2019 Belize Expo Update by Nanette Ryan

Preparing for the Expo:

Throughout the week in Belize, the team spent many hours sorting equipment and getting it ready for the Expo. After spending many hours in the shipping container, all of the wheelchairs, walkers, crutches and bedside commodes needed a good cleaning and some also needed repair. Team members pitched in with rags and spray cleaner to wipe down every piece of equipment that would be given out later in the week.

Norm, Korie, Nancy, Janet, and Tiffanie did some repairs on the various chairs. The dynamic duo, Nancy and Kaila, along with Tiffanie, assembled four manual chairs that were purchased from another ministry. Some may have doubted their ability, but they persevered and showed that they had what it took to get the job done!

The team also sorted through the supplies for the activities for the Expo, such as Arts, Crafts, Games and Prayer/Care. Sand crosses, gospel bracelets and picture frames were prepared for assembly by participants. There were also items to sort and prepare to put in the goody bags that each participant received when they arrived. Everyone came to the team with unique gifts and talents and all were used for God good work in the preparation for the Expo event.

All tallied, we had the following equipment available to distribute: 90 wheelchairs, including manual chairs, power chairs, and scooters – 90 walkers (plus 7 pediatric walkers) = 29 rollators (plus 5 3-wheel rollators) – 70 pairs of crutches – 4 knee scooters – 17 bedside commodes – 6 shower chairs – Misc: adult diapers, bed pads

2019 Belize Expo Stories:

Edwin Chavez, Jr., is a boy who needed a chair so that he could go to school. He has a birth defect that disabled his arms. We were able to give him a manual chair with wheels that he could propel on his own.

Ryan Foster, a three-year-old boy born with Spina Bifida. He captured the hearts of those who were helping him get fitted with a chair and his smile would light up his face. He received a pediatric manual chair that he was able to propel on his own almost immediately, as well as a pediatric walker that would help him move around by himself.

Sherlene Cal, a patient referred by Dr. Mike, who lives in remote southern Belize. She was severely paralyzed from being given a wrong medication as a baby and was not able to move on her own. Her family drove several hours to come to the Expo, arriving before sunrise on Saturday. She was able to go home with a pediatric chair with tilt function to help her parents care for her.

Jacquine Welby, a 37-year-old woman, with severe disabilities, who had never had a wheelchair. After Jacquine was fitted with a manual chair, her mother Serita was so moved and thankful to be able to have some of her burden lifted. Serita also had suffered a mini-stroke and diabetes and was able to get a cane to help her get around easier. Debbie was able to offer hugs of comfort to Serita when she was overwhelmed with emotion.

Carnie Hyde, a woman who had suffered a stroke and had her left leg amputated. She is a mom of three daughters and received a power chair that would help her to have greater mobility. Carnie was also overwhelmed with the generosity of Access-Life and the help she was able to receive.

Wallace Tillett, a man who waited over five hours to have his turn in the wheelchair distribution area. He told Leanne that he kept watching people come out of the door with a manual or power chair and thought that there wouldn’t be any left for him. When his name was called and he was able to receive a chair power chair, he was overwhelmed with gratitude to the team and also recognized that God was at work at the Expo. He said, “I didn’t know you would have one for me!” He also was able to get a new cushion to help to relieve pressure causing a sore. His new chair also tilts, which will help him to change positions more often while he is using the chair.

Jesslyn is a girl with CP who has severe mobility issues. We were first able to help her in 2017 with giving her a pediatric gait trainer and then in 2018, she received a stroller. This year, she has grown and brought the stroller back in good condition to trade in for a larger one that fits her better. As God had worked out in advance, the very next girl who came in needed a stroller the exact size that Jesslyn had brought back.

Another example of God’s divine intervention was told by team member, Norm Clark. In working to repair a power chair, he had broken a part and was frustrated. On the Expo day, a man came in with a power chair to be fixed and we were able to give him a different chair. His old chair had the exact part that Norm needed to complete the repair on the chair that he had been working on earlier.

PRAISE GOD FOR HIS GRACIOUS BLESSINGS ON US AND OTHERS. :)

2019 Belize Outreach Update by Nanette Ryan

TUESDAY:

We met Marcelina in 2018 when Korie and Alicia told us about a woman who might need a cane to help her walk. Nancy, Tiffanie and Nanette went to visit Marcelina and they were able to help fit her with a cane that would be helpful for her in getting around. It was a bonus that the cane had a pretty floral print on it, since Marcelina does beautiful embroidery.

In planning for 2019, Korie and Alicia arranged for a ramp to be built onto Marcelina’s house, to help her get in and out of her home with her increasing mobility issues. When we drove up to the house, Nancy, Tiffanie and Nanette remembered Marcelina and introduced her to the rest of the team. Marcelina welcomed us into her home and showed us that she still had her cane and used it with another cane to help her walk with her weak knee. Nancy helped evaluate her needs and we gave Marcelina some rice and beans and a New Testament. When Marcelina saw the Bible, her face lit up and when asked, she said that she couldn’t choose a favorite Bible verse. She quickly decided on John 3:16 as her favorite.

Marcelina also showed the group some of her beautiful embroidery work and told us that she draws the floral designs by hand, and then embroiders to fill in the picture before using the fabric to make a dress.

Korie and his boys and Norm got to work removing the existing stairs which were in poor repair. They had a plan for building the ramp to extend off of Marcelina’s porch and down into the yard, with landings to make it not too steep.

