Micah 6:8

"Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God." -Micah 6:8

Friday, June 7, 2013

Chegamos! We arrived!

Chegamos! We arrived back in Recife, Brazil from our 2 month outreach in Rio de Janeiro.

I arrived last Friday and the rest of the team arrived last night.

It was a wonderful time working in the slum areas of Rio....we worked in Bangu, Niteroi, Borrel favelas. Everyone is tired but soooo joyful!

We are very thankful for the time spent in Bangu with Damon Crim and Steve May! What a blessing! We got to do so much in that area and despite the gunfire, it was a great time of peace and seeing God's hand in so much!

I want to share one story with you:

One of the most powerful tools we use to reach others is drama. We have a non-verbal drama/mime (performed to a song) about a girl who God gives life to and he shows her all the beauty he has made for her...flowers, trees, waterfalls, birds. She is so happy and dancing. Then comes a boyfriend who rejects and abandons her, a model who shows her she needs to be skinnier, a person who gets her to use drugs and alcohol and seek after money, and finally the devil who encourages her to cut herself and try to commit suicide.

It is so powerful to watch the transformation of the girl during the drama as she is so joyful and dancing with an upward glance to all God created in the beginning....and the change that happens by the end where she is crying, abandoned, depressed, kneeling on the floor holding a gun to her head, with a downward glance.

Right at the critical moment, she rises up and throws the gun down and runs back to God. God pushes back the devils and demons and eventually kills them. He takes the girl and throws off all the junk she has collected on her from the world and he hugs her and shows her again the things He created for her...the beauty of love, His creation. She again dances and has great joy.

We performed this drama for a group of teenagers at a public school in the Bangu favela. We were blessed to be able to perform to 840 students in shifts that day. The last group was a group of teens that the director of the school said were abandoned teens, who didn't have parents. I'm not sure if they were like our version of foster teens in the USA.

During that drama and afterwards when one of our students, Priscila, who talked to the teens about their love and beauty in God, I felt God's presence so much and it was so powerful. I know God used that time to speak to hearts and I know they will never forget that day and what they saw.

Afterwards, we spoke to them individually, gave hugs, and kissed foreheads. I love Brasil. You can still get away with kissing foreheads. I think I kissed 840 foreheads that day! :)

Those of you who know Damon and Steve will get a kick out of the fact that eventually we had to train both to be in our dramas and perform with us. They did a great job! :) Budding thespians!

We also spent time in some projects (apartments) near where the gunshots were heard all day, going door to door praying with people, evangelizing and then doing a kid's program after school to teach them about Jesus and love on them. It was a great day!

We also went to a rehab center in the slum twice for men. Wow, it was so powerful! We did 2 dramas and gave testimonies and encouragement. During one drama, a man from the center kneeled in front and cried and prayed with hands raised the whole time. Later he told us he used to be a male prostitute/transvestite. He showed me pictures, before as a prostitute and after with a suit and Bible in hand. He is such a man on fire for God now! Praise God! What a transformed life!

It was a wonderful experience in Rio!

Thank you for your prayers, support, encouragement, financial support, and being part of our team!

God bless you as you've blessed us!

Love em Cristo, Joy

We know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, HOPE. -Romans 5:3-4

Off to Rio!

Hi All,

Our outreach team of 8 arrived at Bangu favela in Rio to work with Damon and Steve and the community of Bangu and the 1st Baptist church here.

Yesterday was a little tough and we could use your prayers.

Here is a note Damon sent out yesterday:

Quick note:

Today was our first full day hosting a missions team and during our outdoor program for a group of kids, shots were being exchanged very close by. It sent our group running for protection. No one injured but, as you would imagine, the team is shaken up. The shootout lasted for a while and sounded like it was happening next door. Please pray for protection, peace, and that our short time together will make a life long impact.

So please keep our team and this area in your prayers. I talked with a young single mom who came running to the project frantically looking for her son (he was with us). She stayed the whole 3 hours as shots rang out as she lives behind the project where the shots were coming from and didn't feel it safe to return home yet. She said she's lived here her whole life and she still isn't used to the shooting. She said as a single mother, the only protection she has for her and her son is Jesus. What a beautiful statement. The only protection any of us have really truly is Jesus, no matter where we live in the world.

