Wednesday, December 12, 2012


3:25 PM
So, I've been a little quiet on here lately, and I think it's because I'm taking a bit of a blogging hiatus. Never fear though, I'll be back. And I'm not going complete radio silence....

-Joy & Creagon Ministry Updates can be found at

-Posts about my 2013 Reading Challenge "Around the World in 80 Books" can be found here:

But, until next time, goodbye.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Last 29 + Flashback Photos

10:58 AM
Tomorrow I turn 30. A new milestone. It's scary & exciting all at the same time. It's scary because it's sounds so grown up, and I still feel so very young. It's exciting because I know there's so many possibilities out there for what my life will look like. As I reflect back over the past 29 years on this planet, I thought I'd hit some of the highlights & particular order...

- Met Jesus, my Lord & Savior

- Fell in love & married my best friend

- Graduated second in my high school class

- Earned a bachelors degree in something I really enjoy [and use in ministry!]

- Lived for a summer in California

- Been in 3 out of 4 oceans

-Was broken for the injustice of human trafficking

- Traveled to 11 nations on 5 different continents

- Visited 20 different states

- Learned how to sew

-Became obsessed with reading

-Called into missions

-Spent 4 years working fitness at a YMCA

-Discovered how to share my faith, and led people to the Lord

-Became skilled at graphic design

-Taught abstinence education in public schools [I got stories, let me just tell ya...]

-Jumped from PC's to Macs [#win]

- Made some amazing friends

The 20's have really been a grand decade for me. I lived so much life, and discovered so much of myself. But it's with confidence I move into my 30's. I know who I am, and I know who God created me to be. I have my husband forever by my side. Of course my 30's look awesome!

Thirty was so strange for me. I've really had to come to terms with the fact that I am now a walking and talking adult.
--C. S. Lewis


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Practice What You Preach

3:21 PM
So this weekend I got to teach in the photography track of the YWAM Orlando Discipleship Training School about blogging and how to blog well. As a blogger, I guess I have some authority in this area, but I definitely looked to some pro's on putting this teaching together. Jeff Goins is a fabulous blogger, and does a great job of communicating how to communicate. I used many of his blogging resources! It was so fun teaching this students, and sharing blogging successes and fails with them, and inspire them to blog well! But I was also challenged about how to be a beter blogger myself. I want to use this blog as a place to not just process life, but also to educate & inspire others in being active in their faith, and using social justice to do that. So I'm excited to post more and share more and hopefully, inspire more! Hope you are too.

Thanks, Joshua Miller, for snapping this photo!


Sunday, September 30, 2012

'Tis the Season For Fall TV Premieres

4:07 PM
It happens the same time every year...the kids go back to school, the weather gets cooler, Pumpkin Spice lattes reappear, and the networks pull out a crop of new television entertainment for us to devour or dismiss. I just finished my first round of Fall TV premieres and thought I'd share my hits & misses!

Must Watch
Go On [starring Matthew Perry]: As a huge FRIENDS fan, and an even bigger Chandler fan, this show was on the top of my must-see, but I had extreme fear of failure. Happily, I was quite pleased with the show! Starring Perry as sports radio talk jockey, he delivers wit after pun after quip flawlessly, in pure Chandler fashion. But this is no character knock-off, as there's much depth the Perry's Ryan character as well. Recently having lost his wife to a tragic accident, Ryan finds himself in mandated group therapy, surrounded by a Community-like cast of characters. It's funny, it's sweet, and it'll have me coming back week after week.

Probably Watch
Elementary [starring Johnny Lee Miller & Lucy Lui]: Dear Benedict Cumberbatch, I am in no way replacing you as the superior Sherlock Holmes reboot. You will forever have my affection & commitment. are off the air until 2013, so I'll have to sustain my Sherlockian cravings with this CBS reimagination. Miller is quirky & quippy, a recovering addict and a bit damaged as Holmes, but it works well. The biggest leap is Lucy Lui as Dr. Watson, former surgeon now caregiver of sorts. It could work, or it could flop. But an hour-long crime procedural ripe with Sherlock Holmes mythology can't be all bad. I'll give it time!

