this verse Peter was telling his readers the somewhat unusual reason why he had written his letters, not to urge them forward to some great act of spiritual commitment, or to correct their sinful actions, or to teach them some important new truths – even though all of these are implicit in different parts of his letters – but to stimulate them to wholesome thinking.

Peter knew what he wanted to do – he was concerned above all that God’s people should understand a principle that would stand them in good stead for the rest of their days. Practical advice on a particular issue is often important and valuable – but if you can teach people a principle to live by you have given them advice that will hold true for hundreds of occasions.

Everything we do in life – whether it be good or bad – always begins with a thought. Then as we think about it, we decide to do it and finally we involve our body in the action that began as a thought. Now, if our thinking is always wholesome, then it’s obvious that the actions that follow will also be wholesome. But if in our minds we dwell on the ungodly, the unwholesome, the crude, the selfish and the greedy, to quote but a few possibilities, then our consequential actions will also be a reflection of what we’ve been thinking. What a contrast between the two sets of actions!

Peter’s advice holds good for us now. No wonder Paul encouraged us to take every thought captive, for if we control our thinking then our ways will truly be guided by the Lord into the ways of righteousness and the ways of blessing.”

Prayer: Help me Lord to always think about godly things and to stop myself thinking about the ungodly so that my actions will be in line with whatever is pure and holy. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

5/6 UPDATE:

I saw the following prayer as the conclusion to another online devotion I read on the importance of wholesome activities and thought it was a fitting footnote to this post.

Lord, thank You for people who are around me who seem to flow with goodness.  (name them)  Help me to receive joy from wholesome activities.  Bring people around me who will encourage me to do good and wholesome things each day.  Amen.

2018 West Palm Beach Update

Our 8th annual Expo in West Palm Beach and 42nd Expo overall was this past Saturday and God blessed us with a new all-time high for any of our outreaches of 1,307 attendees! As the event has grown, set-up and tear-down have become a larger and larger task each year and this year having over 50 tents including 33 for resource exhibitors was also record for any Expo to date. However, as always God gave us all we needed to accomplish the goals He set before us and the 160 kids from Palm Beach Atlantic’s Workship program with the youthful energy that many of us seem to be run low on from time to time were a huge help on both Frida and Saturday.

Also, with the extra large pontoon brought down by friends from Central Florida, we had more boats and seating capacity than ever in West Palm Beach and in turn, gave more rides than in any previous year there. We served virtually every food item we had on site, too. From the over 500 hamburgers, 1,000 hot dogs and 2,500 bottles of water to the thousands of snacks, apples, oranges, chips and moon pies, both participants and volunteers were well fed at the Expo.

All in all, it was such a joy to see both participants and volunteers fellowshipping and enjoying some wholesome fun in the light and love of God presence that day. However, what has Leanne and I excited the most are the glimpses of ongoing ministry starting to happen after years of planting seeds. Seeing annual participants and volunteers begin to build friendships, church and other faith based ministries for people living with disabilities surfacing and the growth of leaders on our outreach team are all so encouraging. We are even helping facilitate some local fish grants and a Spring Fling in May through the local ministry Outpost team.

It reminds me of the words of Galatians 6:9: “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” So many folks have faithfully prayed, given and served in West Palm Beach since 2011 and it is such a blessing to see the fruit of their labor and the even greater harvest of hope, faith and love to come if we don’t grow weary. Which then reminds of the words in Isaiah 40:31: “But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” All in All, we have to rest in the Lord and have our strength continually renewed so we won’t grow weary but finish strong.

Finally, it is Leanne’s and my hope and prayer that you know how much we appreciate all our ministry partners and your commitment to share the love and gospel of Jesus with folks living with disabilities from TX to TN to FL and even Belize. Whether you are the hands and feet of Jesus through your prayers, giving or service THANK YOU for answering God’s call and coming together as His people to shine His light and shower His love on those who join us at each outreach. :)

2018 Belize Expo Update

What a great day of ministry God gave us Saturday in Belize! He put so many smiles on the faces of both the young and old at the Expo that the joy of His presence blessed everyone attending.

From our estimates, God brought out about 200 folks to the outreach there including the 28 of us and 15 other in country volunteers which is pretty much identical numbers to the turn out last time we held the Expo at the Hearts of Christ facility in Roaring Creek in 2016.

While we had already given out over 12 wheelchairs and various other mobility items and medical supplies during the days leading up to the big event through visits to schools and homes as well as to those who came to the mission facility earlier, the over 40 wheelchairs and countless walkers, crutches, canes and medical supplies distributed that day kept everyone busy well before, during and after the posted Expo times.

The art, craft, prayer, picture and game activities also greatly blessed folks that day as they hopefully were able to take a deep breath and relax a bit enjoying the good gifts of fellowship and fun God brought in some unique ways. However, the best gift, both given and received, was the one little girl who prayed to receive Jesus as Savior on Expo day!

We’ll be sharing more Belize Expo and outreach stories on Ms Fani, Elmer and Wilson among others soon in our newsletter but pray you enjoy the above collage and pictures here until then. :)

2018 Belize Outreach Days Diary by Nanette Ryan

Tuesday: Wilson and Neymi

One of the joys of coming to Belize year after year is getting to see people who we helped and find out how they are doing. This year on Tuesday, the team went to Cotton Tree School with plans to meet up with Wilson and Sierra, two children we met in 2017. Both of them attend the school and needed ramps to make their classrooms wheelchair accessible.

