East Tennessee Outpost Report by Helen McClaren

2015-9 ETN (6)For the second time in two years, an Access-Life East Tennessee Outpost Ice Cream Social was held at Shady Grove Methodist Church in Dandridge, TN. This year’s old fashioned gathering was on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 27th with 52 persons present. 

 After an opening prayer, participants played arcade games (including corn hole, ball tosses, golf, ring toss, bean bag throw, and blinco ), played bingo, and helped draw a picture of a farm. They also made their own healthy trail mix from a choice of nuts, grains and dried fruits after designing their own jar from a series of crafting items. This by far was the biggest hit of the day. A prayer and care center allowed participants to either write a prayer request or share it personally as well as have someone pray with them, too.

Ice cream and cookies were served by church mission team members and upon leaving, participants got to choose from a selection of prizes to take home along with their trail mix. it was apparent that everyone in attendance received a wonderful blessing of God’s love. :)

2015-9 ETN (5)

 

Central Florida Expo Update

Well, God did it again. What a wonderful day we had Saturday for our 5th anniversary Expo celebration in Ocoee! The weather was amazing from the intermitten cload cover to the afternoon breeze off the lake and there were even several comments by folks that day on the peaceful but joyous flow that many sensed as they partiipated in the various activities. The boat rides and pony painting were the BIG HITS of the day but the cheerline, new tye dye t-shirt art, petting zoo and great lunch were also sources of many smiles. The old ministry trailer was nearly half full of mobility items and medical supplies and is now in SFL ready to be put on a container to go to Belize, too!

Overall, it looks like our numbers were a bit down from last year (less than 600 vs nearly 700 last year) though. We’re not sure why as everyone seemed to like moving things up a month and the weather was pretty awesome. Heard there may have been some other disability related events that day but as we’ve always said we are there for whoever God brings to be blessed. Case in point, there were over 60 kids presented the Gospel on Saturday by the Child Evangelism Fellowship face painters and 4 prayed to receive Christ! What an awesome joy to know we were all a small party of God’s work in these kidos’ lives and seeing the presence of the Lord covering the event with His blessings is our hope and prayer for each outreach!

Below is a photo collage for everyone to enjoy, forward, post and share as God leads. I hope seeing the smiles will put a big smile on your face. I know it did mine!

COLLAGE - 2015-10 ALE CFL

 

East TN Expo Update

We just had our 6th Expo in ETN this past August 22nd and as always God was faithful to show up before, during and after the outreach as funding goals were topped, attendance records set and despite having a new venue logistics came together in a Divine way including building our own accessible boardwalk with donated lumber along the gravel shoreline.

Temperatures were moderate as God blessed us with wonderful weather and when combined with the many smiles seen on both participant and volunteer faces, it was obvious that the Lord’s presence was there touching lives as only He can. We heard lots of thank yous and great feedback on the new location and are so glad that all the activities went well blessing those who participated including the new tye dye t-shirt booth and airsoft rifle station.

Below is a photo collage so you can see a few of the moments God brought together thru the 921 attendees that day. I hope you enjoy the smiles and have a God blessed week, too!

COLLAGE - 2015-8 ETN ALE

GONE FISHING!

I wanted to share that we had the privilege of taking a few folks with disabilities who live in Maryville, TN fishing last week. They met us at the dock in Dandridge, TN around 9am with a couple other staff from the facility where they live after an early and long bus ride and their excitement about being there really made us smile. Two of the folks used wheel chairs so after setting-up the ramp and loading everyone onto my dad’s pontoon away we went to find some fish!

2015-7 TN (4)It was such a blessing to spend time with these folks as they were so thankful to be out on the water. We even caught a few fish bringing bonus smiles to everyone’s faces. Smitty, who has been living at the facility for 5 year’s following a year long hospital stay, said it was the best day he has had in the past 6 year’s since his accident.

Hope you can see some of the joy we experienced that day through the photos here and let us know if anyone is ever interested in taking folks out on a fish grant like this in the future. We get requests from time to time and are always looking for fishermen interested in sharing their love for the outdoors with others living with disabilities.