We will be doing street evangelism in the morning today, and then visiting a rehab center for men in this slum area who have drug and alcohol addictions this afternoon and then helping with the church's youth program tonight.

Thank you for your continued prayers! Love, Joy

Here are some other prayer requests as well:

-- Safety and protection: the youth program tonight is in an open park type area near where the shootings were yesterday. Our team is a little jumpy about this, as you can imagine.
-- Team unity: we have many different cultures and languages on our team
-- Health: many are slightly ill on the team and I also awoke throughout the night suddenly ill and don't feel better this am
-- Community: please pray for this area, these precious families and the impact of the church here
-- USA: please pray for the devastation after the tornado in Oklahoma...many children...so sad

On a lighter note, I joked on Fb that there's nothing like a little gunfire to bring people together. Which turned out to be true. After debriefing the day last night with Damon leading this debrief, which was so great and much needed, we had a lot of fun last night at dinner joking around, paying each other 1 real (50 cents) to eat a spoonful of hot sauce and other craziness. I guess sometimes you need to laugh so you don't cry!

God's blessings to all!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The beauty is all around. Welcoming 2013.

Hello from Brazil, Everyone!

 Hope everyone had a very merry and blessed Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

I just returned to Brazil on the 9th and just got internet today. I am so happy to be back and truly feel like this is home now.

As usual, the base was abuzz with activity: NIKO, vacation Bible school, and King's Kids had all just started and there are many new people, including a large team from the Dominican Republic here on outreach.

As I entered the base, I again heard a worship song being sung in English. Last time it was How Great is Our God and this time it was a Hillsong song. It's like God's own little "welcome home" to me.

I also noticed that today is the 12th of January, which happens to be the day I moved out here last year. Today I have been remembering fondly my excitement, hopes, dreams, and the great unknown upon my arrival...with a tad bit of romantic naivety, I must admit. Living in a foreign country sounded so adventurous and exciting!

However, looking back at the year, I feel a bit like I've lived through a war (not to diminish any of you who have actually lived through a war). Everything was so, so hard. I've witnessed things that I've never seen before. And hope never to again. There have been times I felt the weight of despair and hopelessness and just wanted to give up.

But everything in my life that has had any lasting meaning has been hard. And I look back now with gratefulness knowing I learned a lot, I leaned on God more than I ever have in my life, my character was grown,  I'm a more hopeful person, and I'll never be the same...in a good way.

One of the main things God taught me this past year is that I have to challenge myself to see the beauty in a place where it seems no beauty exists.

Yesterday, during morning chapel, I got there early and sat on the end of a pew that looks out an open window towards the jungle. I put my water bottle beside me on the pew about half a foot away from me. Lucas, one of the youngest Hope House boys came in and silently sat next to me, able to slide his skinny self in between me and my water bottle, even though the rest of the pew was empty. He sang all the worship songs in Portuguese with gusto and I looked out the window at the all the beautiful trees and was just so content.

The beauty is all around. I just have to look for it.

Many blessings to you in 2013 and always.

Thank you for being on this journey with me.

Love, Joy

"Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, HOPE." -Romans 5:3-4

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him." -1 Cor. 2:9

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Pictures that go with the Blog below...

Me and Thais, my Brazilian little sister, at Carnaval outreach.
(Read previous blog for more about Carnaval outreach.)

                             The "Jesus Bus" and our team in Sao Paulo, Brazil. 
                             (Read previous blog for more on the Jesus Bus.)

Me and 3 of 5 brothers who were former "street kids"...children who grow up on the streets of Brazil.  These boys were adopted by a pastor we worked with in Sao Paulo.  Adorable, sweet kiddos!

Just One Beggar Telling Another Where to Find Bread

***August 5, 2012 update: I am waiting for my long-term visa so I can return to Brazil with YWAM. Should be here any day now. :)***

July 15, 2012

Dear Friends, Family, Encouragers, Supporters,

Well, I made it back from YWAM Recife, Brazil in one piece.  And can you believe I am getting ready to go back? 
It is really difficult to summarize 5 months into a couple of paragraphs but I want to share with you about this time in my life and also what is next for me.

