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This Past Year

Submitted by Phil Rispin on Wed, 01/02/2019 - 21:10

2018 was a big year for us.  We can look back on about a half a year’s work full time on the AT Catalyst project.  It started with taking a big leap, leaving our jobs at LeTourneau and selling our house.

Thinking About Banquets at Christmas

Submitted by Phil Rispin on Fri, 12/14/2018 - 16:12

By: Phil Rispin

For many of us, Christmas is a time of family and good food. There’s a story about a celebration meal in Luke 14. In verse 21 we read ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ Until Karen began working with disabled children in Kenya, I hadn't given much thought as to how difficult it might be to do this.

One Bite at a Time

Submitted by Phil Rispin on Wed, 11/14/2018 - 17:58

There is a saying that you may have heard, it goes “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer: “One bite at a time”. This helps to describe the huge need for safe and affordable healthcare that is absent for a very large proportion of the world’s population.

Transitions and Trusting the Lord

Submitted by Phil Rispin on Wed, 05/16/2018 - 00:00

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 Thu, 05/10/2018 - 00:00

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 Thu, 05/03/2018 - 00:00

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 Mon, 04/16/2018 - 00:00

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 Tue, 04/10/2018 - 00:00

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 Tue, 04/03/2018 - 00:00

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:

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