The Mindy Project [starring Mindy Kaling]: Kelly is done playing second fiddle to the Pam & Jim drama of The Office. She's gone off all on her own! In this new character show, writer & star Mindy Kaling plays an OB/GYN looking for love & a great life as a single, chubby 30something. She's sweet, and rarely grating as Kelly often was. But if it turns into week after week of bad dates, meaningless sex and shopping sprees, I'm out. It has potential, so for now, I'm in!

Not Watching
The New Normal [starring Andrew Rannells]: Single mom looking for a fresh start. Loving gay couple looking to start a family. And they find each other. That's episode one. Sure, there are laughs, mainly from Andrew Rannell's character. I wanted to give him a chance, being a theatre junkie all [Rannell hit it HUGE last year with Book of Mormon], but the concept & the characters weren't enough to keep me there. Oh well.

Some thoughts regarding favorites coming back this Fall:

Gloria is pregnant?!? [Modern Family] Will we FINALLY discover who the Mother is this season...please?? [How I Met Your Mother] Magic is back! Now is that good...or bad? [Once Upon a Time] OMG what did Deb see?!! [Dexter] Will Sheldon & Amy find true love...or at least normalcy? [Big Bang Theory] Matthew & Mary are finally engaged, I'm just SURE everything will work out wonderfully now [Downton Abbey]

Well there ya go! TV thoughts & musings regarding the fall season! What are excited to check out this fall? What favorite are you looking forward to? Any recommendations?

Happy channel surfing!


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Kids These Days

1:39 PM
While I have no children of my own, I definitely enjoy laughing at other people's. And the internet has made that even more fun. Let me just share with you a little bit of what I'm finding amusing these days...

The Honest Toddler. Ever think your toddler is conspiring against you? Well, this one is. The Honest Toddler blog and Twitter [@HonestToddler] is every parent's worst nightmare, and it's just so darn funny. From his rants about a big bed, to adult recipes, to despising infants & the library, it's a good time. Here's a few gems:

@HonestToddler: Going to a birthday party. It better be for me.

@HonestToddler: So if you want cake for breakfast it's called muffin. Lol adults, I see what you did there.

@HonestToddler: Not participating in library story time. How will learning animal sounds make me successful

@HonestToddler: This three-year old just rolled up to the park wearing loafers looking like Frasier. Don't hurt yourself, Kelsey Grammer.

@HonestToddler: Feel embarrassed that I still can't tell anyone how to get, how to get to Sesame Street.

So there ya go. Stop reading my blog. And go read the Honest Toddler's. You'll be glad you never had kids. Or wonder if yours has been stealing your computer at night.

Next, follow up some Honest Toddler fun with some Kid History on YouTube.

You know how cute it is when kids tell a story? How about when they tell a story that they you've heard you tell? From when you and your brothers were hellions and ridiculous. That's Kid History.

A personal favorite edition of mine is Babysitting. Babysitting for siblings is rarely fun, but add in some temper tantrums, sneaking out of the house, and sand papering a new know it's gonna be great!

What Kid History so unbelievably entertaining is that the adult dads act out the kid's stories of themselves, lip synching and all! Great editing, great emotion, and great laughs.

If you are still looking to crack up over some kids, just go to Pinterest.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fall Memories

3:56 PM
Just kicked off another fall quarter here at YWAM Orlando. It's by far the biggest, loudest, wildest & craziest [in the all the best ways] quarter of the year. This fall, we have over 60 students from across the world joining us for training! Such excitement.

The fall quarter always marks a memory for me as well. It was fall just 2 years ago when this naive little student first laid eyes on her future husband! It took many more months for me to discover that fact, but I always smile when fall comes around. I love reflect back on my own DTS experience, the friends, the growth, the travels & adventures. And of course the smiles, the hugs and the butterflies in my belly. Just so many good memories!

Joy & Creagon, circa 2010


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Stories End

4:46 PM
I wasn't sure how Day 2 of the STORY 2012 conference in Chicago could top Day 1. Yet, it was amazing. After amazing worship with All Sons & Daughters, artist Makoto Fujimara kicked off the morning. His art is inspirational, creative & spiritual all in one breath. He challenged us to create in secret. To create for the sake of creativity and the Creator. To not let all our art be for utility & purpose. It was a challenge that I want to take seriously. Spoken word artist, Micah Bournes, wowed us all with creatively chosen words to craft a beautiful message, like Who Broke Africa? It was...moving.

