WPB and CFL Jingle and Mingle Updates

For the second weekend in a row, we held two Access-Life Outpost Jingle and Mingle Christmas events. This past Saturday there were ones in Central Florida and West Palm Beach. They both had the usual seasonal and festive art, craft, game, snack and singing activities but also featured a few unique surprises like live dulcimer music and a gingerbread man appearance. :)

There were over 40 attendees in Central Florida and 146 folks in West Palm Beach which brings the total to over 400 people who attended the four Jingle and Mingles from Texas and Tennessee to Central Florida and West Palm Beach. Each one filled with the fun of celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus!

That’s whole point of Christmas, right? The reason we have hope, joy, peace and love. Jesus truly is the reason for the season and why Christmas is really the most wonderful time of the year.

We hope you enjoy the smiles in the photo collage above and if you want to see more photos, you can check out each area’s Outpost page at: https://access-life.com/outpost-in-wpb and https://access-life.com/outpost-in-central-florida.

ETN and NTX Jingle and Mingle Updates

This past Saturday, God blessed us with not just one but two Christmas Jingle and Mingle Outpost events. One was in East Tennessee which celebrated it’s 5th anniversary and the other was in North Texas where they held their second Jingle and Mingle in a row.

Both were well attended with over 80 joining in the fun in Tennessee and around 135 coming to celebrate Jesus’ birthday in Texas. There were Christmas crafts, seasonal games, festive food and even the singing of carols at each. Also, the Sunshine Ambassadors sang and danced at the ETN venue while Sing Your Way Home performed in NTX. Both groups featured folks living with disabilities bringing some extra fun and smiles to those who watched.

While everyone gathered for much fun and fellowshipping, the main purpose of these local outreaches to individuals and families living with disabilities is to provide folks with an opportunity to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus. after all, He is the reason for the season.

More photos are posted on each of the area Outpost pages at: https://access-life.com/outpost-in-etn and https://access-life.com/outpost-in-ntx and we have two more Jingle and Mingles this weekend. One in West Palm Beach and one in Central FL so be looking for more pictures and smiles soon!

2018 West Palm Beach Spring Fling Update

Leanne and I are in North Texas currently getting ready for the Expo here on June 9th but God worked through some great volunteers to execute our first ever Spring Flings in WPB this past Saturday. It was the final of three that were held this year and the largest to date with around 150 participants and volunteers attending!

While there were no ponies to paint in WPB like at the earlier Outpost activity in North Texas, the bingo and ice cream more than made up for the missing animals as you can see from the attached pictures. In fact, this event was a great example of how just a few folks eager to reach out to people living with disabilities with God’s love can make a huge impact on their community.

As the ministry grows, Leanne and I cannot execute and attend each activity so it is great seeing others step up to bring about ongoing ministry to so many in need of wholesome fun, real love and the hope that only Jesus can bring.

If you’d like to see more pictures from the WPB Spring Fling and/or other photos from local Outpost activities there feel free to go to our WPB Outpost page at https://access-life.com/outpost-in-wpb. :)

2018 East TN and North TX Spring Fling Updates

This past Saturday, the ministry was privileged to host not one but two Spring Flings. One in East TN at Shady Grove Methodist Church and One in North Texas at Valley Ranch Baptist Church! That’s right twice the ministry and twice the blessings all in one day. :)

It was the fifth time we held a Spring Fling in East TN but the very first one ever in North Texas. However, we had some great servant hearted and seasoned volunteers at both. Each event was attended by about 60 participants and volunteers and while the activities differed along with the locations, God was still present blessing each and everyone there!

We hope you enjoy the smiles in the photos here but feel free to check out more East TN Outpost activity pictures at https://access-life.com/outpost-in-etn or more North Texas Outpost activity pictures at https://access-life.com/outpost-in-ntx.

If interested is starting a ministry Outpost in your area and hosting an activity or two please let us know and we will do all we can to help make things happen on our end. :)

2018 Belize Outreach Days Diary by Nanette Ryan

Tuesday: Wilson and Neymi

One of the joys of coming to Belize year after year is getting to see people who we helped and find out how they are doing. This year on Tuesday, the team went to Cotton Tree School with plans to meet up with Wilson and Sierra, two children we met in 2017. Both of them attend the school and needed ramps to make their classrooms wheelchair accessible.

When we arrived at the school, children were arriving for the day and were excited to see a group coming to visit. At first, it seemed that neither Wilson nor Sierra was coming to school that day, so our team spread out visiting classrooms as they did their morning devotions. After a few minutes, Wilson’s parents came, carrying Wilson in their arms. The wheels on the stroller we had given him last year had broken due to the rough gravel roads. We heard from Sierra’s mom that she was not going to be at school for the day.

Once Wilson was settled in his classroom, Korie and some of the guys on the team began working on the ramp into his classroom. The original plan was for a simple ramp that would be attached to the sidewalk with concrete screws that could be removed and moved with him to other classrooms each year. After seeing the layout of the school and the sidewalks, the plans were enhanced to make a “three-way” ramp so that Wilson could go all directions coming out of his classroom.

While the ramp was being built, Nancy, the team PT and Pam, an OT on the team, evaluated Wilson in his classroom how to make the chair work best for him. Helen and Tiffanie helped Nancy and Pam to get the chair cleaned up and adjusted, and then the real fun began!

