July 2011

Learning the Bible changes lives

Psalm 119:11

Central Theme:  The Bibles changes lives.  There are many ways that we can learn about the Bible. 

Introduction–I have a friend, named Margaret, who wanted to read the Bible.  She prayed and prayed.  Finally, the program she attending decided to teach her to read.  She was able to do read the Bible!  She now reads the Bible any many other things.  My dad did not learn to read for many years.  Like Margaret, that did not stop him.  He started listening to the Bible on tape.  Then he started reading the Bible along with listening to the tape.  Soon he could read better.  He became a very good reader.  The important thing is to learn the Bible.  It will change your life. 

                    Have a member read Psalm 119:1.

       I.     Tell the story of Philip and the Eunich.

          A. A Eunich has a disability; he could not have children.

          B. The Eunich learned about Jesus from the Bible.

      II.     Learning God‘s word is important and helps us to know that we are doing things that are bad.

              A. It helps us to know how to live right-.

              B. It helps us to learn how to get along with others.

    III.     There are many ways to learn God‘s word.

              1.  Tim never did learn how to read but that did not stop him from learning the Bible.

              2.  He always came to church.

              3.  He memorized Bible verses.

              4.  He listened to tapes to be able to hear God‘s word.

              5.  He would attend discipleship classes

Conclusion:   God wants us to learn his Word.  It will change our lives.

By Michelle Demeree

Jesus is coming through the door.

Are you afraid?  You do not need to be.

Do you know, who is good all the tiem?

Let me tell you.

It is Jesus.

So let’s raise up our hand

and our hearts.

Let us search for him and

find out how much

He loves us.


Florida Institute of Technology



 invites you to our inaugural  Open House

Saturday, August 20, 2011

10 a.m.–Noon

Tour the center, talk to staff, learn about our programs and meet other families!

Food, music and bounce house provided. Also, Very Special Arts Brevard, which specializes in adaptive art equipment, will be offering art projects for attendees.

RSVP to the Scott Center at (321) 674-8106 x.1


One of my favorite childhood memories is having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch on the back steps of our house.  Often my brother or sister would be sitting beside me.  Occasionally, one of my parents would join the conclave.  Some days when our numbers grew to four or five,  someone would have to leave the steps and prance around the back yard balancing conversation, silliness, a glass of iced tea and the treasured sandwich. 

Picnics were normal during our childhood.  Because we never had potato chips or Cocoa-Cola in our home, the three siblings knew that if either item appeared in the weekly groceries, purchased on Friday, a picnic was coming on Saturday.  Usually on those Fridays, Mama would not let us go into the Piggly Wiggly to see her buy the groceries.  We would stand outside waiting.  As we saw her approaching the check out register, we would press our faces again the window.  Our hands would shield our faces from the piercing sunshine.  As soon as one of us saw the picnic items being processed, we would let out a victory cheer and the fravolity would begin.

As soon as the Saturday chores were finished,  our family of five would squeeze into our mini-auto; and we would ride down Dorchester Road.  Daddy parked off the road where one of the many creeks flowed under the highway and we spent the day at Daddy’s fictitious Kalamazoo.

Daddy and the three siblings would splash in the creek while Mama laid out the blanket and the lunch.  Sandwiches were our feast.  Chips were our delicacies and Cocoa Cola was the most delicious drink ever created.  We never shook our Cokes until they spewed out of the bottle.  The caramel mixture was too precious to waste on foolish games.

Mama saved the cellophane-wrapped Twinkies for our afternoon snack, eaten feverishly after another two or three hours of splashing and pretend.  We licked the cardboard backing and the wrapper because this much sweetness had to be good for soul, mind and body.

Some of this simple fun and laughter is what I find attractive about The Special Gathering members who are mentally challenged.  We are a ministry within the developmentally disabled community.  Even though our mission is evangelism and discipleship, playing with our members is an important part of our lives.  Richard Stimson, our founder and executive director, said recently, “If I have a few minutes on Saturday, I’ll drop by bowling.  I don’t have to do it.  I do it because I enjoy playing with our folks.”

This morning I read an article about the medical and spiritual benefits of giving your brain a vacation.  Perhaps that was the attraction of  Kalamazoo and the back steps picnics.  Even as a child, I yearned for times of simple delights.  The same remains true with our members and all of us. 

People who are intellectually delayed are adults.  They have all the worries, concerns and responsibilities of most other adults.  However, they have not lost the adventure of a back steps picnic.  Most important, given a few minutes and your permission, they can take you to Kallamazoo with all the splashing and delights of a growing child.