Afterwards, pastor & author Kyle Idleman shared about idolatry. A seemingly random subject a creative conference, but was dead on. An idol is something man has replace God. Like the Israelites and golden calf. There's nothing wrong with creativity, it's a gift from our Creator! But when I create something, who gets the glory? My art...or my God? It was great perspective setter. I ended up buying his other book, Not a Fan, because I was so challenged by his perspective on art & life.

The last speaker of the day and conference was Phil Vischer, formerly of Veggie Tales fame. I hope I can adequately even describe how amazing his talk was. His talk was one of humility, of inspiration, of tragedy, and of success. If you aren't sure of the story of Veggie Tales rise & demise, pick up his memoir Me, Myself & Bob. You won't regret it! I was moved by his openness in sharing about his struggles and where God took him. The themes of intimacy & abiding in Christ once again spoke to my heart. His poignant statement of "Jesus + [__________] makes you just as valuable as Jesus + nothing". It was this idea that even if I did no ministry, did nothing for God but love Him, He'd see me as just as worthy. I can't earn more [or less] value in His eyes. What freedom. For all of us who have ever felt that we have to create something world changing to be more accepted by God, stop it. We don't. If we know Him as Savior, we ARE accepted. Praise the Lord.

So yeah, it was an amazing two days, filled with sensory & information overload, but in such a good way. Met new friends, enjoyed spending times with old friends, was inspired & challenged & refueled.

Story 2013....I may just see you there!


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Being Different to Make a Difference

11:34 PM
Today was the first day of STORY 2012, a gathering of Christian creatives in Chicago. We heard awesome bands like Sleeping At Last, The Soil & The Sun, and The Royal Royal...all fantastic, Google them now! And then we got to hear from speakers such as Bob Goff, Erwin McManus, Isaac Rentz, Mason Jar Music, and Anne Lamotte! It was such an amazing lineup of creative writers, storytellers and artists.

Takeaways from Day1: Bob Goff, hands down. He's an author & a lawyer, and is an active justice warrior in Africa. And, on top of all that, he's hilarious. He had us ROLLING. I can't wait to read his book, Love Does, that I just picked up! He challenged us to find our creative voice and create. He commented that so many people want to make a difference in the world, but no one wants to be different! And that's a trap I've fallen into, being so cautious to walk the line of status quo. But walking that line, whether it's fear or whatever, keeps me being as creative as God created me and as passionate as God created me. Which in the end is a disservice to Him, because I'm devaluing His creation. Whoa, late night revelation right there.

The big surprise today was Isaac Rentz, a young music video director. I had never heard of him, and was rather indifferent about his session. But once his demo reel played, I knew we were in for a great ride, as he's directed videos for bands like Cage the Elephant, Blink182, All American Rejects, and Motion City Soundtrack. And he's young!! He took us through his journey of discovery through directing, and it was entertaining and educational! He also talked about the need for Christians in media, not Christian media! Let's not make the art that Christians are expecting, but make the art that the Creator puts inside of us...because then it's authentic!

And this is just day one! Had 2 great breakout sessions, with a group of authors on a new release called "Inciting Incidents", and then the Hillsong Creative Video team from Sydney, Australia!

Spent the evening enjoying Chicago nightlife, from a hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant, to an actual hole in the wall for dessert called the Violet Hour. It was a great night, with great friends! Can't wait for Day 2!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012


3:33 PM

Today, Creagon and I are headed to Chicago with some friends for a 2 day conference called STORY. We're both pretty excited about it, and looking forward to a creative recharge. The focus of the next two days will be telling the Story of God around us....through photography, videography, writing, design, art, music, and social media! With a lineup like Anne Lamott [writer], Makoto Fuijmura [artist & speaker], Bob Goff [justice guru], Seth Worley [creative producer], All Sons & Daughters [worship band] and more, it's needless to say there will be a lot of creative juices flowing!

