We’ve had a request to show more of my family’s farm while we are in Tennessee getting ready for the #ETNEXPO2020 on 8/15. So here is my favorite spot on the farm as our backdrop in this week’s #AL3IN3! It may not be the prettiest place on the farm but it brings back a lots of fond memories. :) We are privileged to have a special joke from my five year old niece, Wallis Mae, too so check it out and may God bless you in a special way this week. :)
First ever #AL3IN3 to come to you straight from the VOLUNTEER STATE of TENNESSEE! In fact, we are at my parents house on the farm where I grew up. :) We are working on specifics for the #ETNEXPO2020 on 8/15 but have some great scenery, a joke that’ll make you think, a scripture on how much God loves us and even the Access-Life BUZZ! So check it out, be encouraged, hang in there and have a GOD BLESSED WEEK :)
Happy Monday family and friends of all ages and abilities! It’s time for the Access-Life #3IN3 and boy do we have an episode full of laughs, inspiration and news for you this week. :) That’s right, with Ms Julia Codispoti in Tennessee and #ALROYALAMBASSADOR, Big Dave in Deland, Florida, it is just Leanne Linville Goddard, #ALMASCOTTLULU and me [Doug] left here in Umatilla, FL. However, we are a small but ambitious group of overachievers so get ready as the 3 of us give you 3 perky jokes, 3 Bible verses, and 3 ministry updates in just 3 minutes…..well, actually 5 minutes. :) It is still some fun, encouraging and informational stuff and we hope brightens your day. So check it out and share it with someone who may need a extra boost this week!
Hope everyone had a great Independence Day holiday and is ready for a God blessed week! To kick things off right we have a fresh Access-Life”3 in 3″ for you. They finally let me back in front of the camera but I’m not alone as #ALROYALAMBASSADOR, Dave Browne is back by popular demand joining me in bautiful Umatilla, Florida. We have a “punny” joke with physical and musical props, an encouraging verse on prayer and some “newsy” ministry updates so check it out and God bless everyone.
Well, our 10th anniversary Expo in West Palm Beach and 50th Expo overall was a memorable occasion from set-up thru tear-down with God proving all we needed and blessing folks who serve and came to be served. It definitely was not what we expected a few weeks before but God was so faithful guiding directing and providing every step of the way.
From the “BIG” pontoon boat brought all the way from Umatilla, FL by Will Wunsch and the FREE ice cream provided by the Ice Cram Club to the 14 person canoe brought by Stirring Waters Ministry and the patient horse that so many painted brought out by Horses that Help, there was so much to be thankful for at this year’s Expo.
While this year’s attendance of 864 was much lower than usual, the 37 local organizations and businesses including 5 churches showed that this community cares about the people living with disabilities in their area.
From the King’s Academy collecting snacks and goodies they then stuffed in the special 10th anniversary Expo back packs and Palm Beach Atlantic Workship bringing out key volunteers for set-up, the event and tear-down to the American Heritage Girls covering all the popcorn, snow cones and cotton candy needs and so many veteran and new volunteers stepping in and up to get the job done, the Body Christ came together to shine the light and love of Jesus on so many that day.
WAS IT WHAT WE EXPECTED? NO
WAS IT A GREAT DAY? YES
While every day of our week in Belize is spent on worthwhile activities, the culmination is the Expo Day on Saturday, when we welcome people to come and enjoy activities and we distribute wheelchairs, walkers, crutches and canes and other medical supplies that are donated and shipped from the U.S. This year on Saturday we woke up to a rain storm that continued throughout the set-up As the participants started to arrive before the Expo began, we helped them to a covered area to wait.
Once the Expo got underway, the rain stopped and things started to dry out. Many people came to the Expo carried in the arms of care-givers and volunteers who helped to get them to the seating area. Others left their homes at 3:00 in the morning and traveled many miles to attend the Expo. To see the joy on their faces once they received a wheelchair or walked to help them be more mobile was a priceless gift no matter how many times it occurred.
We also provided games, crafts, art and prayer/care stations for participants to enjoy while they waited to receive medical equipment.
