Rays of Sonshine: Inspiring Hope

As we started preparing for 2017, I felt that God was encouraging us at Access-Life to do more this year to inspire our great team of volunteers from across TN and TX and into FL. Not just to give folks a pat on the back or say, “job well done” (although these are important too!) but rather something to help each and everyone know that they are a valuable part of the ministry and an integral member of the Body of Christ.

I believe God wants you to know you are making a difference for Him and while we won’t always see the impact God brings through our service, it is our hope and prayer that God will enable us to communicate and covey this truth more effectively this year and as long as we serve together reaching people living with disabilities for Jesus. :)

In turn, starting in January, we’ll be posting a special BLOG story each month about a volunteer or participant and how God has impacted their lives through Access-Life and in turn, each of you!

This is a big undertaking as finding these stories of faith, hope and love will require some work and even help from you all. So if you have a testimony, experience or story to share please contact me at doug@access-life.org and we’ll see what we can do to get it written up, backed-up with pictures and posted as an encouragement to others. :)

Be on the lookout for the first Rays of Sonshine post on January 2nd, too.

Jingling and Mingling in ETN and CFL

img_20161217_121053As it is the season for celebrating, our Access-Life Outposts in ETN and CFL recently each held Jingle and Mingle Christmas parties for individual and families with disabilities in their local communities.

img_1249The ETN activity was held on December 10th at the Jefferson City Christian Church and was attended by 50-60 participants and volunteers who shared a light lunch, made a few crafts and fellowshipped through the singing of Christmas carols. It was the 3rd year in a row for the Jingle and Mingle there and folks were definitely in the Christmas mood!

wgk_8694In CFL, while several Outpost Christmas activities have been held in the past, it was the first time an official Jingle and Mingle was held in the Sunshine state. In turn, this more intimate group gathered at the home of Doug and Leanne Goddard this this past Saturday, December 17th but similar to the ETN event, they made a snow flake craft, decorated cookies, shared a light lunch and sang carols. While only numbering about 30-40 attendees, these folks were just as festive and in fact, carried on the party for several hours. :)

img_1252All in all, it is such a privilege to see folks with disabilities active during this great season celebrating the birth of Jesus just like many other typical families and we hope this fact as well as the pictures included encourage you and bring you a special Christmas smile!

Are You Ready for Christmas?

artwork-dg-2011-12-2Christmas is just 10 days away. Are you ready? The season when love came from heaven and salvation was given in the form of a baby boy is about to come to a conclusion. Are you ready? The day when we celebrate God’s greatest gift to us all is almost here. Are you ready?

Are you ready to not only celebrate Jesus’ birth but to honor Him with your whole life all year long?

That is our hope and prayer: to see each of us so grateful for this most wonderous blessing that the joy and peace brought through Jesus into our lives will be an overflowing expression of His presence everyday until Christmas is here again.

Wouldn’t it be awesome for God to bring heaven to earth everyday of the year by the outpouring of His Holy Spirit through the lives of every Believer. A wholesome word spoken, a fitting smile given or a gracious prayer lifted up all in Jesus’ name.

Now that would not only make for a merry Christmas but a happy new year, too.  :)

New Philippians 4:13 Expo Activity Buttons

This year we’ll be offering Philippians 4:13 activity buttons at the Expos for folks participating in the bank fishing, boat rides, archery, kayaking and prayer and care areas.

The emphasis of these small but meaningful gifts is to encourage each person participating that they can do all things through Christ.

Below are the designs for the fun and faithfilled participation awards. :)

2017 Ministry Schedule

logo-ale-2017With January just around the corner, we’ve set our ministry schedule for 2017 and excited to see the great things God will do this coming year. In turn, I’ve listed each event and date below for not only everyone’s information but also, for reference so folks can join us in lifting up these activities to the Lord for His gracious blessing and favor.


  • January 21 – Belize Expologo-apparel-ale-t-shirt-back-2017
  • February 18 – West Palm Beach Expo
  • March 18 – Central Florida Big Wheel Deal
  • April 22 – Jacksonville Expo
  • April 28 – East Tennessee Crafting a Community
  • June 17 – North Texas Expo
  • August 19 – East Tennessee Expo
  • September 15 – Jacksonville Big Wheel Deal
  • November 11 – Central Florida Expo

Thank you for praying and if interested in joining us at any of these venues be sure to go to www.access-life.org for more information and to register. We even have pictures from past events there. :)

Thank you on Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving here today, we wanted to take the time to tell you all how much Leanne and I appreciate you guys and all you do for the ministry. It takes a lot of folks doing a lot of things to effectively reach people living with disabilities with the Love and Gospel of Jesus and we are so thankful for all your prayers, service, sharing and giving. :)

cropped-doug-in-tree-with-lg.jpgIt is our hope that you know that you are making a big difference by being the hands and feet of Jesus to individuals and family members affected by disabilities locally through the Expos, Big Wheel Deals and Outpost activities and we pray that this fact and the verse below encourages you!