While they worked, we visited some neighbors, the Rolands, who we had met and built a ramp for in 2018. It was good to see them again and to see how well Mr. Roland had done with getting around after his leg was amputated a year ago.

After lunch, we all went back over to see the finished ramp and brought Marciela a rollator to help her get around even better, especially to go around the corner to her church. We prayed for Marciela and she shared how grateful she was to God for helping her. She explained that just days before, she had been telling her daughter that she was afraid of falling on her broken-down stairs. The next day, Alicia came to let Marciela know that Access-Life would be building her a ramp. God provided for Marciela and let her know that she was not alone, and in the process, allowed us all to be a conduit of his blessing

WEDNESDAY:

On Wednesday, we went to meet Jamire, a 12-year-old boy with an above-the-knee amputation due to cancer. He uses crutches, but needed a ramp built to be able to have easier access into his home. We also were providing a scooter for Jamire and the ramp will allow him to get it in and out of the house when he goes to school.

When the team arrived at his house, his aunt greeted us and the crew got started building the ramp. After a few minutes, Jamire came out and our PTs, Nancy and Janet, did a brief evaluation and were able to help adjust his crutches to be at a better height for helping him gain upper body strength.

Once the frame for the ramp was built, several members of the team helped to drill the planks in. Korie showed Jamire how to drill and he got to put in several planks on his own ramp! After the ramp was completed, the team prayed for Jamire and his aunt.

Jamire was able to come to the Expo on Saturday and received the scooter. While he was at the Expo, Jamire got to have his photo taken with the reigning Queen of the Bay, Belize, Miss Jennylee Cruz. Jennylee also volunteered her time to help with the lunch served to Expo participants.

THURSDAY:

On Thursday, Korie and the Boys, plus Norm, built a ramp at Kuxlin Ha Government School. Two new students are starting soon, and one girl named Catherine, uses a power chair donated by Access-Life. Her sister, Lyrica, is unable to speak.

2019 Ministry Schedule and Prayer Cards

For those who are visual learns like me and don’t retain what we hear as well as what we see, I’ve attached below copies of our ministry schedule and prayer card. We talked about our plans for this year and the need for prayer to see things through in our New Year video but thought these visual graphics would be great bonus reminders as we hope you all will join us both at these activities and in prayer to the Lord this year. :)

New Year Video

Well, 2019 is here and we are looking forward to the great things God will do this year thru the ministry. In fact, we are so expectantly exited that we put together a video outlining our 2019 Access-Life schedule and our need for prayer. That’s the foundation you know: getting God involved upfront. :)

In Jesus’ Name

God definitely wants us to be a blessing to others and as we all look to the new year of 2019, many of us may be contemplating what good we can do this coming year to make the world a better place. There are so many opportunities from serving at a soup kitchen and mailing encouragement cards to friends to building houses in third world countries and visiting folks in nursing homes, prisons and hospitals.

Giving words of blessing is another powerful way to have a positive impact on people. Take for example the verses in Numbers 6:22-27 below where God tells Moses to bless His people in a special way.

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons to bless the people of Israel with this special blessing: ‘May the LORD bless you and protect you. May the LORD smile on you and be gracious to you. May the LORD show you his favor and give you his peace.’ Whenever Aaron and his sons bless the people of Israel in my name, I myself will bless them.”

I love the variety of blessings God outlines for His people but I am also struck by the three little words towards the end of verse 27: “in my name”. You see that is how God wants us to bless others. This is not for God’s glory, for we know from 1 Corinthians 13 that “love is not self seeking”. Rather this is a simple way to edify those we serve and help them see the goodness of God.

So as we seek to do good to others in 2019, let’s not forget the powerful blessings that come when we speak, act and live in Jesus’ name. :)

Being like a Child this Christmas

Christmas is a time when we can all roll back the complexity and seriousness we make of life and become more childlike in our faith, outlook and attitude. It is a time when we can simplify our relationship with Jesus as we see Him as the Holy Baby in a manger, we can let our optimism for each days events rise as we see the good God has brought to our lives and we can enjoy the gifts of serving as we see the impact of simple actions on others.

It is Jesus’ desire for us all to be like children in our hearts each day as we let Him carry us on our way. Like a shepherd carries a lamb so Jesus is carrying us in His loving care. And when we see this truth through childlike eyes of faith, we are able to relax in His protection, provision and presence and enjoy Him the true gift of Christmas. The joy and peace this brings are hallmarks of Christmas and of children so I hope you enjoy this beautiful poem by hymn writer Isaac Watts that highlights both so well.

Hush

HUSH! my dear, lie still and slumber,
Holy angels guard thy bed!
Heavenly blessings without number
Gently falling on thy head.

How much better thou’rt attended
Than the Son of God could be,
When from heaven He descended
And became a child like thee!

Soft and easy is thy cradle:
Coarse and hard thy Saviour lay,
When His birthplace was a stable
And His softest bed was hay.

See the kinder shepherds round Him,
Telling wonders from the sky!
Where they sought Him, there they found Him,
With His Virgin Mother by.

See the lovely babe adressing;
Lovely infant, how He smiled!
When He wept, the Mother’s blessing
Soothed and hush’d the holy child.

Lo, He slumbers in His manger,
Where the horned oxen fed:
Peace, my darling; here’s no danger,
Here’s no ox anear thy bed.

Isaac Watts

Christmas Video

The glorious day when we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus is just over a week away and the excitement is in the air everywhere in anticipation of this annual event! In honor of this wonderful day and season of Advent, Leanne and I wanted to share our hopes and prayers for you this Christmas so checkout our second venture into the media world of video below. :)