When we arrived at the school, children were arriving for the day and were excited to see a group coming to visit. At first, it seemed that neither Wilson nor Sierra was coming to school that day, so our team spread out visiting classrooms as they did their morning devotions. After a few minutes, Wilson’s parents came, carrying Wilson in their arms. The wheels on the stroller we had given him last year had broken due to the rough gravel roads. We heard from Sierra’s mom that she was not going to be at school for the day.

Once Wilson was settled in his classroom, Korie and some of the guys on the team began working on the ramp into his classroom. The original plan was for a simple ramp that would be attached to the sidewalk with concrete screws that could be removed and moved with him to other classrooms each year. After seeing the layout of the school and the sidewalks, the plans were enhanced to make a “three-way” ramp so that Wilson could go all directions coming out of his classroom.

While the ramp was being built, Nancy, the team PT and Pam, an OT on the team, evaluated Wilson in his classroom how to make the chair work best for him. Helen and Tiffanie helped Nancy and Pam to get the chair cleaned up and adjusted, and then the real fun began!

 

We brought Wilson to a picnic pavilion near his classroom and let him try out the chair. The look that spread across Wilson’s face when he realized that he could propel the chair on his own was priceless! Nancy and Pam made slight adjustments and showed Wilson’s parents how the chair worked, and then Wilson was off! He wanted to race with Doug and the two of them had fun wheeling down the sidewalks.

Others on the team were also able to adapt a desk for Wilson to be able to roll right under it and got it moved into his classroom. All of the teachers and staff at school were so helpful and it was great to see how they and the children all loved Wilson and were happy that he was able to get a chair!

In the aftenoon, the team went to visit Armenia Government School to bring a chair to a girl named, Neymi. She had come to the Access-Life Expo in 2015 and received a chair, but it was getting too small for her and it was not in good shape after three years of use. We found Neymi in her classroom and asked if she’d like a new chair. Her face lit up and she was excited to get fitted for the chair that had been chosen for her.

Korie and the guys got to work on building a simple ramp for Neymi to be able to get to her classroom. Things went quickly with that ramp and it was completed just as school was getting out for the day. Neymi tried it out in the chair and her brother and cousin were there to help take her home.

While the ramp was being built, some of our team put together packets of rice and beans and Bibles to distribute to the school families at dismissal. Many families came to get the packets and were thankful to receive the food. All capping off a great 1st full day in Belize.

Wednesday: Mr. Roland and Ms. Marcelina

The plan for the day was to build a tiered ramp for Edward Roland, who had recently had his right leg amputated. He and his family live in Roaring Creek Village, not far from the Hearts of Christ mission, so Korie and the building guys went to get the materials and headed to the house to get started. Alicia brought Nancy and Nanette over to meet Mr. Roland and to access his need for crutches, walker, wheelchair or a combination of the three. Edward’s wife, Juanita, also cares for their eleven year old granddaughter, Sherise, who has hydrocephalus and his blind.

After meeting the Rolands, Alicia brought Nancy and Nanette to visit Ms. Marcelina to see if she might have a need for a new cane. We found her in a neighbor’s house where she goes during the day, and Nancy talked with her about what would work best for her. Later in the afternoon, we were able to bring her a new cane that had pretty designs on it, which Nancy picked out after seeing some of Ms. Marcelina’s beautiful embroidery work. She loved her new cane and was happy to get it!

After lunch, the team all went back to the Roland’s to deliver a wheelchair, walker and cane, as well as some supplies to help with the care of Sherise. Nancy and Pam showed Edward how to use the equipment to get around in his house and then rolled him to the other side of the house so he could see the ramp that was being finished up. While the guys finished the ramp, Leanne and Sally spent time visiting with the Rolands, while the rest of the team walked around the neighborhood to give out rice. It was great to come back and see the finished ramp and to take a team picture with Edward and Juanita on the ramp.

Final Rays of Sonshine: Helen McClaren

Well, it’s been a good year of highlighting some of the ministry’s bright and shining hearts with our monthly Rays of Sonshne BLOG posts and today is our final highlighting post that features yet another very special volunteer: Helen McClaren.

Helen began serving with Access-Life at our first Expo in East Tennessee back in 2010. Since that time she has become a key member of the area outreach planning team spearheading the food service and volunteer recruiting at her church each year. She has also become an Area Outpost leader not only attending local ministry activities but seeing that her church hosts the annual Access-Life Spring Fling. To top off all of these accomplishments, Helen join the ministry’s board of directors this year. A real blessing for our leadership team. :)

Despite all her hard work and accomplishing so much for the ministry, Helen is a behind the scenes, low key kind of leader. She leads with actions and can definitely speak up about her passions of serving others, especially those with disabilities in Jesus’ name. But, Helen, does all this with a gracious smile and serving with a “however needed” kind of attitude. What a great reminder for us all about what God can accomplish as we work diligently for Him with the heart of a servant. That is what impresses us most about Helen and why she is December’s Ray of Sonshine.