Creagon and I love telling stories of how God is using us in Orlando, and around the world. It's almost essential for being a support-funded missionary! Just this past week, we've been in Michigan doing just that. So many people here were praying for us while in London, we've been able to share with them what God did on that outreach! It's a blessing to us and them, and God is glorified as we share about His goodness! But we are also storytellers for YWAM Orlando. We delight in capturing stories of students in training, and how God uses them on outreach. Those stories then become a tool for their future ministry, for YWAM Orlando & its supporters, and all the staff to their supporters!

In a world that thrives on stories, it's so important to be telling the Ultimate Story. The Story of grace, sacrifice & redemption. The One with the Eternal Happy Ending. And, hopefully, this conference will be a tool to do that better...and a great time with friends!

More updates to come...


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How to Please God

9:16 AM
Ever wondered what God asks of you? To fear Him, walk in His ways, to love Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and soul. Deuteronomy 10:12. What great truth!


Friday, August 31, 2012

Discretion Needed

6:30 AM

Such great truth! I could sometimes benefit from more discretion in my life.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Why Do I Read?

2:24 PM
I keep getting asked this question. And maybe it's because I seem to consume an abnormal amount of books [46 done in 75 book challenge for 2012!]. Or maybe it's because I'm always talking about some book I just read [and it's probably odd]. But maybe it's because a lot of my generation doesn't read any more.

Don't get me wrong, the Internet is awesome. Blogs, well, rock. But have they effected our appetite for reading? Ask a teenager what was the last book they read for fun, or what was the last website they read for fun. Hopefully, with the recent [5+ years] outpouring of great books aimed at young adults [Hunger Games!] there are more youth reading actual books. But even my post-college generation has given up the past time as well.

So why do I read? Simple. I love it. I love being transported to new places, learning new things, and letting my imagination run wild. Just in the month of August I've finished books that have taken me through centuries of history of New York & England, uncovered theology of a surviving church in during Nazi Germany, walked alongside a child soldier from the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, discovered the inspiration for one of the most successful charities in the world right now, been wrecked in my faith journey, battled giant rats alongside of cockroaches & spiders in underworld New York, and solved crimes from Missouri to Norway. There's a rich and exciting world to be found in the pages [or electronic pages] of a book, that TV & movies just cannot capture. And I love some good TV & movies as well.

Another reason I read is because it makes me smarter. I learn new words, I discover new places and I consume information that I may not have known before. And I get smarter. Maybe it's a selfish reason, but hey, I like getting smarter!

And as an aspiring one-day hopeful writer, reading will only make me a better writer.

So close your laptops and switch of the Xbox and go read something! You won't regret it.

Need recommendations, check out GoodReads.


Friday, August 24, 2012

VIDEO - GIFT Box Awareness

5:30 AM

A video from our Stop the Traffik GIFT Box at Westminster Abbey! What a great ministry opportunity!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

VIDEO Human Trafficking Q & A::London 2012

1:00 PM

Our team visited Hyde Park, London and interviewed people from several nations about human trafficking, how much they knew about it and what are some solutions they could offer. It was a great opportunity to engage people in conversation about the issue and shed some light on the issue! Pretty awesome!


Tuesday, August 21, 2012


5:00 AM

Have you been wrecked? Encountered a person, situation, injustice or experience that just leaves you ruined? The first I was wrecked was in 2005 in a sleepy costal village of India. I had signed up for a 10 day trip to help rebuild houses that were devastated by the tsunami that hit in December of 2004. Millions were left homeless, and I wanted to go be the hands and feet to someone who needed help. And I was forever changed. Seeing the faces of those who had nothing and everything stolen from them. Hearing the cries of the still homeless. Feeling their desperation. Wondering what good I could actually do. But I carried thousands of bricks, ground cement, laughed with families and carried children around. And that was something. I did something. And my life was forever altered. 

