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Submitted by Karen Rispin on Thu, 05/24/2018 - 18:00

I’m in Kenya right now.

I'm here with the LeTourneau University Wheels team,which I lead.  This time, there are five students and two other LeTourneau faculty members with me. Yesterday, I came up to Kijabe alone for two days to meet with the BethanyKids leadership. I’m feeling grateful, both to the two other faculty members taking leadership with the LeTourneau University Wheels team while I’m away, and grateful to the BethanyKids leadership for the invitation and the chance to facilitate their goals.  Its lovely to work with such great people. 

Transitions and Trusting the Lord

Submitted by Phil Rispin on Tue, 05/15/2018 - 18:00

If Karen and I look back on our life together

I think that we can say that we are prone to making rather large changes in a somewhat impulsive manner. For instance, there was the matter of getting engaged in the first place. About 40 years ago, we were in the middle of an argument, and Karen pointed out that my student visa would run out at the end of August. I would have to return to Canada, and I wouldn't see her anymore. There was about a five-minute silence in the conversation (which was noteworthy), and then to my surprise, I asked her to marry me.

What Constitutes a Good Day for You?

Submitted by Phil Rispin on Wed, 05/09/2018 - 18:00

When I was a kid—

Dad used to take us on rides in the car on Sunday afternoons or after Sunday supper in the evening.

If the hunting season was coming up, he would drive by all his favorite duck ponds to see how the ducks were doing. But most often, he would take us to see what he had been working on. Dad did many things to keep us all in food, clothing and housing. But most of the jobs he did were brick masonry and stone masonry. He could claim to be quite literally one of the men who built Canada, or more specifically, Edmonton, Alberta. So often, our Sunday evening drives would go by the job sites he was working on so he could enjoy the visual effects of his labor. When a job was ending and the work was done, Dad had a yard stick by which to measure the effects of his labor: it made him happy if we admired what he had done. For him that made a “good day.”

Being part of the AT Catalyst project gave me a “Good Day” yesterday, and I was surprised by how strong my reaction was. I want to share a note written to IDEAS by Luke McAuley, a therapist in Kenya. When asked about the value of the AT Catalyst Project, Luke said this:

"Don't You Know You Can't Go Home Again?"

Submitted by Phil Rispin on Wed, 05/02/2018 - 18:00

The quote above is attributed to a writer by the name of Ella Winter

She made the comment in a conversation with Thomas Wolfe, a writer and film maker. The sentiment, however, is much older than that. Jesus had a rough time returning home, as related in Mark 6:1-6. After trying to speak to the people who knew him while he was growing up, Jesus commented, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” Perhaps He was showing a little sadness at the lack of acceptance by the people He knew.

Karen's Odyssey

Submitted by Phil Rispin on Sun, 04/15/2018 - 18:00

Karen and I got engaged during a very heated discussion.

Some might call it an argument—about the nature of service. 

Karen comes from a missionary family who dedicated their lives to serving in Kenya. I, on the other hand, grew up in a blue-collar family that depended upon hard physical labor and a weekly paycheck to get by. Our views of the world were very different. In spite of this, Karen said yes to my question about whether or not she would marry me. I think part of our motivation was so that we could continue the argument and see where it led.

What Does Catalyzing Look Like?

Submitted by Phil Rispin on Mon, 04/09/2018 - 18:00

Do you remember the fictional character Radar O’Reilly of the 4077th M.A.S.H unit fame? 

Photo Credit: FanPop.comM.A.S.H. was a very successful TV comedy many of us enjoyed watching.

Radar was a corporal, the administrative assistant to the Colonel overseeing the M.A.S.H. unit. If it weren't for Radar’s often unorthodox expertise at managing resources, the M.A.S.H. unit would not have functioned at all.

Catalyzing is a little like that.

In the AT Catalyst context, it involves bringing needed resources together to get people with disability the equipment and programs they need to lead a more normal and productive life.

An example of this has occurred over the last few months.  As a result, a container is almost ready for shipping to Kenya. 

The Benefits of Assistive Technology

Submitted by Phil Rispin on Mon, 04/02/2018 - 18:00

There is nothing like a personal story to bring home the “where the rubber hits the road” understanding of an issue. 

This is very true of the ongoing story of Assistive Technology (AT).  In a sense, we all benefit from assistive technology, particularly as we grow older.  There is, however, a group of people whose lives can be fundamentally changed by AT.  Such is the case of Francesca.  She tells her own story on this You Tube video that is worth your time:

The Changing Landscape for People with Disability

Submitted by Phil Rispin on Tue, 03/27/2018 - 18:00

An Invitation

In the parable of the Great Banquet (Luke 14), invitations to the banquet had been sent to what might be called the normal people of the community.  And we are told that they all found excuses not to attend because of other priorities and concerns. The response of the master of the banquet is interesting,

Then the owner of the house became angry and . . . ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets . . . and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the . . . crippled, the blind and the lame.

Modern Day Nehemiahs

Submitted by Phil Rispin on Thu, 03/22/2018 - 18:00

Karen and I were faced with a problem that needed to be addressed. 

Through Karen’s work with a wheelchair research project over the past decade, she has become aware of many available wheelchair resources that haven’t connected to faith-based hospitals in Africa. Part of this realization is that many children and adults with disabilities are often isolated and in pain. Instead of an “unreached people group,” one could consider this group to be the “overlooked people group.” I just want to get these kids up off the floor so they could grow socially, intellectually, physically, and spiritually.


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