May 2009

Samuel is call for a purpose

Camp 2009

Speak Lord I am Ready to Listen 

When I was a young child, my mother didn’t like to yell for us so she would go outside and blow the horn to the car.  When we heard the car horn blowing, we knew that our mother wanted us to come home.  Even though we were children we knew that if Mama was calling us, she wanted SOMETHING.  We would run home, burst into the house and ask, “What do you want?” Have a member read, I Samuel 3:9.

  1. Tell the story of how God called Samuel.  God called him three times before Eli realized that God wanted to speak to Samuel.  God had a purpose for Samuel.
    1. He was a child but God knew how he would use him.
    2. After God spoke to Samuel.  He went back to work opening the doors to the tabernacle.  His life didn’t change right away.

      II.  This is my 20th camp.  On June 1, 20 years ago, I came to work for Special Gathering..

            A. But God had called me 20 years before that.  I was reading a book about a lady who ministered to people with disabilities before WWII.  I started to cry.  I didn‘t understand.  God spoke to my heart.

            B. Like Samuel, God had called me.  But God wants you to know that you are also called by God for a purpose.

     III.  I don’t know what your purpose is.  I do know that God will use you in the way he made you.  We are going to look at the gifts that God has given us this weekend. 

            A. God will use you and your gifts for your purpose.

            B. But the key is to be like Samuel and be willing to listen and obey.

Conclusion:  Samuel was a small child.  His mind wasn’t completely developed.  But God said, “I will use you for a purpose.”  God wants to use you also.  He has a purpose for your life.

Distribution from the Association of Support Coordination Agencies:

We have gathered some very important information and are providing to all Support Coordinators to help with the issues related to individuals receiving needed services and their rights to pursue legal solutions to the issues.

Date: Sun, 24 May 2009 09:19:07 -0400



Subject: Re: Complaint and Mtn for Preliminary Injunction All headers The Advocacy Center through Southern Legal Counsel has file a Class Action Law suit Against APD and AHCA for Denying Administrative Hearings for Developmental Disability Waiver recipients.

The Suit Was filed on Friday May 22, 2009. There were five named members of the class in other suit but the suit represents all individuals under the DD waiver who have been Denied an Administrative Hearing regarding Tier Placement. It also includes those individuals who received a Final Order Closing File.

The injunction, if granted, would reinstate services for all state wide pending the resolution of the suit. However, that decision will come sometime after the 30 days to file a Notice of Appeal in your state District Cout of Appeals. You should continue with the Notice of Appeal for your clients incase the Class action does not prevail.

You can go on the Website of the District court in your area and get information for Filing the notice of Appeal. Florida Legal Services may be able to help. Apply in your area. The filing fee is $300,00. Once the Notice of Appeal is filed, the clerk of the court will send our a request for the filing fees. You have 20 days to obtain a statement of indigency and the fees will be waived.

If the Class Action Prevails then all will be covered statewide. This action applys only to Denial of the Hearing request and not the hearing itself. If you prevail in either the State court or the class action you should be granted the Hearing. The question of Tier Assignment will not be settled in either of these forums. Services for those individuals who have recieved Final Orders have had their current services ended in ABC on the date 20 days after the date of the Final Order.

WSC’s will have to create a new prorated cost plan from that new end date to 063009 to comply with the tier assigned. No one will get paid until this is done. Cost plans for 070109 to 063010 have not yet been changed. You should file an amendment for those changes under the tier as well. WSC’s should advise thier affected clients accordingly.

Some helpful web sites might be: Go to go to the court listed in your area. Click on Self Help. click on Informationand Notice of Appeal. Call the local clerk. Also type in FAQ on this web site for more information. 

To find information on intake and services through the Advocacy Center

First, if at all possible, DON’T do it.  However, if God has called you to minister within the mentally challenged community then you probably have no choice.  Then you should understand that it’s impossible unless you are surrounded by lots and lots of Hurs. 

You remember the story taken from Exodus.  Moses was to hold his arms in air as the children of Israel fought the enemy.  However, when he became so tired that he could no longer hold up his arms, Hur held them up for him. 

This Friday, as camp began I was surrounded by 24 amazing Hurs.  They toated and fetched and carried and struggled, pushed and pulled from 8:00 in the morning until about midnight.  Slowly they wandered into the top of a hard bunk bed and slept for five or six hours only to get up and do it again the next day.