 

We brought Wilson to a picnic pavilion near his classroom and let him try out the chair. The look that spread across Wilson’s face when he realized that he could propel the chair on his own was priceless! Nancy and Pam made slight adjustments and showed Wilson’s parents how the chair worked, and then Wilson was off! He wanted to race with Doug and the two of them had fun wheeling down the sidewalks.

Others on the team were also able to adapt a desk for Wilson to be able to roll right under it and got it moved into his classroom. All of the teachers and staff at school were so helpful and it was great to see how they and the children all loved Wilson and were happy that he was able to get a chair!

In the aftenoon, the team went to visit Armenia Government School to bring a chair to a girl named, Neymi. She had come to the Access-Life Expo in 2015 and received a chair, but it was getting too small for her and it was not in good shape after three years of use. We found Neymi in her classroom and asked if she’d like a new chair. Her face lit up and she was excited to get fitted for the chair that had been chosen for her.

Korie and the guys got to work on building a simple ramp for Neymi to be able to get to her classroom. Things went quickly with that ramp and it was completed just as school was getting out for the day. Neymi tried it out in the chair and her brother and cousin were there to help take her home.

While the ramp was being built, some of our team put together packets of rice and beans and Bibles to distribute to the school families at dismissal. Many families came to get the packets and were thankful to receive the food. All capping off a great 1st full day in Belize.

Wednesday: Mr. Roland and Ms. Marcelina

The plan for the day was to build a tiered ramp for Edward Roland, who had recently had his right leg amputated. He and his family live in Roaring Creek Village, not far from the Hearts of Christ mission, so Korie and the building guys went to get the materials and headed to the house to get started. Alicia brought Nancy and Nanette over to meet Mr. Roland and to access his need for crutches, walker, wheelchair or a combination of the three. Edward’s wife, Juanita, also cares for their eleven year old granddaughter, Sherise, who has hydrocephalus and his blind.

After meeting the Rolands, Alicia brought Nancy and Nanette to visit Ms. Marcelina to see if she might have a need for a new cane. We found her in a neighbor’s house where she goes during the day, and Nancy talked with her about what would work best for her. Later in the afternoon, we were able to bring her a new cane that had pretty designs on it, which Nancy picked out after seeing some of Ms. Marcelina’s beautiful embroidery work. She loved her new cane and was happy to get it!

After lunch, the team all went back to the Roland’s to deliver a wheelchair, walker and cane, as well as some supplies to help with the care of Sherise. Nancy and Pam showed Edward how to use the equipment to get around in his house and then rolled him to the other side of the house so he could see the ramp that was being finished up. While the guys finished the ramp, Leanne and Sally spent time visiting with the Rolands, while the rest of the team walked around the neighborhood to give out rice. It was great to come back and see the finished ramp and to take a team picture with Edward and Juanita on the ramp.

2017 Jingling and Mingling From Texas to Tennessee and Florida

Well, the Christmas season is upon us and whether or not there is snow in your local forecast, it’s still the most wonderful time of the year! Now, this exciting truth is not because of shopping sales and bonanzas or even beautiful trees and decorations. This time of year is so special because it is when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Savior and King. This is what brings the joy of Christmas to life and why we give gifts, put up lights, sing songs and carols and tend to smile everywhere we go. :)

The great joy from Christmas is also very contagious and so this year we at Access-Life wanted to spread a little “merry, merry, merry Christmas” to our ministry friends and volunteers through a new local Outpost activity called a Jingle and Mingle. Actually, the folks in our East Tennessee Outpost started doing these Christmas celebrations several years ago but this year we thought it would be nice to extend the party to North Texas and West Palm Beach, too.

As a result, through some great area leaders, we hosted three Jingle and Mingles recently that featured a seasonal ice breaker game with prizes, a holiday snowflake craft, festive food and Christmas carols with the nativity story. God brought out 108 attendees in North Texas, 75 people in West Palm Beach and 70 folks in East Tennessee to celebrate Jesus birthday and be refreshed by His presence this holiday season.

We were so thankful for these great turn outs and seeing people Jingling and Mingling for Jesus from TX to TN and FL and hope you enjoy the picture collage from all three areas below. :)

2017 Spring Fling in ETN

Leanne and I were so privileged to be in town for this year’s “Spring Fling” held by Shady Grove Methodist on Saturday. This was the 4th year they have hosted this Access-Life Outpost event and while the weather was cold and rainy outside, the warm presence of the Lord blessed all who attended inside.

It such a blessing seeing folks participate in the carefully thought out, planned and executed crafts like rock painting, leather work, foam cross  and prayer bead activities and of course the variety of games and snack activities including ice cream were popular with everyone. However the group singing time was definitely a highlight for me. It was particularly inspiring seeing the participants sing “Jesus Loves Me” as they learned the sign language motions to go along with the words.

All of these things may seem small and even mundane to many but to God they were important as they encouraged, blessed and fill the lives of those attending with the good and wholesome gifts that He longs to give us all. This fact was brought to my attention in a unique way as at the closing of the activities a mom who had brought her daughter came up to Leanne and I with tears of joy in her eyes saying what a God blessed experience they had in just two short hours there. Our exchange was capped off as her daughter spontaneously sang “Jesus Loves Me” while signing out the words she had just learned.

You know, so many time we are looking for the big, serious or cutting edge things in life to make us feel we are doing something important but make no mistake God shines brightest in the simplest and most basic moments of life. Hopefully, the pictures included here will be a reminder of this humbling truth and encourage each of us to look for God’s presence and working in the wholesome and holy blessings He gives each day.