I appreciate that God calls us his children.  Somehow, it takes nearly all the pressure off of our relationship.  He is the father and he knows best.  Of course, he wants us to grow up and not act like childish brats.  However, when I take my lunch and iced tea into the back yard, my father waits for me under the trees.  I take special honor that I can include the Lord as I close my eyes and softly mumble my short prayer.  Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches still taste better in the back yard having a picnic.  But they are especially delicious knowing that the King of Creation loves to join me for lunch

Read more: http://blog.beliefnet.com/simplelife/2011/07/back-steps-picnic.html#ixzz1TVWe6exk

Tallahassee, Fla. – Governor Rick Scott today announced the appointment of executive directors for three state agencies. Cynthia Lorenzo, who has served as interim director since January, will lead the Agency for Workforce Innovation. Mike Hansen will head the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, and Doug Darling will lead the new Department of Economic Opportunity.  Darling will also coordinate the transition of existing agencies into the new one, which streamlines the state’s economic development functions and becomes effective October 1, 2011.

Mike Hansen has more than 30 years of experience with health and human services policy and budgeting, beginning as a research assistant in Miami with the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services.  As head of the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, Mike Hansen returns to the executive branch of state government with 22 years of experience in various roles with the Florida Senate and Florida House of Representatives. Under Governor Jeb Bush, Hansen served as the director of the Office of Policy and Budget from 2003 to 2006 and as Health and Human Services Policy Coordinator from 1999 to 2002.  Most recently, he was staff director for the Florida Senate’s Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services.

“Mike’s extensive experience with Medicaid services and budgeting will be of tremendous help as we continue to work to ensure the availability of services to one of Florida’s most vulnerable populations,” Governor Scott said.  “At the same time, he will help us work with members of the disabilities community to develop strategies to avoid future budget

Overcome your fear and nervousness when making a presentation

Here are several techniques that you can use which make presentations more powerful.   

  • Being prepared will take away a great deal of fear and nervousness.  That means practicing your presentations out loud.
  • It is easy to find  quotations, anecdotes, and analogies that inform, educate, and entertain your listeners if you have Internet access.  It is not longer necessary to spend hours and hours at the library.  Google is your best friend in doing research.  You should be able to give credit and follow all the copyright  laws of using quotations.  You aren’t expected to know everything.  However, you are expected to give credit to the originator of quotes and anecdotes.
  • To insure that you are not caught off guard again when you are asked to give an impromtu or short-notice presentation,
  • Creative pointers will keep your audience interested and involved when you’re presenting dry, boring, or technical material.  Introduce comical pictures to make your point.
  • Rehearse using your notes.  Practice enough times so that you don’t seem stiff or over-rehearsed.
  • Make sure that you know your visual-aids and that they make your point, rather than distract from your point.
  • Interruptions and distractions can that throw even the best-prepared speakers off course.  You can either totally ignore or address the interruptions.  Within the mentally challenged community, you need to have a point-person ready to deflect the interruption.
  • Watch your body-language.  Some errors include fidgeting with an object that you are hold in your hand.  Standing stiffly without smiling makes people uncomfortable.  However, on the opposite end, don’t be too relaxed.  Don’t lean against anything, unless you are doing it for a special effect.
  • Respond to questions with politeness and with a positive attitude.  Expect totally difficult queries.  Watch your voice inflections.  If you show anger or shock, you can lose your audience and distract from what you are saying.
  • Relax.  Breathing deeply and evenly.  This will keep you at ease and in control through long or pressured presentations
  • Project your voice by using the bottom of your diaphram.  Practice speaking with strength–not volume.  In this way you will be heard and understood without yelling or raising your voice

It is true that God works in mysterious ways.  However, some of the holiest things should be kept to ourselves.  There is such a thing as sharing too much information.  Here is a news stories that perhaps should have stayed private.

An Anderson, South Carolina, couple sees an image that they believe is Jesus on their Wal-Mart receipt.  After making a purchase, the couple dropped the receipt on the floor.  Several days later, Jacob Simmons saw that the receipt had changed; and he believed that the image that appeared was Jesus.

Several websites, including BeliefNet, show like-minded images of Jesus.  Everything from stains on rocks to fudge syrup on ice cream display images that people attribute to holy icons.

My wise friend, Wylene, told me that a teacher she greatly respected taught there are some things which are so holy that they should not be shared.  The question should be:  Will this bring ridicule to Christ, if I share it?