Two young girls, both with physical disabilities, and are best friends came with their mothers. As each girl was fitted with a power chair, their faces lit up as they realized that their friend was getting a chair too! Receiving a chair changed their outlook on life and will impact their ability to gain independence as they grow up. One of the moms commented that now she could let her daughter go to the store and to school on her own. Parents of children with disabilities can have a lighter burden.
Twin brothers in their early twenties who have Cerebral Palsy also came to the Expo and were fitted with power chairs to replace manual chairs that no longer fit their bodies. Their mother shared that her sons attend university and one of the boys will be graduating with his Associates degree in Information Technology in the Spring.
One of the ways that volunteers touch lives on Expo Day is at the Prayer and Care tent. Participants usually come to the tent and are able to share prayer requests and receive prayer, as well as other activities like having their nails done. This year, some of the volunteers saw that participants were unable to come to the tent or didn’t want to miss hearing their name being called when it was their turn to get fitted for medical equipment. The volunteers decided to go to the people and offer a listening ear and prayer and many requests and praises were shared.
At the end of Expo Day, we were able to distribute 63 wheelchairs and counted 235 participants and volunteers who came to the event.
In the team share time on Sunday morning, one team member said that seeing people come in being carried and then leave rejoicing reminded her of her own challenges and used the analogy of climbing a mountain and finally reaching the top to see the beautiful view. It is the heart of Access-Life to be able to lift the burden and remove the barriers for people and to help them to come to Jesus (Luke 5:17-21).
AWESOME video by Lions Creative of our 10th Anniversary Expo celebration this year! Hope you enjoy the great footage, beautiful smiles, people being the hands and feet of Jesus and some good ministry INFO. :)
What an amazing 10th anniversary Expo celebration God gave us on Saturday! From the wonderful sunshine, great lunch by Shady Grove Methodist church [I had a tomato sandwich and a hot dog :) ] and awesome activities like the zip line, rockwall, animals, fishing, kayaking, dunk tank and more to the nearly 1,000 attendees, over 600 folks who received boat rides and over 2,200 bottles of water given out thanks to the Macedonia Missionary Baptist church, it was a HUGE GOD BLESSED SUCCESS.
It took a lot of hard work by a lot of people to set-up, execute and tear-down everything on Friday and Saturday but we know it was worth it as the smiles of joy on so many faces was a great reward. We were truly inspired seeing the Body of Christ come together and not only serve the community of East Tennessee but minister specifically to the individuals and families living with disabilities within the larger area community. God’s unexplainable economy of blessing and being blessed was the product of all those who prayed, gave, shared and served and it made a BIG DIFFERENCE in the lives of many in need of being touched by God in a special way that day.
There were local 13 churches, 11 area organizations and 12 regional businesses that came together for the outreach on top of all the wonderful volunteers that served, sweated and smiled that day. From First Methodist Dandridge and Jefferson City providing logistical and leadership support, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s office providing free traffic support, Grant’s Chapel hosting our meetings and managing registration and New Freedom Missionary Baptist church bringing out 48 volunteers to First Baptist Dandridge and Lighthouse church collecting snacks, the Rutledge Fire Department providing water for the dunk tank, the Sunshine Shine Ambassadors dance performance and Tennova manning the first aide booth, it took the whole community to make the outreach happen. AND we want to put in a special call out to those who helped with set-up and tear-down. God knows who you are and you do too so THANK YOU for the extra help.
We have upload some special photos to the ETN Expo page on our website at http://www.access-life.org/etnexpo in case you’d like to see more smiles and things on social media are all tagged #ETNEXPO2019 and #accesslifeexpo so feel free to upload, download and share things there, too.
IT WAS TEN YEARS IN THE MAKING AND WHAT A MEMORY GOD GAVE US ALL THIS YEAR. :)
Our good friend Brandon Redwine took footage from goody bag stuffing, set-up, the North Texas Expo itself and even tear-down and put together a great beginning to end video of the outreach there on June 8th [Leanne and my 28th anniversary, too!]. I hope you enjoy seeing the great things God did. :)