How do you thank people who are more gracious than you could ever imagine?  Can you ever show enough appreciation for people who give until there is nothing to give and then give some more? 

Of course, not.  Only God can reward and thank them properly.

Until recently, he was a member of Special Gathering and part of our deacons and leadership team.  However, last January he began attending another church.  “I’ll come to camp,” he told everyone.  Of course, he didn’t get any forms fill out and no money paid.

However, last night he was telling everyone that he was going to camp.  Two days before camp isn’t the time to decide that you want to go.  Most people have no idea the volume of details that are involved in holding a camp for persons with developmental disabilities.  The transportation issues, the medications, the emergency hospital visits that interrupt good intentions.  And, naturally, the increasing expenses.

Then there is the complicated messiness of dealing with the professional community.  Almost 100 percent the people who work in this field are dedicated and self-sacrificing.  Most of them could hold important positions making a great deal more money than they make doing social work.  However, there are always the few who cared too much.  Their flame of compassion burned too bright for a while then it was slowly extinguished by extremely long hours and not enough pay.   They have “social worker’s disease.” 

It would appear logically that these wonderful and caring people would find another field of endeavor.  Yet, they seem to hang on too long, perhaps hoping to regain the zeal that once drove them into this field in the first place. 

Yesterday, I was angry enough to spit at a couple of people who no long care for their consumers.   Today, I began praying for them and I remembered that these were the same people who were so amazingly efficient only a couple of years ago.  These were the ones who always went the extra mile to insure that the men and women they serviced were given the best. 

Tonight, as I worked into the night and early morning, I could feel their weariness.  Now, it’s too late to be writing but there are several young women who need prayer and so I’m spending a couple of extra minutes to pray for them.  Perhaps you’ve joined the ranks of the people with “social workers disease.”  Let me assure you the God cares for you and He wants to help you with whatever you are dealing with today. 

What do you think can be done to overcome the burn out that sometimes overtakes caring and good people?  Have you ever experienced those feelings of helplessness and hurt?  What did you do to overcome them?

Which is harder keeping promises we make to ourselves or keeping the promises we make to others?  I’m not sure.  When my children were small, I tried to never promise or commit myself to do something unless I was sure that I could fulfill that commitment.  I’ve tried to do that with myself also.  I try to keep in mind the parable Jesus told about counting the cost before you build a tower.

When my children were smaller and my husband was working, I had to be sure that I kept promises made to them.  At this point in my life, I find that it is the promises that I make to myself that are paramount in my life.  Sometimes the promises are large.  Sometimes the promises seem small.  Either way, I try to keep those promises.

A year ago, I committed myself to a daily blog entry.  Mostly, I’ve been able to keep that commitment.  Today, it was hard, extremely hard.  My day was overwhelmed with Camp Agape projects which begins Friday, May 22 and ends Monday, May 25.  At 5pm, I walked back into my office with a sense of accomplishment.  I had purchased all the needed last minute supplies.  Almost every thing had been found as a sale item.  It was a good day.  I had crossed off nearly everything on my list.

There is still hours of work to do.  However, I can see that I’ll be able to accomplish the things needed and still get some sleep the next two nights. 

Years ago, Richard Stimson, the executive director of Special Gathering, Inc., said to me, “Linda, people like us need to be sure that the ministry we do doesn’t take the place of our commitment to our God.”  That has become a personal goal for me but there is always a note of caution.  Therefore, when things go well and I can almost see God’s hand moving to orchestrate a good day in Special Gathering ministry, I’m excited.

Thank you, Lord for moving and working in our lives.  We don’t deserve a wonderful Savior like You.  But, of course, you know that already and you still love, protect and guide us.  Thank you. 

Sometimes there is no one to blame.  In life, we crave neat packages that revolve around a good guy and a bad guy.  God has known since He created mankind that there is enough blame to go around–“All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”  Nevertheless, we desire for life’s story to have a climax that ends with the good guys swimming in victory and the bad guys going to a deserted island with no avenue of escape for a lifetime.  Our day-to-day experiences aren’t always that razor clean.

I received a heart-wrenching phone call yesterday.  “Eve is dying.”  I recognized Morris’ choked voice, desperately trying to hold back the tears.  “She’s in Tampa in a Hospice home.’  After a long pause, he said, ” Now no one else can hurt her, especially me.”