For years, I thought that to be open, you needed to share everything.  However, once I was published and began speaking to large groups, I became more selective.  Most teachers, preachers and public speakers must learn how much to share about their personal lives.  The bottom line for me is:  Don’t embarrass The Reader by sharing too much information.  Because I don’t want to embarrass them, I’m extremely selective regarding what I share about my family.  I must also be cautious about sharing  my private relationship and interaction with the Lord.

I believe that this receipt is truly important to the South Carolina couple.  They are convinced that the Lord has given them a precious gift.  Yet, others may laugh and ridicule their holy event.  Therefore, I believe that releasing it to the news is TMI.

In working with the mentally challenged community, I find that–as a population–they have learned to keep sacred things private.  Perhaps it is because they suffer a lot of humilation in their lives and they instinctively don’t want to open themselves up to more ridicule.  In this area, I find that I can once again learn from them.

Hudson Taylor, a pioneer missionary to China, once said, “Do not work so hard for Christ that you have no strength to pray, for prayer requires strength.” 

I was reminded several times this week of the vital work of prayer.  At an all-night prayer meeting, the church prayed for Peter.  God miraculously released him from prison and the pending threat of death. 

Saturday and Sunday of this week, as I shared this epic story with The Special Gathering, a ministry within the mentally challenged community, I was reminded of Harriett Cottingham.  Harriett was the Sunday school and Training Union teacher for 10 teenage girls in the 1950′s.  I was one of those young women.  For five years, we sat under her tutelage.  She was the only adult I knew who wanted teenagers to call her by her first name. 

 There area midrad of things she taught me.  But the most important one was the important nature of constant prayer in our lives.

One week during our Bible class, she challenged us to pray each day ten times a day.  It seemed impossible to me.  Yet, as she broke it down for us, I knew I could do it.  At the end of the class, she asked for a commitment to prayer. I raised my hand.  From that pivotal moment, I’ve been hooked on the power and importance of prayer.

I devised a plan of action to keep me consistant.  I set times each day that I would pray.  Harriett had explained that our prayer didn’t need to be long or complicated.  We didn’t have to kneel or close our eyes.  Our prayers should be a simple request for God to help us, forgive us or bless us.

I remember that each morning leaving for school, as I jumped off the front porch because I never walked down the four steps, I would pray.  Lord, help me catch the bus and bless my day.  As I stepped off the bus onto the school ground, I prayed.  Lord, help me to listen and to do good work in class. 

In short, prayer became a part of my life through that easy practice of talking with the Lord ten times a day.  Throughout eternity, I’ll be grateful for Harriett and her faithfulness to ten silly young girls.  However, I am most grateful for teaching me the value, worth and work of prayer.

I agree with Hudson Taylor that prayer takes strength; but I’m equally happy that Harriett helped me to discover at a young age the joy of frequent communication with the Lord.

Read more: http://blog.beliefnet.com/simplelife/#ixzz1TAe7p34t

Today, I went  to the local Wal-Mart.  My shirt was dirty and my pants were not a comfortable fit.  But, I reasoned to myself, I never see anyone that I know there.

My assumption was wrong.  As I was struggling to get my cart out the front door, I backed into a young man.  He is person with whom I’ve been sharing the love of Jesus each week for several months.  He smiled and waved at me.

Knowing that he was a friend, I could not get my brain to focus on anything but the faulty cart.  He moved away, sensing that I didn’t recognize him.  I knew that I knew him from somewhere but where?  Suddenly, I remembered.

I called him back.  He was genuinely pleased that I knew who he was and he hugged me.  We laughed at my bad memory and my crippled cart.  Then he went into the store and I headed for my car. I knew that God had given me a miracle encounter.  A chance meeting at the store and my recognition of him away from his work had sealed our friendship.

Trusting the Lord always insures our success.  Even though, others may not see or know what God is doing for us.  By recognizing and acknowledging God’s hand in our lives, God has the ability to turn even chance encounter into a blessing.

Becoming Doers of God’s Word

James 1:22

Central Theme:  God gives us success when we stand up for Him.

Introduction–After Hurricane Frances and Jean that hit Vero Beach, Florida, the street signs were all twisted.  Many of the street signs are gone–almost all are turned the wrong way. These street signs say the right things but you can’t see them because they are down on the ground or they are turned the wrong way.  Sometimes our lives get twisted and we become people who don’t do what God wants.

