This month’s Rays of Sonshine has really put some miles on the road since getting involved with Access-Life in 2013. In fact, while he lives in East Tennessee, He has spent almost as much time in TX and FL helping the ministry as in his home state’s backyard.
So how does he do all of this? By transporting our big trailer full of outreach equipment, docks, tents and supplies from TX to TN and then back to FL each year. That’s right he travels almost 2,000 miles annually helping get Access-Life things from one location to another.
The blessings don’t stop there though, as despite living in the 3rd quarter of life, he is one of the hardest workers we know across the ministry’s 3 state area. He actually, out lasted all our volunteers at set-up and tear-down during the recent Expo in North Texas, too. Of course, He shines brightest in the Volunteer state where he not only helps with the trailer transport, general set-up and tear-down and water and ice distribution but he also grades our gravel shore line and helps build our wooden boardwalk so each participant can have access to the boat rides, kayaking and fishing areas on site.
Whew, makes me tired talking about it so I’ll close by saying thank you to all our volunteers who do so much across TX, TN and FL and a special thanks to Jerry who travels across all three states to be this month’s Rays of Sonshine!
You know we all get down and have tough days but the great news as Believers in Jesus is that we always have Him with us to guide, protect, comfort and help. He is completely faithful and even in those times when we feel low, if we’ll look around we can see signs of His presence, care, love and blessings. So here are a few homemade scripture art pictures to hopefully encourage us all in these facts. :)
Our June “Rays of Sonshine” are a dynamic duo who live in Clovis, New Mexico. Anne Linville, who just happens to be Leanne’s mom, and her good friend, Pat Moody, whom we affectionately call the Queens of Clovis. Serving others is their motto and they do that on a regular basis in their neighborhood, church, community and here at Access-Life!
Even though neither of them live in an Expo area, Anne and Pat are always ready for a project and in turn, touch the lives of many in all the areas we serve. In fact we often get a call or text from one or the other asking us if we have a project for them to tackle. However, the main task they assist with on a regular basis is helping with signing, addressing, stuffing and mailing thank you letters after each Expo which we send to all participants, volunteers and exhibitors. As our Expos have grown over the years so have the numbers of letters and when we got to the point where we needed some help, God provided it through these energetic gals. As an added bonus, Pat is our official craft lady who assembles our Expo activity buttons and prayer magnets whenever we need them.
After serving behind the scenes for quite a few years they both had the opportunity to serve at the North Texas in 2016 as they traveled with the youth group from their church, Central Baptist, who came and served too. On Friday before the Expo they helped with prepping supply bins, name tags and anything else we needed done. On Expo day they served in the registration area assisting both volunteers and participants as they arrived. Anne says what she enjoyed most about serving at an Expo was “experiencing first-hand the happiness and enthusiasm of those volunteering that day, as well as seeing the joy of the participants.”
Having such close family and friends serving beside us even behind the scenes is such a blessing. It is also a joy to have people you have known for so long seeing the value in what God has called us to do and jumping in with both hands and feet to join in the ministry work. :)
Beth Arsenault has been a Ray of Sonshine serving many in East TN for years and since coming to her first ETN Expo in 2015 has been a blessing for those connected with Access-Life, too. Her love for children with special needs is both deep and true as she has faithfully cared for many kids with a wide variety of disabilities in the area as a busy foster parent. As a result of this God given passion, it was only natural for her to jump in with both feet when discovering Access-Life and the local outreach opportunities.
In turn, she lead the East TN Outpost team that hosted our annual Jingle and Mingle Christmas party this past year, served as a hostess at our annual Crafting a Community Banquet in East TN this spring and is already thinking about painting nails again this year in the Prayer and Care booth at the East TN Expo in August. To say that Beth is an over-achiever is definitely an under-statement. :)
While Beth is living in the 4th quarter of life, she is determined to finish well as despite being a spouse to a person with a disability as well as a foster parent to children with special needs, she still wants God to use the gifts and talents that He has given her to serve and bless even more people living with disabilities through Access-Life. What an inspirational example for us all. In fact, it reminds me of verse 9 in Galatians 6 that encourages us towards this same goal: “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”
I hope you, like me are longing for the day when we will here our Saviors sweet voice say “Well done, good and faithful servant.” I know Beth does which is one of the reason’s she is May’s Ray of Sonshine!
This month’s Access-Life Rays of Sunshine is someone you might not think of as a ministry volunteer. After all she is the co-founder and co-director with me but unlike me she receives no financial compensation directly. However, she works just as hard, even harder at times and is just as passionate and dedicated in serving individuals and families living with disabilities as any one I know.
In fact, she is the most inspirational person I know. Her heart for the Lord Jesus, His wholesome holiness, serving others and seeing people accept Jesus as their savior is second to no one I know. She serves behind the scenes, in front of people and often very long days tirelessly doing whatever needs to be done to get the job done. And the job maybe big like doing an Expo promotional eblast or small like taking the call of a person or family member with a disability. It may be mundane like filing a permit application or maybe exciting like seeing participants cheered for at an Expo. Whatever the task, she is faithful to the calling God has put on her life.
Now this does not mean she is perfect or never falls. Hey, we all do, right? But what is so inspiring is her heart that has confidence in Jesus as the one who enables us to follow Him, persevere and make a difference in peoples lives for Him. When we first met she told me her favorite verse was: Philippians 3:13-14: Brothers and sisters, 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. After 25 years of marriage I know why. This is her heart, at the core of who she is and what keeps her going. And that’s why this month’s Rays of Sunshine is Leanne Goddard.
Jean Malacko is a true advocate for people living with disabilities. As the mother of a daughter with a disability and a key volunteer on our West Palm Beach Expo team, she stands in the gap for those in need in many ways. She is straightforward and bold but has the heart of a golden marsh mellow.
In fact, she single handedly by God’s grace secured 1,000 hot dogs, 600 hamburgers, 1,600 buns and $600 in donations for the outreach there on February 18th! All of this despite having no food service experience or special training in fundraising. How then did she accomplish such a monumental task? Simply by answering God’s call, being available to serve and willing to ask for what was needed.
You see God equips the called. When He asks us to step out of our daily routine and even comfort zone to serve Him, He gives us all we need. We simply need to follow and obey. He is the miracle worker not us and as we make ourselves available to Him, I know we’ll be amazed at the results. Just ask, Jean this month’s Access-Life Rays of Sonshine.
P.S. I would have included a photo or two of Jean but she was so busy behind the food table all day at the Expo that we don’t have any pictures of her. Go figure!
You know, Sunday mornings are such simple times and full of God’s joy….or at least they should be. LOL So this Sunday morning, I hope the simplicity of truth in the word pictures below will bring you a bit of God’s joy today. :)