2017 Jacksonville Expo Update

WHAT A GREAT DAY GOD GAVE US SATURDAY IN JACKSONVILLE! The weather was great, smiles abounded and God’s presence blessed us all. While our volunteer team was the thinest ever, the particpant turn out was the highest ever giving the area a new attendence record of 651 folks!

God was faithful as always giving us all that we needed to get the job done including our faithful veterans from Christ’s Church who provided, cooked and served 500 hamburgers and 400 hot dogs and served in a variety of areas, our co-laborers from Stirring Waters Ministry who provided two giant 10 person conoes and a new hoverball archery activity as well as some new friends from Creekside Christian Church, RPM Automotive and Oakleaf Christian Fellowship who helped with set-up and teardown along with many tasks in between.

We hope you enjoy the photo collage above and will join in thanking God for His blessings this year and His guidences as we move forward with the miistry efforts in Jacksonville.

Rays of Sonshine: Leanne Goddard

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.

Big Wheel Deal Rolls into CFL

What a great Big Wheel Deal it was Saturday!

All three games were close with Live Oaks beating First Baptist Windermere 28-20 in Game 1, UCF topping the defending champions, the Ocoee Police 23-21 in Game 2 and Live Oaks winning it all 28-22 in the final game. There were lots of fans on hand to root on the teams and our free throw contestants, too.

We also, passed last year’s fundraising by quite a bit thanks to some very generous donors! In fact, to date $8,887.00 has been given and/or pledged giving us a great start on raising all that will be needed for the CFL Expo this fall.

From the players who gave it all on the court and free throw participants who to inspired us as the tried to beat the clock to the fans who cheered from the stands and the volunteers who served before, during and after the event, Leanne and I say THANK YOU!

Above is a photo collage for everyone to see and share and THANK YOU again as it is great seeing the good God does working through the hearts and minds of His people.

Rays of Sonshine: Jean Malacko

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!

2017 West Palm Beach Expo Update

collage-2017-2-ale-wpb

WOW. What an amazing day God gave us Saturday! The weather was picture perfect, the work was hard but rewarding and the smiles of joy from God presences abounded. We also, hit a new high attenance number with a preliminary count of 1,278 folks!

The blessings did not stop there though as we had over 30 fish caught throughout the day. However, the biggest blessing was the one person we know who prayed to receive Jesus as Savior starting a celebration in heaven like it says in Luke chapter 15.

This was the 7th outreach in WPB and 36th Expo overall bringing the total number of Expo attendees since 2010 to 23,278. While sharing Jesus’ love and Gospel are still at the center of each event and boat rides, bank fishing, archery, horses and kayaking are mainstay activities, the additions of a 14 person canoe was especially popular this year as was the new hover ball archery station.

All in all, God did lots of miracles at the 2017 WPB Expo but then He does that at each event we do. Some are big and some are small but they all touch and transform lives in His wholesome and holy presence through the precious gift of Jesus.

Hope you all enjoy the collage and smiles!

Rays of Sunshine: Jimmy Chestnut

1-19-2017-thursday-9As we just finished our 3rd annual outreach to Belize (see the previous 2 posts and photo collages), I thought it was appropriate to highlight, Jimmy Chestnut, one of the many hardworking and faithful volunteers who made the trip as this month’s Ray of Sunshine.

Jimmy was a great addition to the Access-Life Belize Team this year as he brought a genuine servant’s heart and the enthusiasm of a first time short term missionary to Belize. He also, brought a great deal of experience. This experience is not something most folks have or to be honest would even want on their resume. You see, Jimmy is a person living with a disability. He has Cerebral Palsy and uses a manual wheelchair to get around. Like many folks living with disabilities, he does not let these extra challenges slow him down but relies on the Lord with a Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ” attitude to move mountains in his daily life.

His quiet and innocent smile made most of us serving along side him forget that the mountains of life are even bigger in Belize as the muddy roads, rough inclines and multiple transfers in and out of his wheelchair each day never changed his rough but boyish grin. This overcoming attitude is what made his presence so important to those we met as it inspired many to see that “with God all things are possible”. Yes, even in the inhospitable conditions of Belize someone with a disability can serve God and be used by Him in a mighty way.

1-18-2017-wednesday-1That was Jimmy’s testimony from the start as he jumped right in with helping to prepare hygiene kits to give out to people in the villages and cleaning crutches and walkers to distribute at the Expo outreach. He was always eager to help with whatever tasks needed to be done. At some of the sites where our team built ramps, Jimmy was able to interact with people in the community, allowing them to see firsthand that disabilities don’t have to limit a person’s ability to serve God and others even in Belize. This message was again seen as Jimmy was able to work with Sharyn and Mike King at the Adaptive Fitness booth during the Expo and met several people in wheelchairs who came by that day, including a man who was a double amputee and another man who had been wounded in the military. 

1-21-2017-saturday-eli-10On the way home from the Expo, the team stopped by to visit Eli, a man who we built a ramp for in 2016. Mike King had a hand cycle to give to Eli and several from the 2016 team were looking forward to seeing Eli again. Jimmy admitted that when we stopped in Eli’s village, he really didn’t want to get out of the van because he was tired and was hurting from all of the activity of the day and week. Jimmy told the team that he sensed God telling him that he needed to get out of the van and visit with Eli, so he did, and he received a blessing in his life from being obedient. Jimmy encouraged Eli to continue in his faith journey and told him that he didn’t need to have “can’t” in his vocabulary. It was a moving experience when Jimmy voiced a prayer over Eli and ask God to help him to stand firm in his faith.

1-19-2017-thursday-37All in all, it was so encouraging to see God faithfully helping Jimmy overcome every challenge and being a blessing to others around him. From his fellow team mates to those who were surprised to see someone in a wheelchair coming to serve them, Jimmy brightened up the days of hard work and uplifted new friends all week long.