As my journey led me to missions, I discovered an organization called Adventures in Missions where I eventually became staff for a time. While on staff there, I worked with a trip called the World Race, doing everything from interviewing applicants, booking airfare, posting blogs, and doing graphic design. It was during my time there that I met a fellow missionary, named Jeff Goins. Jeff was a big part of training the Racers on how to blog and how to share their stories. He was passionate for writing & story telling. Jeff's passion, several years down the road, led him to writing a book called "Wrecked:When a Broken World Slams into Your Comfortable Life" in which he captures this moment of wrecking…and what to with it. One of my favorite statements he wrote is, "If we are to follow the Jesus who suffered with us and bled for us, we too must suffer. We must hold the dying in our arms. We must shed tears for hungry stomachs, trafficked children, and wandering souls. This is what He wants for us." By getting wrecked by these sufferings, we are living and loving as Jesus did. Jeff challenges our generation to live for something more than what we see. "Instead of raising families or creating culture, we are sitting in our living rooms with our eyes glued to the television, simulating life." And he doesn't just challenge us to experience that wrecking moment, but to live a lifestyle that has been wrecked. When I left India, I couldn't go back to life as normal. I knew I'd do more mission trips, and I knew I'd be a missionary. From that moment I just knew. It took 5 more years to actually get to be a "full time missionary", and I took several detours, but I'm here. Living a totally wrecked life, and loving it. 

I challenge you to read this book and see where it takes you. Your journey will look different than mine, and rightly so. Only you can be the solution to the problem God calls you to. Get Wrecked!!


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Reflect & Retreat

4:30 AM

When was the last time you reflected on your history? That's exactly what I've been doing this past week with my YWAM Orlando staff family. And what a great time it has been. Since it's beginnings in 1995, God's hand has been all over YWAM Orlando, and the staff He's lead here. I only joined in 2010, and loved hearing the journeys, trials & celebrations from the past 17 years. It only encouraged our faith to believe Him for the current struggles & growing pains we are experiencing as a campus. YWAM Orlando isn't the result of one big miracle, but several little miracles along the way. What a great story we are living!

After 3 days of this reflection & dreaming time, we all packed our bags and headed for the beach for our annual staff retreat! Staff retreat is a much beloved time among our staff. It's one, if not the only, time that our ENTIRE staff of 80+ [and children!] are all together. Our amazing team is always leading outreaches, doing recruiting trips, out support raising, or scouting out new ministry locations around the world. We are so rarely together. But this week is the time for that. We come together and take a "family vacation" to retreat & refresh! It's 4 glorious days of beach, pool, games, volleyball, movies, sleep, reading and SNACKS! We are a family that knows the value of working hard and playing hard.

It's such a blessing to have found not just a job, but a calling, that I can live out within a community environment which is super fun, encouraging,  challenging, and dreamers. 

Anyways, so that's where I've been this week, with burnt skin and a full belly to show for it!


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Crazy World Changers

11:32 AM

Ran across this quote from Steve Jobs the other day on Pinterest. But it was more than a pin it and forget it moment. It stuck with me. It got me thinking. Changing the world isn't for your average dreamers. Being so unsatisfied with the condition of the world around you that it compels you to action isn't a normal calling. It takes a bit of crazy. And sometimes that's exactly what I feel, is crazy. Crazy to think that there could be a world where human trafficking doesn't exist. Crazy to believe that my actions and the actions of those around me can make a difference. Crazy to wonder if this 20something [soon to be 30something] can actually change things. So thanks Steve Jobs, I needed this reminder today. I'll keep on being crazy and making a difference around me and watch the world change.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

VIDEO: London Outreach Recap

7:00 AM
Still so blown away from our London outreach. Check out this video for some of the highlights!


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Summer Reading

2:28 PM
This is second year of my personal reading challenge of 50 books. Since graduating high school and college, my required reading assignments ceased, so it was on me to continue to challenge myself as a reader. These 50 books a year challenges, usually done with a friend like Becca, are perfect to inspire me to branch out in my reading and attain new goals! Using an app called GoodReads also helps keep us on track and discovering new reads! So here's the books I've been reading [and loving] this summer!

 Insurgent by Veronica Roth. This action packed sequel is the followup to the bestseller, Divergent. It's a young adult dystopian novel [think, Hunger Games] that really grips you from page one. I flew through book 1 and was eagerly awaiting this release. I highly recommend this series for fans of the genre!