2015-8 ETN (5)

North Texas Expo Update

I wanted to share what a great day God gave us Saturday for the 4th NTX Expo! It was our 27th outreach overall and althought we had to relocate things just 10 days before the event due to flooding on Lake Grapeving (25 feet above normal pool), God came through and provided all we needed.  :)

Haven’s Horses, a local ministry partner with a 55 acre ranch close by hosted things temporarily this year and even though we didn’t have the usual boat rides and kayaking, there was a pond for fishing and all the other standard activities available plus lots of ranch fun like horse rides, pony painting, long hay rides, practice roping, Texas BBQ and more.

I could carry on about how well things went including our turn out of around 800 folks but think the email I received from a mom who brought out her son with special needs sums it up better.

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Goddard,

I wanted to thank you and all the volunteers for putting on such a wonderful Expo for children with disabilities (We attended the North Texas Expo today). My 4-year-old son who has autism had an excellent time and loved every moment he spent there. He came home in a very happy mood after having a tough week. I am sure I speak on behalf of all families who have attended that we feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to take our children to this event. Even with the relocation, it was an amazingly well run Expo, well stocked and all the volunteers and vendors were incredibly gracious. We could not have asked for a better day. Wow.

Below is a photo collage of the days smiles and activities so I hope you enjoy it and are blessed by all God did!

COLLAGE - 2015-6 NTX ALE

Crafting a Community in East Tennessee

Thank you all so  much for your support through prayer, service and giving of our Crafting a Community in ETN banquet last Thursday night. It was our best fundraiser here to date with over 150 folks in attendance and performances by both the Sunshine Ambassadors and the Hidden Treasures Academy Ringers.

All in all, God provided over $18,000 through our matching gift challenge, onsite donations and auction item sales topping last year’s total by nearly $1,000! We are still finalizing the exact totals as gifts are still being received but we’ll have an official count at the ETN Expo kickoff meeting this Thursday night at 7pm. 

God is always so faithful in His provision for His work through Access-Life and Leanne and I want you to know we so appreciate you all and however you contributed to this God blessed success.

Jacksonville Expo Update

To god be the glory great things he has done! That’s what the old hymn says and it is so true!

Looking at the weather reports this past week, most would have thought it was improbable that we would not get wet on both set-up and event days but god had other plans for us that included not only dry skies and mild temperatures but a wonderful sense of his presence and peace those days.

Jacksonville has always been our smallest venue and although the attendance of 452 may sound disappointing to some, we have always said the expo is for those god brings. Plus by staying under 500 for our count, we are able to stay at lake Bethesda which is where we believe god wants the expo.

Maybe god wants to keep things this size to encourage a more personal connection. For the 1st time ever, I was able to spent almost a hour of one on one time helping a guy named Robert fish. Robert has CP and uses a wheelchair like me, he has a lot of spacticity which inhibits his arm and leg movement but his speech seems totally unaffected which is a bit unusual for someone with his level of cp. In any case, as we talked, I was struck by the depth and thoughtfulness of his questions and comments. He asked how long I’d been in ministry and even shared how he had been coming to the expo since 2012. What really blew me away was that he said he watched me every year at the outreach and was inspired by how i did not let things get to me. Someone coming to the expo every year and watching me. That’s pretty scary and sobering.

After the expo, I kept thinking about Robert. I thought about how he said he wanted to save up money to buy his own rod and reel, about how he had a mom and dad and about how someone as young and as bright as him was living in a group home. He seems to have a great heart and faith in Jesus and in turn, i know there is so much god wants to do for his kingdom through Robert. All in all it made me realize that not only is the need deep in Jacksonville but the church could so benefit from having Robert and others with disabilities activity involved in the body of  Christ locally.

You know no matter the event size, we all should know that god is making a difference in peoples lives through the expos but there is also so much more we could all do. This was probably the best expo in Jacksonville yet and i know that even greater things are in store for the ministry there so please join us in praying for god’s guidance and i hope you enjoy the photo collage of the day below.

COLLAGE - 2015-4 JAX ALE