2017 CFL Expo Update

What a God blessed 40th Expo we had on Saturday! Yes, the Central Florida event on November 11th was our 40th outreach since 2011 and as with each Expo is was amazing to see God work bringing heaven to earth and putting smiles on faces thru the joy of His presence!

The temperatures were ideal and the few momentary showers were simply reminders of God’s care in watering things as needed here on earth. Although the volunteer turn out was lower than usual, God was faithful in providing all that was needed for all 568 attendees to be blessed including the addition of an accessible 6 seat shuttle, hoverball archery activity and a giant 14 foot canoe! The timely arrival of a team of 20 helpers from Centra Care Mission for tearing down and loading the 20 foot trailer was an encouragement as well. :)

All in all this was our smallest outreach of the year but as we have always said, we are there for whoever God brings in need of some respite, adaptive adventure and a special touch from Him. This was brought to my mind by several families who expressed such gracious thanks Saturday for hosting an event tailored just for them and their needs. The smiles I saw on so many faces including a youngster who had just gotten off of the giant canoe and was sopping wet as “Mr. Bill” had taken them under the fountain, reminded me that God was there working in so many ways that day.

Above is a photo collage and there are about 25 pictures on the CFL Expo page on our website (https://access-life.com/cfl) so feel free to checkout the fun photos and share as God leads!

Rays of Sonshine: Jodi Rowe

This month’s Rays of Sonshine is someone who has been with the ministry from it’s start in 2010. In fact, she served as a volunteer for Joni and Friends when Leanne and I led the Florida office back in 2007. Her service with Access-Life has been diverse as well as longstanding, starting with the West Palm Beach team before she and her husband Steve relocated to the Villages where they now support the CFL outreach.

She is a Physical Therapist by trade but is known in the ministry world for her fabulous administrative skills. However, in actuality she is an awesome networker, too. In fact, she has successfully coordinated groups of folks from her church volunteering at the Expos in CFL as well putting together their own team for our annual Big Wheel Deal wheelchair basketball game in the area.

All in all, what makes her standout though is her faithful service and hard work. She is committed and consistent in her heart for people, love of Jesus and willingness to go the extra mile which is why Jodi Rowe is October’s Access-Life Rays of Sonshine. :)

Rays of Sonshine: Gaile Lanier

This month’s Rays of Sonshine is someone who loves working with people living with disabilities and has made a career of providing programing to folks with special needs in the Jacksonville area. In fact, she manages the Bethesda Lake park where we hold our annual Jacksonville Expo and conducts year round activities for those living with disabilities locally. Despite having a slight hearing impairment, she has a winning “Philippians 4:13” attitude that matches her joyous smile and is our most enthusiastic Expo supporter in the area. :)

What we so love about Gaile is that she not only welcomes us at her facility but that she supports what we do 110%! There is obviously the business side of renting the pavilion and cabins, paying fees and getting permits but she goes beyond the basics to help us as an exhibitor, volunteer and networker. Currently, she is even contacting local churches and organizations close by the park trying to secure extra parking for the 2018 outreach. Wow, what a blessing!

All in all, like our other Rays of Sonshine what really makes her special is her love for Jesus and seeing Him transform lives and communities. So thank you, Gaile and may God expand His kingdom and bring heaven to earth more and more in Jacksonville and beyond. :)

Rays of Sonshine: John and Lisa Deeds

Well, this months Rays of Sonshine post highlights two people who we’ve known for nearly 20 years. They are dear friends and long time advocates for people living with disabilities including serving on the Access-Life board of Directors for over 6 years from 2011 to 2017. They have served on 3 of our mission trips to Belize and helped lead the planning for the North Texas Expo since it’s beginning in 2012. However, what makes John and Lisa so special is not all that they do (which is a whole lot LOL) but their heart for people.

The so love helping people living with disability in their times of need. They do it everyday, too as the own and run a durable medical equipment store in Hurst, TX. They see, meet and make friends with individuals and families members living with disabilities on a daily basis. In turn, reaching out to these folks through Access-Life has been a natural fit. Helping them know that God loves them, has a good plan for their lives and wants them to live abundantly fill with His joy is a natural extension of what John and Lisa already do through their store and work.

Isn’t that a lesson we all need to learn and relearn every day? Letting God’s light and love shine through us leading others to true life only found in Jesus. A Life that gives hope, peace and joy. A life that is about overcoming and living abundantly making a difference for God’s kingdom and bringing heaven to earth each day. So let us each of us honor God with every word we say and every deed we do and please join us in celebrating this month’s Rays of Sonshine: John and Lisa Deeds.

2017 ETN Expo Update

What an awesome day God gave us Saturday at the ETN Expo! God blessed us with 865 attendees this year including participation from 11 churches in Jefferson, Hamblen, Grainger and Knox County.

While the boat rides, bank fishing, archery kayaking and horses were once again popular mainstays, the addition of a rockwall this year was a new activity and big hit with folks. I was specifically encouraged by the dad of a boy with a disability who when thanking me for hosting the event told me they tried to get their son to rock climb several years ago with no success but on Saturday he climbed the rockwall to the top making for a memorable day.

All in all it was a great outreach from the free hot dogs and snow cones to the sand cross craft and tie-dye t-shirt decorating and I hope you enjoy the above photo collage as a reminder of God’s goodness. Feel free to forward, post and share it, too!

 

Rays of Sonshine: Jerry Carter

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!

Rays of Sonshine: Queens of Clovis

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. :)