 Forgotten God by Francis Chan. I loved this book regarding the power of the Holy Spirit. It was exactly what I needed to read at the time. Francis Chan really tackled the topic of the Holy Spirit in our churches and in our lives today. I was personally uncomfortable, challenged, and inspired while reading this. He helped put some Scriptures in new context for me, and even backed up some things I'd already been thinking. If you struggle with accepting the presence and filling of the Holy Spirit, read this book! If you are confident in the Spirit, read this book! It's fab.

 A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Consider it London prep. After becoming hopelessly addicted to the BBC series, Sherlock, I went back to where it all started, when Sherlock meets Watson and together they solve their first case in A Study in Scarlet. It's timeless, witty, and easily a classic.

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor. A new twist on the Alice in Wonderful story that we all know and love. In this re-imagination, Alyss Hart is the princess of Wonderland, and through a series of events caused by her evil aunt Queen Redd, she escapes into 1890's London where she finds a world unlike the one she left. When someone offers to tell her story, she is hopefully, but finds out this Lewis Carroll got it all wrong. Alyss' kingdom is at war, and she must get back to save her people and reclaim her throne. But how?

 The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. This short read was a collection of letters by Brother Lawrence that read almost like a New Testament gospel. Full of encouragement, admonition and solid teaching, Brother Lawrence consistently conveys the benefits and importance of intimacy with God. It's rich and deep, causing me often to put down the book and reflect on my own relationship with Christ. Aren't those the best kinds of books?

 New York: The Novel by Edward Rutherfurd. This is my second Rutherfurd read. I first discovered him while researching London, when I read his 1100 page historical fiction narrative of the history of the great city. It was epic. And so when I saw he had written one on New York as well, I had to read it. I'm actually still in the middle of this one, and it's excellent. From the Dutch settling the colony of New Amsterdam in the 1600's, to the struggle for independence from Britain in the 1700's, to the rise of Wall Street and the financial district in the early 1900's, it's full of history, but told in a way that doesn't feel like a history book. Rutherfurd follows 6 families through their lineage in New York City. As the times evolve, so do these families. By the end, you feel as you know them better then your own family history. Now, will I read his series on Russia? Not sure yet....

So that's what I've been reading, and I have a few more great ones lined up that I can't wait to start like Gone Girl, the current best selling thriller, and Start Something That Matters, the journey of Blake Mycoksie, founder of TOMS shoes, and finally Never Fall Down which is a young adult fictional account of a child soldier in Cambodia.

Got any books you've read recently that you recommend? Let me know! I love a good book swap :)


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Looking Back on London

10:42 AM

Our London outreach has come and gone. As I wrap up final details from the trip, it seems like a whirlwind 2 weeks. It was such an incredible experience that I don't even know if I can put into words how to describe it. But I will try.

We arrived in London with few contacts, and a lot of unknowns. Anti-trafficking outreaches to London are not a normal YWAM Orlando trip! But I was confident God would meet us there. And did He ever. We had INCREDIBLE host homes and ministry partners. From the Salvation Army to Stop the Traffik, to Now Believe and City Gates Church in the red light district, to community groups like ACT Lewisham and City Gateway, everyone was a blast to work alongside. One of my favorite parts was just how international London is. We worked with, ministered to, prayed for and evangelized to people from over 40 nations [Brazil, India, Pakistan, Switzerland, Argentina, Japan, Nigeria, Canada, USA, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Scotland, Iran, England, Northern Ireland, Bangladesh, Thailand, Cambodia, France, Sweden, Finland, Spain, Malta, Albania, Jordan, Egypt, Cuba, Jamaica, Italy, Australia, Nepal, Hong Kong, Iceland, Mexico, Norway, Hungary, Philippines, Netherlands, Romania, Ethiopia]. It was pretty epic.

The focuses of our outreach were awareness, education, prayer and evangelism. And those 4 things kept us very busy! We raised awareness and educated over 300 people about human trafficking in our 2 weeks there. As we shared with them about the injustice, they began to open up sharing stories of past exploitation and trafficking they experienced, or trafficking they witnessed in their home country, but didn't know about the issue within London. We encountered several who just had no idea it was happening, much less in London or in their own nation.  It was a powerful time.