YWAM or Youth With a Mission is the largest Christian missionary organization in the world with 1,000 locations in over 180 countries with a staff of over 18,000 – all unpaid missionaries.  I first became interested in YWAM when my friend and mentor gave me an autobiography by a YWAM missionary in 2003 and said, “Here, the girl in this book reminds me of you.” My life was forever changed from that moment on.  After numerous short-term mission trips over the next 9 years, I finally left my job at the hospital in 2011 and started on the grand adventure as a full-time missionary with YWAM.  And I have never looked back.  This is where I am supposed to be, no doubt about it.

The last 5 months in Brazil included a 3 month lecture phase and a 2 month outreach or practical phase.  Together this 5 month period is called DTS – Discipleship Training School.  All YWAM missionaries must attend a DTS before they can be on staff with YWAM.  YWAM believes you cannot successfully be a missionary and help others if you have unresolved unforgiveness, bitterness, and hurts from your past that you are still holding onto.  You cannot give from God to others what you don’t have.  So the first 3 months of the lecture phase focused on ourselves, which I was honestly completely unprepared for.  It was an emotional and wonderful time of healing, peace, release, and surprisingly…rest for my soul.  And it was such a beautiful base to find that rest – 33 acres of gorgeous Brazilian rain forest.

One of the highlights of that time were living and doing life with the 21 other students from 9 different countries.  It was such a rich time of learning from each other and getting to see the world through their eyes.  Another highlight was having a mandatory one hour 6am meditation/quiet time with the Lord.  God started immediately speaking to me left and right during this time and I told my discipleship leader I felt like I needed to stop, drop, and journal every 10 minutes what God was showing me.  I learned that I could not afford to not have quiet time with God everyday.  God wanted to speak to me! We also had a mandatory group intercession time in the chapel every morning before class and we boldly prayed for nations, the world, and my faith increased so much during this time.  Prayer is so powerful!

Then came the 2 month outreach phase.  Our class divided into 2 groups: half went to England and half (myself included) went to Sao Paulo, Brazil.  Outreach was crazy, fun, exhausting, adventurous, and completely indescribable.  Over the next 2 months, our team of 12 moved 7 times and lived in 5 churches and in 2 houses/apartments.  We met with schools, prisons, street children, hospitals, assisted living facilities, favelas (drug lord-controlled slum areas), soccer (futbol) projects with inner-city kids, numerous churches and ministries, the government of Sao Paulo, and evangelized on the streets.  We presented our anti-drug, anti-violence Christ-centered skits.  We gave our testimonies.  We invited people to church and prayed over them.  We fed and clothed the homeless.  We gave presentations.  We sang and danced.  Every day was so different and we were always so busy.
The highlight for me during the outreach phase was the most simple concept I had ever seen.  One night at around 1am, we met at a church and joined their ministry I dubbed “the Jesus bus”.  Once or twice a week, they loaded up an ancient, brown mini-bus with bread and tons of hot chocolate (it was very cold at night in Sao Paulo).  We took this bus out and parked under a huge bridge underpass.  Way up under the underpass, behind a large dirt berm was an invisible (to us) cavern where dozens of homeless lived.  We waited patiently for about 10 minutes before one-by-one they started making their way down the steep hill to us.  Have you ever had one of those “frozen moments” in life, where the scene freezes and you know you will never forget this moment in your life?  This was that moment for me.  Drug addicts, teen girls, transvestites came down the hill and gratefully received the hot chocolate and bread.  We invited them to church, asked if they wanted prayer (all of them did), and spent time getting to know them.  It was so simple, yet so powerful…and the absolute highlight of my entire time in Brazil.  Before I prayed over a transvestite named Renato, the pastor whispered to me not to shut my eyes while I prayed as I could easily be stabbed in the stomach if my eyes were closed.  I just smiled and felt perfect peace that God was protecting me.  This is exactly where I’m supposed to be.  I’ve waited all my life for this moment.

Surprisingly, a few weeks later in Sao Paulo - a city of 20 million people, the largest city in South America - I saw Renato, the very same man, on another street corner begging for money.  I surprised the new pastors we were with by rolling down my window and yelling Renato’s name.  He came over and smiled and shook my hand and we chatted for a bit in Portuguese.  Seeing him again reminded me to pray daily for this guy who used to go to church with his mom when he was little and now was a homeless transvestite.  And it reminded me that as D.T. Niles says, I’m just one beggar telling another where to find bread.

