Crafting a Community in ETN

LOGO - ALF CAC

I wanted to share what great banquet we had last April 21st! The food was great, the decorations were beautiful, the performances were fun, the auction items were awesome and the testimonies were encouraging. There were lots of new church and volunteer connections, too. What I liked most was the fact that so many people with disabilities were given an opportunity to be included and shine at the event. It was definitely a God blessed success! 

On the financial end of things we were down quite a bit from last year but we know God will be faithful to provide all that is needed. Overall the gifts were down by about $3,000 and the auction purchases were down by about $1,000. Our matching gift was up by about $2,000 though so overall we were  just $2,000 down from last year.

All in all, please know that Leanne and I so appreciate each of you and all you did to make things happen. We know God is faithful and will provide all we need!

Big Wheels Roll in CFL

We had our 3rd annual Big Wheel Deal wheelchair basketball fundraiser in CFL this past Saturday and for the 1st time it was a not just a game but a tournament. In fact, we we had nearly 50 players in all including those who normally use wheelchairs and those who don’t mixed on each of the 4 teams!

We were also blessed with nearly 40 volunteers who served popcorn, pizza, cotton candy and snow cones, took pictures, sold AL apparel and manned our ministry INFO and pledge table as well as helped things run smoothly on the administration side of things. There was even an appearance by the AL mascot “I Kan” garoo keeping the fans, MC and referees on their toes.

The championship game featured the presentation of the colors by the Edgwater High School ROTC following our opening prayer and then our national anthem was sung by Detective Duane Hunt from the Ocoee Police. Homemade trophies and prize baskets were awarded afterwards including special items for those who participated in the halftime free throw contest for folks living with disabilities.

A photo collage is below so you can see the smiles and some of the action. :)

COLLAGE - 2016-3 BWD CFL

A New Friend Named Eli by Nanette Ryan

During one of our team conference calls before we went to Belize, one of the women with Hearts of Christ in East Tennessee told us about Eli, a man who had been in a wheelchair for several years due to an accident, and had become a Christian this past December. He was mentioned as someone to pray for as we prepared for the trip and to let us know that he would be one of the people we’d be building a ramp for while we were in Belize.

On Tuesday morning of our trip, we headed out to the village of Ontario to meet Eli and to distribute packets of rice and beans to the people in the village. When we drove up, Eli was on the porch working on someone’s bicycle tire (he repairs bikes for a living). After they finished, Korie made the introductions and the builders got to work removing the old ramp (the porch remained, but was reinforced). We saw some frogs that lived under the ramp and uncovered the hiding place of a tarantula, which caused some excitement, especially when the tarantula appeared again later in the process!

While the ramp was being built, Eli and Doug, who has also been living with a disability for many years, were able to spend time talking and getting to know each other, sharing their stories. Eli told Doug, “I’ve lived for 13 years since my accident and have never met another person in a wheelchair.” Eli was able to see how God has worked in Doug’s life despite his disability, and that he can be used by God to encourage others as well.

Later, some of the Hearts of Christ team told us about when they met Eli and shared Christ with him. Eli didn’t think that he could become a Christian because he didn’t know anything about God. They told him that he only had to repent and believe and that he could learn more as he spent time with the Lord. Eli said, “I finally decided it was better to live for God than live for nothing.”

Our team was also able to bring Eli a new manual wheelchair to use while he works and also repaired a motorized wheelchair that Eli had already owned, but needed updating. Eli was appreciative of the new “wheels” as well as the ramp and porch and the other practical items that the team brought him. There was also some places in the flooring in his house that needed to be repaired and the team was able to take care of that to make it easier for Eli to maneuver around inside.

Eli was another person we met who told us that he had prayed for God to send help and that we were an answer to his prayer. Thankfully, we have a Good Father who sees our need, and hears and answers our cries for help!

COLLAGE - 2016-1 BLZ RAMP 2

A Visit to Ms. Mary’s House by Nanette Ryan

On Tuesday morning, we headed into Belmopan to the home of Ms. Mary. She had come home from the hospital the day before, after having her second leg amputated below the knee due to diabetes. When we drove up to her house, her sister greeted us and we explained that we had come to build a ramp for Ms. Mary’s house and visit with her, if she was feeling up to it.