We prayed with and shared the gospel of God's Kingdom with over 50 people while in London, most of which were in the darkest of places, Soho, the red-light district of London. The district draws an eclectic crowd, from club-goers, to bar hoppers, to those seeking illegal drugs and sex, to a strong gay community. It was here that we recognized the need for the Kingdom of God to be established more than anywhere. Most were receptive to our prayers, and even grateful for conversation, and one man even received Christ that night in Soho! It was truly beauty in the midst of darkness.  

I'd go back to London in a heartbeat. My heart has been captivated with that city. But mostly I just loved how God used our team to bring freedom & justice there.

"But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!" - Amos 5:24


Monday, July 30, 2012

Life Lessons from The Lorax

11:08 AM

On the flight home from London, while browsing the endless movie selections, I decided to watch Dr. Seuss' The Lorax. I'm a Dr. Seuss fan, and had missed this one when it was out. And I knew I wouldn't have to think too hard to watch it [because I was up at 4am and the last thing I wanted was a heavy drama!]. But I was surprised by how this movie did make me think.

The story is clearly aimed at environmental protection issues, as the main character lives in a town of all plastic, where all the trees have been destroyed and fresh air is bottled & sold. The boy, Ted, hears about a real tree, and sets off to bring one back for the girl of his dreams. Along the way, he mets the Once-lor, who tells him how through greed & materialism the trees & the air were destroyed.

Now I'm sure by this point, many people were rolling their eyes at heavy-handed agenda pushing in a children's film. But I wasn't. The character, The Lorax, the One Who Speaks for the Trees, had some pretty wise statements in the film that didn't remind me of tree hugging, but in fact, this fight against human trafficking. He says, "Which way does a tree fall? Whichever way it leans. Be careful which way you lean." I don't think people just fall into bad decisions overnight, nor does slavery & oppression appear overnight. But it comes from a lifetime of leaning. Which am I leaning? I aim to lean towards freedom, justice & truth, with the hopes that that is where I will fall. 

As Ted was complaining about not being able to change the situation in the town with the trees, the Once-lor tells him, "Unless someone like you cares a whole lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.". Everyone has a voice, and every single person can be part of demanding a better world. I'm not saying everyone has to pick up the fight against trafficking, because God has broken each of our hearts differently. For some of my friends it's hunger & clean water issues around the world, for others its the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and for others it's the orphan crisis. Whatever it is, don't be silent. Care about something. Talk about something. Change something.

As Ted announced before planting the last remaining tree seed, "My name is Ted, and I speak for the trees!", I challenge you to speak for something. "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, ensuring justice for those who are perishing. Yes, speak up for the poor & helpless and see that they get justice." - Proverbs 31:8-9.

So, "My name is Joy and I speak for the enslaved!"


Sunday, July 29, 2012

A GIFT Box Experience to Be Remembered

9:19 PM

Want to see the world and get an education? That's just one of the false promises on the outside of the 7ft. GIFT Box that my team and I worked at Westminster Abbey for the past 2 days. GIFT Box is  a partnership between Stop the Traffik and the United Nations, and it's purposes is draw attention while raising awareness about human trafficking. Each Box features a different kind of trafficking. From sexual exploitation, to  labour trafficking to street crimes to domestic servitude, each Box features stories, statistics, indicators and solutions. 

It was an interesting   experience working at the Box. Tourists and locals came from all over to see the beauty & history of Westminster Abbey. And we had to capture their curiosity enough to hear what we had to say. Some people walked right by, and some avoided us altogether. But a lot of people actually stopped. Some to just stare, and some would come inside and actually engage. 

Westminster Abbey sees about 6,000 - 7,000 tourists every day, and with the increased Olympics tourists, we probably saw even more during our time there! The most important thing we did, I think help people realize that this terrible crime is happening there in the UK, and where they are from too.  So many people didn't even realize that their own nation was contributing to the injustice. Many people were inspired to sign a pledge card committing to  be part of the solution to STOP the traffik. 

It was a challenging and rewarding outreach opportunity, as we served alongside many volunteers from the UK and were able to encourage them in their fight against trafficking. We also met several believers from around the world that were concerned about the issue and we were able to pray with them  and share God's justice with them as well. I think every one that left the Box understood on a greater scale the issue and what their role in it should be. And to us, that was successful.