I.     Have a member Read James 1:22.

A. The Apostle Paul wrote about faith and grace.  He said they are God’s free gift.  That is true.

              1. Some people said, “If God’s grace is free and we get God’s grace when we sin.  We should sin more.”  This is false

2.  James wrote to straighten out this bad treaching.

3.  James said, “You are not only to listen to God‘s word but you are to do the things you hear in the Bible.

A. Many Sundays I hear the sermon–because I give it–and I think this is good but I’m not doing what God’s word teaches me.

II.     We are to be ACTION people.

A. We are to listen to God  AND we are to DO what He says.

1.  We hear, God is love–so we should love the people you meet each day.

2.  Too often, we leave the worship service; and then we fight over a piece of cake or a chair.

3.  God says, “Feed the poor”–therefore, we should help to get food to people who need it.  One of our members gave money to Special Gathering to help with the expenses of evacuating from the hurricane area.

III.     God wants us to be ACTION people.

A. We are to be loving, caring, giving people.

Conclusion–James said that we are to do the things we hear about.  We are not to just listen.  We are to be ACTION people.

This is copied from Aaron Nangle’s newsletter waiverprovider.com.  Thanks Aaron for allowing us to reprint this.

APD Announces Rate Changes     

For Companion Services

FROM:  Bryan Vaughan, Acting Director For APD Agency for Persons with Disabilities

Effective August 1, 2011, the reimbursement rate for companion services will no longer depend on the ratio of direct service providers to clients served.  As of August 1, all companion services shall be reimbursed at the basic rate of $1.68 per client regardless of the number of clients served. This rate will still be adjusted according to geographical location and whether the service was provided by an independent provider or agency provider.

Updated rates for companion services are available on the Agency’s website and are attached to this notice. These rate changes are being made pursuant to the Agency for Persons with Disabilities’ authority in section 393.0661(7), Florida Statutes. Section 393.0661(7) authorizes the Agency to adjust rates as necessary to comply with the availability of moneys provided in the General Appropriations Act.

These rate adjustments will be reflected in the cost plan of each client who was authorized to receive companion services at the 1:1 ratio or the 1:3 ratio prior to August 1, 2011.  The rate adjustments do not reduce, modify, or terminate any client’s authorized waiver services. APD will provide new service authorizations to all providers no later than August 5, 2011.   Until such time, this notice will serve as your authorization.

The Agency for Persons with Disabilities appreciates  your service and dedication to individuals with developmental disabilities. If you have any questions regarding this notice, please contact your local Area Office. 


WaiverProvider.com & Florida Unites

So this means solo providers will get paid only $6.72 per hour.  Agency’s will get $8.64 per hour. This is according to APD Central office.Minimum wage for the state of Florida is $7.31 per hour. APD has to find ways to cut or they will not be around next year. A disproportionate amount of the cuts are to providers pay. After all providers just got cut by 4%. People need to speak up. You need to visit your legislators and let them know what you think about all of the cuts. Let them know how this affects you and the people you help. 

Disability Expo 2011 & Family Information Forum


July 30th

Miami-Dade County Fair & Expo
10901 SW 24 St Miami, FL 33165

10:00am to 4:30pm

This event is presented by

WaiverProvider.com / SupportCoordinators.com

With help from

AREA 11 Agency For Persons With Disabilities (APD)

Area 11 Family Care Council (FCC)


This is a free event for all families. You do not need to register to attend the event. Come for all of the help and information. Then stay for the dance, door prizes and fun.

We are pleased to present this opportunity for first hand information from the Agency for Persons with Disabilities. Also updates on current issues and future plans of APD Area 11.

WaiverProvider.com will be telling families about resources to help with internet information. Also with ways to help you speak out about your questions and concerns.

The Family Care Council – FCC area 11 will be helping families with information. FCC area 11 is also excepting new members.

There will be Free refreshments & food during the event. We will also be giving away many FREE door prizes at the event. There will also be a dance for everyone to enjoy.

Don’t be left in the dark.
Come talk to the people that can help you.

The event gives you the opportunity to learn about resources & programs that can help you and your loved ones. Also a opportunity to speak out about your questions and concerns.

Learn more information about Medicaid, Social Security, Voc Rehab, Centers for Independent Living & Transition information, Guardianship and more.