After a few minutes, we were shown inside to visit with Ms. Mary in her room (not everyone went in at once). She was sitting up on her bed and greeted us with a smile and was so excited to hear about the new ramp. We learned that her pastor and friends had made the arrangements with Korie, so it was a surprise to Ms. Mary. 

One of our team members, John Deeds, who owns a medical supply store and is experienced with fitting people with wheelchairs, talked with Ms. Mary and then he and a couple of team members went back to the Hearts of Christ mission to see what we had that would be a good fit for Ms. Mary. The rest of us stayed and prayed with Ms. Mary and heard a little of her story and the ramp-building began.

Ms. Mary’s faith and trust in God was evident and she told us that she believed that she had lost her legs for a reason and that God is good. Ms. Mary said that she had been praying for God to send her help and she knew He would come through. What a blessing she was to us and we had gone in thinking we needed to encourage her! 

With it being our first ramp of the week, there was a little trial and error, and one minor injury, but soon the workers were in their groove and the platform and ramp began to take shape. As it was getting completed, John and the others came back with a motorized wheelchair for Ms. Mary and got it cleaned up and looking good for her. Also, Nancy (our team Physical Therapist) and Ashley (our nurse) were able to spend time with Ms. Mary, showing her some strengthening exercises and gave her some medical supplies.

When the ramp was finished, we all went back to see Ms. Mary and brought her the chair. She was so thrilled and surprised that she was going to be able to leave her bed and her house with the help of the chair! John and Nancy helped Ms. Mary get into the chair and gave her some “driving” lessons. Then we asked her if she would like to go outside. She wanted to go check out her new ramp! 

As she wheeled through the door and out onto the porch, she was so excited to get out in the sunshine and said that she wanted to sit outside the rest of the afternoon and wave at everyone passing by! She had originally thought that she wouldn’t be able to get outside until her legs had healed and she got her prostheses. Being able to have a wheelchair and leave her house gave her freedom to even go to the store in her neighborhood by herself. 

Ms. Mary was able to come to the Expo on Saturday and enjoy the activities and being out among her friends. She told Alicia, “Some people want the blessing, but not the Blesser. I have both!”

God used our team to bless Ms. Mary and she blessed us above and beyond our expectations!

COLLAGE - 2016-1 BLZ RAMP 1

Jingle and Mingle in East Tennessee

2015-12 ETN (3)Well, the ministry’s final activity of 2015 was our annual East Tennessee Outpost Christmas Jingle and Mingle and this year God blessed us with over 90 participants and 40 volunteers! Folks enjoyed good food, a fun craft, Christmas carols, participant gifts and fun fellowship that night and many in the community with disabilities experience the love of God through Christmas in a new and special way.

Below are a few picture so everyone can see the smiles. :)

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2015-12 ETN (33)2015-12 ETN (16)

Jacksonville Big Wheel Deal

Well, we held our 1st ever Big Wheel Deal wheelchair basketball game in JAX and from the players, contestants, dance team and cheerleaders to the fans, blue/green girl and kangaroo, it was a God blessed success full of fun and fellowship!

The scoring was a little slim with the GREEN TEAM winning 16-8 over the BLUE TEAM but wow, what hustle and heart they all showed on the court even getting up again and again and again from flips, falls and wheels falling off. 

Below is a photo collage highlighting some of the action and I hope you enjoy the smiles.

COLLAGE - 2015-11 BWD JAX

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. :)

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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)

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.

Big Deal at the Big Wheel Deal

Well, the green team (Orange County) made it back to back championships on Friday night with a 30-14 win over my hometwown Blue team (Lake and Outer Area Counties) but the evening was still full of lots of fans, all kinds of fun and God’s blessings just the same.

In fact, if everyone fullfills their pledges, we’ll have raised over $3,000 for the CFL Expo this coming October. PTL! While this is less than last year, it is still a HUGE blessing that will give us a great start for the area outreach fund.

Leanne and I wnt to thank everyone who prayed, played, volunteered, networked, pledged and suported this great event. We so appreciate you all and hope God blessed everyone involved in a special way.

Below is a photo collage of the big night so enjoy and again, thank you!

 

COLLAGE - 2015-3 CFL BWD