LDN- Fall Newsletter 2020
Not that it needs to be repeated any further, but man, has this been a crazy year. In our wildest dreams or nightmares would we have been able to foresee the events of 2020. But here we are. COVID-19 has changed our focus and has left each of us in a world of uncertainty.
For Lift Disability Network the challenges of 2020 began prior to the international events of a pandemic. In January the ministry offices in Missouri were officially closed. With the inability to underwrite the program financially, our staff members and families began the process of discovering new opportunities. This was not an easy decision by our board or leadership, but one that we felt was necessary for the future of our ministry.
Following these decisions there was a personal loss for our cofounder Rhonette Hukill. She lost her grandmother, 94, a staple and influential part of her life. Shortly after returning from the memorial services, the pandemic began to spread through our country. As with everyone, this added a whole new level of uncertainty and challenge.
Through all of this, our board and leadership had three guiding statements. First, we wanted everyone to know that the ministry was here, and we were activated to serve. Secondly, during this time we knew the struggle was going to be intense, and that loneliness was going to immensely impact the families we serve. Finally, we were determined to let the voice of resilience be heard. Our families know the struggle of adversity. They know the power of resilience
As you read this newsletter, we hope that you will see engagement, freedom from isolation, and hear, loudly, the voice of resilience. We will overcome!
2020 Summer Breakaway Camp Went Virtual!
One of the most difficult decisions our leadership team has ever made was to cancel our annual Breakaway event. Without a doubt it is the most popular program and ministry outreach we do each year. But, as the Coronavirus marched across our land, we knew that it just wasn’t going to be possible to have everyone join us for Breakaway 2020.
Never in our wildest imagination could we have dreamt of what was about to take place when we began to cast the Breakaway vision in the summer of 2019. As is our tradition, we announce our theme for the following year at the conclusion of our annual event. July 2019 we announce that our theme for 2020 would be RISE.
As we spent time praying and considering our next step (often with tears in our eyes), hope began to emerge from our team. Two months away from our targeted event date, hunkered down in our homes, we decided to not just take it on the chin. We decided to RISE from our ruin and try something different with our camp. Man, are we glad we did!
Below you’re going to read the effects of our virtual camp and see the impact that four, 12 hour days, on the computer can make. It was, simply, a week of miracles. We are so grateful to the many volunteers, technicians, and leaders that worked tirelessly so that we could RISE.
“Now that breakaway camp has come to an end, I wanted to take a moment to share with you some thoughts.
We’ve been in quarantine since March 12th. In the beginning Britt was adapting as she usually does to anything in life, but as the months passed, I started to see a decline in her demeanor, her thought process, and her beautiful personality.
Truth be told I didn’t know what to expect out of an online summer camp, partly because in person camp was way beyond my expectations. How could anyone pull off a summer camp via Zoom?
You always seem to pull a rabbit out of your hat, and once again you didn’t disappoint. Camp brought my daughter back to life in ways I can’t even describe.
She was laughing, engaged, excited. The way you and your staff worked tirelessly to ensure every person had the best time was beautiful. Listening to the voices of the other kids going through my house all day was so uplifting and joyful. Those kids had the best time! I don’t know where you pull this out of, but wherever that is, don’t ever stop.”
– Jan and Britt
“So I just wanted to say how much Virtual Breakaway Camp changed my life! I wanted to say thanks to Pastor Ryan and Pastor Chris. I was so happy to be part of it making new friends and be able to rededicate my life to Christ! It was the best camp I have ever been to. I can’t wait till next year!! Thanks to Mrs. Rhonette and Mr. Jim and Pastor Ryan and Pastor Chris.”
Breakaway 2020 couldn’t have come at a better time for our family. On June 23rd we found ourselves staying safe at home for close to 15 long weeks. Our camp box of supplies had arrived a few days prior and Kristin excitedly sifted through the materials in anticipation of her very first ‘camp’…….and Lift did not disappoint!
These four days provided our family with times of much needed prayer and quiet reflection, fun crafts and activities, and a chance to connect with old friends and make new ones!
We thank Lift Disability Network for being there for our family during these uncertain times.
– Costanzo Family
Difficult times are often a blessing in disguise. There is no doubt that 2020 has brought difficult times to everyone. It has been a year like no other in our lifetime. But, God tells us in His Word, that He works all things together for good. Our family began to experience a more difficult season in June 2017 when our daughter, Katie, became ill. Despite our efforts, and those of her many physicians, she has remained ill and medically complex since that time. Katie and I have spent many days, nights, and even weeks at a time in the hospital. With the arrival of COVID-19 this year, our time away in the hospital became even more complicated. Spending days and weeks in the hospital isolated from friends and family can be difficult, but in true GOD fashion, He showed up in an amazing way, to turn our difficult time into a blessing. If Breakaway would have been held as usual, there is no way that Katie and I would have been able to participate. In fact, we were actually experiencing one of those hospital stays during the week of camp. But, God had a much better plan. He takes what the enemy intends for our harm and turns it into something beautiful. He turned it into Virtual Breakaway.
Each day I logged into the Virtual Sessions in the morning and was able to participate in all the activities. We were able to watch chapel services, participate in breakout sessions, and feel connected to friends we have missed. In fact, we were even able to share Breakaway with Katie’s Therapists and use their assistance to help Katie participate by painting our family banner. God’s provision never ceases to amaze me.
