What God’s Little Acres Means to Us.
My oldest son Travis was diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of 6. To say that this was a devastating time for our family would be an understatement. As a Mother I was facing my worst fear, as a child Travis was facing a disease that no child should ever have to face, and on that I could not protect him from.
The first time we came to God’s Little Acres was for the Easter Party four months after Travis had been diagnosed. Travis was still recovering from the brain surgery to remove the tumor and was still very unsteady on his feet. He wore his favorite cowboy hat to hide his sparse hair and the large scar running down the back of his head. (it wasn’t long before the hat came off as Travis realized that he was in a special place where most of the kids were sick, or looked different and it didn’t matter.)
When we first walked in to God’s Little Acres we were taken aback by the sheer beauty around us and the peaceful atmosphere. Everyone was so kind and made us feel welcome! It was every child’s (and parents) dream come true… a petting zoo, games, a bounce house, clowns, a “good fairy”, ice cream cart, popcorn and cotton candy! The Easter Bunny came and gave each child a beautiful Easter basket filled with goodies! I saw my son genuinely smile for the first time in months, and watched him play with his brothers and the other children as if he had never been sick. As a Mother I felt a sense of peace and well being I hadn’t experienced since before Travis was diagnosed! My boys had such a wonderful time that they didn’t want to leave, and by the time we headed home they were sticky and tired with the biggest smiles on their faces! It was truly a special day, and Uncle Bob and Aunt Joan Nast and their extended “family” are truly special people!
We have had the good fortune of returning to God’s Little Acres many times over the past two years, and the boys really look forward to each visit! Each time we visit that special feeling returns, and the boys and I have a wonderful time! Travis’ tumor has not recurred and I truly believe that all of the wonderful prayers and blessings from God’s Little Acres is truly a special place and we thank you for all of your kindess and support! We are blessed to be part of the miracle of God’s Little Acres.
Thank you and God Bless You.
God’s Little Acres has been such a blessing for Andrew and I.
We’ve been coming to the ranch for 3 years. Our first visit was one of the most memorable. At that time the chapel had not been built. They were pausing the foundation that week. Joan & Bob asked the parents to write their prayer request on a piece of paper and they were going to add them to the concrete in the foundation. Our request was for Andrew to be able to see. Three parties later Andrew had his operation and was able to see God’s Little Acres and the animals and all the children. The volunteers are so great also they always make us feel like a complete normal family.
I pray that God will continue to shine his light through Joan & Bob.
Nancy, Andrew Mendale
To whom it may concern:
God’s Little Acres holds a special place in my heart. My daughter Taylor who is 12 years old and has Down syndrome was invited to her first function there when she was only 7. We fell in love and have been regulars ever since.
We sign in and get our name tags, hug Aunt Joan and Uncle Bob and all of our friends we have made over the years. Taylor always bee-lines it to the arts and crafts table and once she’s made the masterpiece of the day, on to the bounce house. Then it’s time to eat a little and run off to play softball. I just love that there’s so much for our children to do at God’s Little Acres – all under the supervision of the many volunteers which frees up the parents for a couple of hours (which is a rarity for sure)! It is good for Taylor in particular as she has juvenile diabetes and needs a lot of exercise.
Since Taylor is an only child and does not have a lot of friends outside of school and the organization we belong to, she very much enjoys playing with her buddies at God’s Little Acres. Her socialization skills and speech have much improved since becoming a part of the GLA Family and going to the monthly events for the past few years!
In the meantime, while I am visiting with the parents, I have gotten countless volumes of information on how to handle certain “Down syndrome issues” and services that are or may be available to us as special needs families. Along with that of course is the development of lifelong friendships!
Best of all is our lifelong friendship with the Nasts. They are our “extended family” and we love them and appreciate them and what they do for us immensely!
Last but not the least is the fact that it is a spiritual place – a place to go and pray and feel closer to God and the hope of healing! I hope to always be a “family member” at GLA!
In Webster’s II New College Dictionary, the word haven is defined as: 1, a sanctuary; refuge. This word best describes God’s Little Acres in Coconut Creek, Florida.
My wife and I are parents to two children, our six year old daughter and an eight year old son. Our son is autistic. He is non-verbal, has elopement problems and behavioral problems. Approximately four years ago we found out about God’s Little Acres and it has become our haven. Aunt Joan and Uncle Bob (Joan and Bob Nast) have opened their home and property to disabled children and their families where gatherings are held and children can be children and parents can network and find support in others that are undergoing the same problems.
While we are at God’s Little Acres, my wife and I do not feel uncomfortable when my son starts making strange noises or acting out. We take comfort in the fact that no matter what how he acts, their home will always be open to us. In the God’s Little Acres dictionary, “no” and “what if” are on the cover, For example, at one of the gatherings, my son saw a full sheet cake that had not been opened yet he wanted to open it. There was still cake available but he wanted that cake. When I told my son we could not open the full cake, he became unhappy and started some unpleasant behaviors. Aunt Joan saw my son upset and inquired. When I told her, Joan’s response was, “No, open the cake, what if the frosting on the cake helps and it encourages him to speak”.
While it may sound outlandish to some, it made my sin very happy and my wife and I cry. The optimism brought forth by Joan, Bob, their children and the legion of volunteers that assist at the gatherings is unyielding. Their volunteers assist with my son and it gives my wife and me a chance to relax and spend time with our daughter.
Due to the weather in Florida, many children cannot attend the gatherings because of the heat or sun. God’s Little Acres has a vision of building a Gingerbread House where the gatherings can be held inside, in air conditioning, where the children can benefit.
Oprah, could you and your network of angels help make this vision come true?
Webster’s Dictionary should change their definition and just have God’s Little Acres, a true haven.
God’s Little Acres
From the moment you step foot on God’s Little Acres your heart is filled with joy! Cares are left behind when you enter this magical place. The sounds of music and laughter fill the air. You know that you have entered a little piece of heaven on earth.
We are always greeted with hugs by the beautiful smiling face of Aunt Joan and Uncle Bob. Two people who not only make you feel welcomed but invite you to be part of their family; Joan and Bob Nast (Aunt Joan and Uncle Bob) have devoted their lives and their home to children who suffer from serious illness or disabilities. The type of children that people feel pity for but would prefer to avoid.
Our ten year old son Jordan, who has Cerebral Palsy, has been coming to events at God’s Little Acres for over five years. Jordan becomes so excited weeks in advance just knowing that he will be going there. Each time is a new and glorious experience for the entire family. The wonderful volunteers take care of Jordan while Mom and Dad relax and enjoy a delicious meal and great conversation. Jordan just loves the horse rides, playing games, making crafts, hay rides, cotton candy and everything else. He is always encourage to use is walker. Jordan feels like he is so special and he is loved despite his wheelchair.
We are convinced that Aunt Joan and Uncle Bob are two angels that God has placed in our lives. Two that have touched so many. We are so grateful to them for their love and support. We thank God for them. And we pray that the Lord will bless them so that they can continue to bring joy to the children.
Dave, Carleen and Jordan Levitz
To Make Concern:
God little acres has been for us a blessing.
We have found people full of love and they give us support.
Among the moms that we met in God little acres we encourage each other.
The parties that they do make my child feel very special.
I have a great hope in the future of ginger house; I feel that it will be used so those are children would have friends that are like them in a very healthy environment.
Just as its name I know God is using this farm to help children with special needs and make they’re live happier like it’s been done in my son Richie.
I want to thank the Lord for the lives of Bob and Joan because they’re been faithful servant’s of the lord.
Sincerely with love,
RICARDO AND MARIA JARAMILLO