Last week Kris travelled to northeast Mississippi to share our story and talk about his book as well as speak about autism acceptance. He began his trip on Friday by speaking to a group of professionals with Region IV Mental Health. These professionals serve clients with autism and several staff members are autism parents themselves. Autism isn’t the only special needs that they provide services for but it was the focus of this weekend. He encouraged them to keep on and not give up. They are in the process of starting up an autism outreach program and were eager to learn about the services Above All Else provides in Arkansas and how it can benefit getting things going in Northeast Mississippi.
On Saturday Kris was on hand to help kick off the first Annual Reconnect 4 Autism Color Run in Corinth MS. There were over 1,000 people in attendance! Kris had a table set up with information about Above All Else Services and also had copies of We Win available for purchase and was available to sign books. It was a very enjoyable day with lots of good opportunities to speak with people. Kris had the privilege to witness as the dreams of those professional parents he had spoken with on the day before come to life as they were able to bring autism awareness to their town in a ray of beautiful color. There was Color everywhere and especially on the over 900 participants who ran, walked, and strolled throughout the park and streets of the Corinth area. It was a very family friendly event where smiles were seen on every corner. Kris was able to witness the chaotic early morning set up turn into a wonderfully developed event where everyone had a great time and many memories were made for this community. There was a stage at the finish line where runners greeted each other as they come across. The entire field gathered at the end as a live band and a DJ hyped the crowd for the final celebration of the day. The team of organizers presented each runner with autism a medal as the winners of the day. So many glowed with pride as they wore their medal around their neck that day. It was amazing to see the cloud of color as it grew over those in attendance when each person, in unison, threw their individual color packets into the air. How this group of organizers were able to pull off getting 1000 people to work together was remarkable. The day was glorious as it was clear that from the vision of the organizers until the final color toss that the stage was set by God for all of that had happened this day. We were privileged to be a small part of what happened and look forward to the future of this great group of people as they continue to pursue their dreams and follow God’s path for helping families with autism.
Click on link to order book: https://squareup.com/market/theshinnshoppe/we-win-a-father-s-journey-through-autism
On Sunday, Kris was a guest speaker at Gaines Chapel United Methodist Church in Corinth. The pastor and congregation were very welcoming and were pleased to have him share with them. The message was clear: That those outside the walls of the Church are in search of something, and that something is Jesus. There are special needs families in our community that feel abandoned and like no one cares. If we are the Church then we should be doing all we can to help and encourage them and to not abandon them. It is the small things that as Christians we should not overlook but be faithful in to help those in need and that are hurting. The Church should be where all families know they can turn to for direction in difficult times and not be discouraged by comments and stares. Kris was able to share our story and discuss the book. Encouragement was given about how all of the circumstances that have personally loaded our family down has not stopped us from following the direction that God has for us. Autism is tough but those individuals affected by it have a soul and need Jesus just the same as the rest of us. That is what it’s all about–showing Jesus to as many as we can. There were several autism parents in attendance that opened up and shared how Kris had touched them with his story of encouragement and honesty. Kris commented that he knew once he had spoken to one mother of twins with autism that she was the reason he was in Corinth, MS for this entire weekend. Sometimes it’s all about that one person that is reached.
The organizer of Reconnect 4 Autism presented Kris with one of the autism medals from the color run. This was so that he could bring a piece of Northeast Mississippi back home to Will as a way of showing gratitude for the connections made across states for autism. We were blessed to be a part of this weekend. As always God proved that He has a greater plan for us all, we just have to be willing to obey and follow Him.
You can follow the happenings of the autism outreach program in Northeast MS at www.reconnect4autism.com
We may be back that way one day–hopefully soon! Their plan is to provide community training for autism and special needs as they move forward with providing more services for autism families.