“We’ll go see her after camp,” I promised.  No more had to be said.

My history with Morris and Eve goes back more than 15 years.  When I first met them, they were living in a small house.  It is amazingly neat, with everything picked up and polished though the bathroom was broken and horrible. The carpet sported about an inch of sand because they didn’t own a vacuum.  However, someone had picked up every speck of lint and trash from the floor.  They had lived together for years.

Both the sister and the brother had developmental disabilities, Eve suffered from other psychological problems.  But their life was happy and full.  They cut grass for a living and as charity for their elderly neighbors.  Their neighborhood was filled with older men and woman who had moved to Florida for the sunshine and no income taxes. 

Their neighbors’ families were up north with full lives.  There was no one to take care of these sickly senior citizens, except Eve and Morris.  They cleaned, cooked and did yard work–not for pay but because “they need it done.  Somebody has to do it.”

Through the generous efforts of a lady who had met them in the grocery store, social services got involved.  Slowly, their life changed.  Eve was put into a day program–to help her cope.  Morris was left alone all day.  The sickly conditions of their neighbors accelerated.  Their social worker went on a campaign to get them to move from the neighborhood.  At first, they resisted.  Then one-by-one their neighbors died.  Finally, their rented house was put up for sale.  They were evicted.

Another social worker connected them with a lender who could get them into their own home with nothing down and a small monthly payment.  Of course, the payments would eventually increase but she explained,  “They can worry about the larger payments, when that time comes.”   But everything was more expensive in this new house and neighborhood. 

With Eve in a day program she was no longer able to help Morris with the lawn service.  He had to quit because of a existing a heart condition.  Their income was cut.  New pressures of increased bills that they couldn’t  afford pushed the brother and sister from their peaceful life of care and concern for others to arguments that became shouting matches.  Eve often hit Morris.  At times, he hit back.

The social worker and the day program began to push that Eve become a permanent resident of the psyc program.  Finally, the pressure was too great and Eve moved in, leaving her brother.  Without her disability check, Morris couldn’t pay the bills.  He lost his home and moved on the streets.

Several people tried to help but Morris used them and broke their trust.  Eve was moved from one terrible institutional setting to another.  Finally, Morris was settled into a small home with a young couple who take care of him.  Eve was lost to us–until yesterday.

“You know I never wanted to hurt her,”  Morris said. 

“I know,” I said, fighting tears along with my friend.  “We’ll go to Tampa next week,” I promised. 

“Thank you,” Morris’ voice strained.  We hung up.

Who is at fault?  An overly zealous social service agency?  Eve?  Morris?  The lender?  Me?  The answer is  no one and, perhaps, everyone.  I thank God that He takes the Morris’ and the Eve’s in lives and He brings peace where no one else can.

Who are the Eve’s and Morris’ in your lives?  How do you allow God to lead them and help them?  Are you overly protective?  Or do you do too little to help them?

Yesterday, my computer system somehow got messed up.  I was without my computer for more than 24 hours.  I had not backed up my work in months.  I cannot tell you all the kajillion hours of work I would have lost had it been unrepairable. 

Additionally, I cannot tell you all the things I could not do without my computer.  Again and again, I went into my office to check on something or to type a note or an envelop.  Only to sit down and remember my computer was gone.

It was as though there was a piece of me missing.  Of course, I’ve gone days and even weeks without my computer but that was because I was out of town or I chose to not work.  This was different.  Camp Agape is four days away.  There are 100 people that I’m responsible for.  I had things I really needed to do.  I could not do them. 

We were studying Gideon in our Bible lesson today.  I leaned heavily on the message of Gideon.  God called him a man of valor even though he was scared out of his britches.  As scared as I was yesterday, God helped me to be brave.  This, of course, sounds silly to anyone who hasn’t experienced  this kind of loss of work. 

I must admit I wondered again, if this may be something of what our members at Special Gathering may feel.  As though a piece is missing that should be there.  Mentally challenged people understand that there are large parts of themselves that is out of balance–not quite plumb.  That is how I felt.  This morning as I stood in front of these wonderful folks, I told them they make me feel brave.  And that is the truth.

I thank God for people who can encourage me because of their bravery and strength, especially when that bravery shines through in their weakness.

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