– Feran Family
New Virtual Programs
A Whole New World
The experience and subsequent results from our virtual Breakaway gave our ministry a lot to consider. First, it was amazing how many people really built relationships through a virtual experience and that we could reach people from many places of life. Not only did we see an increase in participation, but the involvement came from many states and, even, countries.
Secondly, we saw that we were missing a whole group of folks that we were not reaching. Many individuals and families cannot leave their home, even outside of a pandemic experience. We discovered that we must look at alternative ways to touch people. Going forward we needed to develop opportunities through virtual connections and new technology interfaces with our programs. This discovery will change everything we do from now on.
So, we began to design new programming to keep our families engaged and to expand our outreach. The impact of this newsletter will be the result of many of our new ministry approaches. We are changed by this experience and many of our adaptations are here to stay. Check out our website and all the new weekly and monthly programs.
Join us for one of our ongoing virtual programs…
We have multiple weekly and monthly programs guaranteed to make you laugh and bring you joy! It’s a chance to develop new and old friendships.
Look a program that fits you!
“I didn’t realize how much I missed silliness. Just intentional fun. And randomness! And all that is required of me is to show up. It’s been a great way to break up the monotony of our weekly routine. And to talk about something other than the very serious issues our country is facing. It’s a nice break from reality and a great way to connect with some amazing individuals. In March our schedule went from being overflowing to almost nothing. At first it was a welcomed break. But I didn’t fully realize how the void of casual human contact had taken a toll on my mental health. Breakaway Camp brought such a needed revival and restoration of joy and life. After Camp it was like I went through withdrawal. These scheduled fun events on my weekly calendar are just the fix I need!”
Rotary Medical Equipment Bank
Lift Disability Network is committed to leaving an impression on the community we live in. One way we’ve done that is to partner with the Winter Garden Rotary Club and operate their medical equipment bank out of our office. Individuals can come in and borrow medical equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers, shower chairs and many more items, free of charge. The impression that’s left when someone receives a piece of medical equipment is exactly the sort of impact we want to have in our community- meeting a need. Here’s a story from one person who recently came in for some medical equipment.
Jennifer called the office looking for some information on how she could get a wheelchair for her brother who needed one. He was unable to move around the house without the fear of falling, much less get out into the community. She came into the office and in talking with her, it became evident that there was more of a need than just a wheelchair. Through the medical equipment bank, Jennifer left the office almost in tears of joy with a wheelchair, walker, shower seat and bedside commode for her brother to use. All free of charge.
After she got home, Jennifer sent us an email and I wanted to share some of what she said with you.
“When I was able to bring him the wheelchair and everything you provided, the smile and look from him was priceless! He now has hope and can participate in our family’s activities freely. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kindness and for helping people in need.”
If you or someone you know is in need of medical equipment, please call us at (407) 457-7561.
– A. Vacca
Created to Be Creative
Bible Journaling Class
In the beginning God created… (Genesis 1:1) I have always loved this text. I love it even more now that I understand that I was created to be creative by a very creative God. Let me share a little of why.
Prior to COVID-19 turning our world upside down, once a month I would meet with a group of ladies at the LIFT office for a time of fellowship and Bible Journaling.
To a person passing by and glancing through the glass door all they would probably see would be grown women playing with paints, stamps, watercolors, scissors and a bunch of art supplies.
Nothing could be further from the truth. For us, Bible Journaling became a time to chat, share, laugh and at times cry. Building relationships, all while illustrating in our bibles our walk with the Lord, creating visual reminders of God’s faithfulness and promises in his word.
Fast forward 5 months, we continue to meet, only now, via ZOOM. Friends from outside of Florida have joined our monthly gathering. These women, my friends, teach me so much. I have seen a mom join us from her child’s hospital room while her child sleeps after a difficult and challenging night. Other’s from their kitchen tables. Each and everyone of them pouring into my life by their example. What started off as a very challenging time in the history of our world, the Lord has used and continues to use for his glory. While the world continues to learn to live in the middle of a pandemic, we will continue to creatively document all that the Lord is teaching us.
– D. Reyes
2020 Fall Campaign
Despite the present day, crazy time we are in, Lift Disability Network is committed to leaving a MARK on our community. Our team, our volunteers are all committed to making a difference in the lives of families living with disability. Together, with a strong support team, this ministry will survive and thrive through the immediate and long-term crises impacting our country and world. Will you empower lives to live reMARKable! The moment to leave an impression is now!
As COVID-19 has left its ‘MARK’ on our world, it is also writing a new script for our ministry. Primarily, our program delivery models are changing. Check our article on new virtual programming. Additionally, our fundraising methods have been changing as well. The pandemic has impacted our ability to do normal, in-person events that have traditionally produced needed supplements to our budget. The pandemic has limited our access to build new partnerships and corporate involvement through our normal in-person practices. Finally, one big issue is that many of our personal/private donors have experienced loss of jobs and impaired income. That is why we have launched a fall campaign to bridge the gap in our fundraising efforts.
Lift Disability Network is a reMARKable mission! We hear that through the stories and lives of those we touch and the partnerships we gain along the way. Now, more than ever, we need others to raise their voice and champion this cause by giving from their heart to help us continue our mission. Specifically, we are graciously asking for individuals and families to make a monthly commitment of any size to Lift.
It has been a devastating year for our operating budgets and has required us to find resources to meet the challenge. Now we turn to, you, our community and extend our hand for you to join in this vision.
Be reMARKable by linking arms to reach the goals of this campaign: Goal #1, 20 new monthly donors; Goal #2, Raise $30,000 by October 31.