DATE: Saturday, July 30th 2011

10:00 – 11:00 am APD, WaiverProvider.com & FCC area 11 11:00 -12:00 pm Break Out Sessions & Exhibitor Time
12:00 – 1:00 pm A Free Lunch & Exhibitor Time
1:00 – 2:00 pm Break Out Sessions & Exhibitor Time
2:00 – 2:30 pm Closing Remarks

Then at 2:30 – 4:30 pm

A Free Dance with a live DJ taking your requests. There will also be many Free door prizes that will be given away to families.

For information about the event please contact  WaiverProvider.com & SupportCoordinators.com
Aaron Nangle: 727-841-8943 or Email: WaiverInfo@aol.com



For about 10 years,  mourning doves nested outside our back door.   The sweet cooing of the birds and the chirps of their young, filled my morning devotion and prayer spot with joyful, mourning sounds.  Several times a day, I’d venture outside the sliding glass door to view the tiny babies or the hovering parents.

The year after Hurricanes Frances and Jean, the mourning doves were replaced by the ringed-turtle dove.  We are told that the winds blew these lovely, wanderers into our area.  Then the second year of their nesting, I lowered the plant where the nest was perched.  The birds decided they couldn’t trust this lower spot.  They nested but later left the eggs and the nest.

Trust is a foundation stone of life.  Whether you are a newly-migrated, ringed-turtle dove searching for a nesting area, a small child grasping the hand of his dad, or a woman in her 40’s who reaches across the bed each night to touch her spouse, we need someone to trust.

Whom can you trust? In the book of Acts, chapter 12, Luke writes about one fateful night after Peter had landed himself in jail.  He had been arrested for preaching the good news of Jesus.  They incarcarated him, placing him between 2 guards.  In the night, an angel woke Peter up,  told Peter to get up, get dressed, put on his shoes and follow the angel.

After Peter had escaped jail.  He went to the house where the church had gathered to pray for Peter’s release.  He talked to Rhoda a servant girl.  The young girl was so surprised to see Peter that she rushed upstairs to tell the church.  Even though, they had been praying for his release, the prayers didn’t believe that Peter had been released.

Obviously, the church members had not learned to trust God, yet.  Here are some tips we can use to learn how to trust the Lord.

First, we need to stop worrying.  Worry will kill you and make others want to kill you.  Peter was not worried.  He wasn’t lying awake concerned about being able to escape.  He was asleep when the angel executed his rescue.

Second, we should truly look for God to give us miracles.  Too often we ignore unexpected good and godly things which happen to us.  We can recognize when God is helping us.

Third, we can tell others about what God has done for us.   Trusting God means that we live different from other people.  At any moment, we should expect a Peter to arrive at our door.


Lawrence moved two weeks ago.  His court-appointed guardian had signed the forms we send each year saying that as his pastor I would get all information regarding his health and safety.  Yet, it wasn’t until I called the guardian’s office that she remembered to tell me that he had been moved 30 miles from his hometown.

One of the saddest things about ministry within the mentally challenged community is the disappearance of our members. There have been at least ten or fifteen of Special Gathering attendees who have been moved to other cities or towns by the State; and we have no idea where they were sent.  Our ministry doesn’t do social work but our mission is evangelism and discipleship.

When Lawrence missed two Sunday in a row this month, I called his guardian.  Lawrence isn’t a casual participant of our ministry.  He is a member of our choir.  Additionally, only four times in 22 years has Lawrence missed Special Gathering. 

The guardian explained to me that the caregiver where he was currently living had tried to isolate him from her and her staff.  There had been other warning signs.  Finally, Lawrence was pulled from her home, moved to another city, and put into an Adult Living Facility.

Our most vulnerable citizens are not only used as political pawns, they are pushed, pulled, moved and disregarded.  While President Obama tried to erase the derogatory and degrading term “retard,” it is growing in the popular vernacular as an insult.

People who are mentally challenged were born with their disability.  Their condition is not their fault.  It wasn’t their bad habits or their addictions which led to their disability.

I made the trip to visit Lawrence two days ago.  A mutual friend and I took him to lunch.  We wanted to let him know that he has not been forgotten.  Several years ago, in an ministry-wide exercise, Lawrence indicated that he only had two friends.  I was one of them.  I feel this gives me a greater responsibility to strive to insure that Lawrence is not lost in the maze of  bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo that can envelop the lives of our population.

I also understand that Lawrence is in the Lord’s hands.  God is more concerned about his vulnerable child than I am.  Additionally, God has all the resources of heaven at his disposal to keep Lawrence safe.  It is a great assurance to me that none of our members are lost to the Lord.  While I may not be able to physically insure their safety, I can pray and be consoled with the knowledge that God answers prayer.

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