But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield. Psalm 5:11-12

Thank you again for being a blessing and Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

The Foundation of Faithfulness

“Great is Thy Faithfulness” is one of my favorite hymns as faithfulness is a core element of our faith. Our faithfulness is so important but God’s faithfulness is the real foundation and rock of our relationship with Him. It’s not what we have done or can do but what God has done through Jesus and the promises He always keeps.

We slip, mess-up and even fall flat on our faces from time to time but God is still faithful. He not only picks us back up, dusts us off with His forgiveness and even carries us until we are able to walk again as He holds our hand and never lets go.

What is even more amazing is that He does all this because He loves us and not because we deserve it. He imparts His holiness, purity, righteousness, protection and provision on us and our lives because of Jesus and what He has done for us.

God who is completely holy, only light and all good faithfully fills and surrounds us with his Holy Spirit enabling us to live a godly life set a part and separate for Him. What an awesome truth that when we believe and walk in it, we can truly say: “I can do all things thru Christ who strengthens me”. Philippians 4:13

Here are a few verses that I hope encourage you in these facts as you walk each day in the loving care of Jesus, your Savior, Redeemer and Friend. :)


Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.  For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1-3

Now glory be to God Who by His mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or dream of– infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts or hopes.  Ephesians 3:20

But I myself am fully convinced about you, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to instruct one another. Romans 15:14

So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. 2 Thessalonians 1:11

And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 1 John 4:16

It [love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:7a

CFL Expo Canceled

logo-ale-cfl-2016We’ll it was sad to have to cancel our 1st Expo ever today in CFL but everyone has been very supportive and understanding of the weather circumstances.

With the weather forecasts getting so bad, Leanne and I actually drove up to TN on Thursday as being without power, AC, etc. is not good for me. Hopefully, we’ll be heading back to FL in the next few days assuming the storm does not track back around again.

As we all seek to regroup in so many ways from the impacts of hurricane Matthew, I hope the following verse encourages you as it has me:

Now glory be to God Who by His mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or dream of– infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts or hopes.”  Ephesians 3:20

Here is a copy of the announcement for more specifics.

After LOTS of prayer and seeking counsel from others, it is with a sad heart that we have decided due to weather and safety concerns regarding hurricane Matthew that we are canceling the outreach planned for this Saturday. Leanne and I are very much on the side of “with God all things are possible” but believe it is His best for the Expo and all involved to not do anything that might result in injury or undue hardship on others in this situation.

Although the weather for event day is still projected to be good, the day before when we set-up things is when the hurricane’s impact is to be at it’s highest for the Central Florida area. It would not only be unwise but unsafe to attempt to set-up anything in these forecasted conditions. Setting up at 2am to 8am on Saturday morning is also not an option due to the unavailability of the needed number of people to accomplish the task. Several support groups that help execute the Expo on Saturday are also not available due to weather related issues and we have received feedback from others that many participants as well as volunteers may be dealing with aftermath and clean up challenges Saturday which has further confirmed our decision that it is best to cancel this year’s event.

We have reached out to the City of Ocoee about rescheduling but the park is booked through Thanksgiving. In turn, regrouping to have the Expo one of following weekends is not an option. It takes six months of planning and preparation to execute each outreach together so putting the logistics pieces back together and reorganizing volunteers in such a short time even if we had a site would be a monumental task.

Finally, we will be sending out an eblast to everyone preregistered as well as our whole area contact list informing folks of the changes today and tomorrow so please help us communicate this folks you know who were planning to be involved. Feel free to email us with any questions and we’ll keep everyone in the loop on the process specifics.

Thank you to everyone for the prayers, feedback, concern and support. God is good. Please stay safe and dry, too!

2nd Big Wheel Deal in JAX

What a great game Friday night! The BLUE team won this year 34-20 but the MVP came from the GREEN team so things balanced out. The free throw contestants including a group from Hope Haven (after they were welcomed into the concert next door for an hour) really displayed both determination and heart in the half-time competition, too.

From the many volunteers who helped in so many areas and the Christ’s Church staff who gracious hosted us to the players from Brooks REHAB, Christ’s Church, Raiford Road Church, etc. and the many free throw contestants, God graciously blessed all of us who attended. We really missed not having any cheerleaders this year and could have used a few more fans in the stands but the ICAN-GAROO and CFA Cow mascots added some great sideline fun as did ICAN-Woman, Jenette.

Also, RPM Automotive, CFA and Moon Pie were awesome sponsors providing great prizes for folks as well as some nutritious water and delicious food and assuming all the pledges are honored we’ll have raised $2,349 which is almost double what was brought in last year. PTL, as this was the purpose of the event and will help us reach more folks living with disabilities in JAX with the love and Gospel of Jesus at the Expo in April!

Leanne and I so appreciate the support so many of you all have provided through your prayers, giving, networking and service and hope you know that you are being the hands and feet of Jesus helping Him touch and change lives as only He can.

Hope you enjoy the photo collage!