So, what’s next?  I really enjoyed my DTS and I really like YWAM’s philosophy.  They are really focused on evangelism and on helping the needy.  The YWAM base I attended even had a home on the base for street boys…boys who were homeless and lived on the streets.  I also like how they prepare people to be missionaries.  So….Lord willing, I am returning to Brazil at the end of July to become staff for the next DTS class.  I will mentor and disciple 3 to 4 English-speaking girls while they attend the classroom phase and walk beside them as they heal and also get peace for their souls.  And then it is a possibility that I will help lead the outreach phase as well.  I would also like to work with the street kid ministry that is a mobile team that goes out at midnight on the weekends.  With all my training in child development, child psychology, and child life, it is a heartache to see young kids growing up on the streets. 

I would like to stay with YWAM for a few years at least.  I am interested in many things and many countries, and YWAM has diverse opportunities all over the world.  In 2013, YWAM is starting a Medical DTS, which I am also looking into.

God is just showing me what is ahead in the next week or so, and is requiring that I trust Him to have my future in His hands.  And for once, I am letting go and enjoying being surprised.  It is a fun place to be!  And I know the ONE in control has great plans for my life. Jeremiah 29:11  I am resting in that peace for my future.

Thank you for your support and prayers and love.  I couldn’t have done it without you.  I pray God blesses you in the way you have blessed me. (Prov. 11:25).  Deus te abencoe!  Abracos, Joy Daugherty

Our team in the green anti-child sex trafficking shirts praying over a man during Carnaval. 300 people asked Jesus into their heart during our Carnaval outreach. In Brazil, it is believed that Carnaval is the one day that God doesn't see your sin so there is much prostitution, drug and alcohol use, etc on this weekend. Even many Christian organizations in Brazil stay far, far away from Carnaval, but I am thankful that YWAM marches right in to shine God's light in that dark place.  We joined with about 5 other YWAM bases in Northeast Brazil for a total of about 300-400 missionaries (our sea of green in our green shirts) and made a difference in 4 large nearby cities during Carnaval. :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

School, Prison, and Hospital...great opportunities!

We have had some amazing opportunities lately.  In the past few days we have visited a school twice, a hospital, and a prison.  There is something to be said about countries that aren't so strict about visitation rules.

We spent 2 days at a school nearby that has 3 different schools during the day: one in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one at night.  There are 1,000 children who attend this school so they have to split up the day like this to accomodate so many children.  We did our Christian-themed dances and skits with anti-drug, anti-sex, anti-violence messages and the kids loved them.  In fact, I cracked up yesterday because during one of the skits, I was pretending to do drugs as part of the drama, and I had 3 girls around 12 years old shaking their fingers at me and saying "No!"  So cute!  

But earlier in the week, I spoke about drugs to the older kids...teens and pre-teens and asked for a show of hands of people who knew someone who does drugs.  Almost every one of the 200 kids raised their hands and a few of them pointed to each other.  You might think they were joking but the director says teen and pre-teen drug use is very common at that school.

At the end of our first presentation, a teen girl came up to me and asked if I know how what someone should do if they want to get off drugs.  She said she has many friends on drugs and she wanted to help them.  It was immediately apparent to me that she herself was on something as her eyes were only halfway open and even though I could't understand her Portuguese very well and had to use a translator (another girl on our team), I could tell she wasn't always coherent.  I gave her some advice and talked to her for a bit.  But she weighed on my mind for the next 2 hours as we were there.  I suddenly hoped I would see her again that day.  I did.  I made a beeline for her as we were about to leave and found a Jesus bracelet in my purse and put it on her wrist and asked if I could pray for her.  She said yes so I did.  I'm so glad I saw her again and could pray for her.  Her name is Camilla, if you want to pray for her as well.  I hoped to post a pic of her and I but I will next time. Such a sweet girl!

Today we toured a small community hospital.  The leader was so kind to tour us around each and every room and dept and speak with all the people who worked there.  THAT would never happen in the USA!  She explained the challenges with the lack of government support and the lack of medications.  It seems like they have some good programs, though, as they do home visits, prevention, etc.  I got to meet the social worker and the pediatric doctor and it made me miss working at my hospital in the US.  :)  Just a little.  

Our leader felt strongly that we should pray over the people in the waiting area and give them a big abraço (hug).  So we did this.  With every single person in the waiting area.  It was so cool.  It reminded me of how back home at my hospital I was giving a tour of our hospital to 3 ladies and one lady I was touring joked that she would get sick because I had her follow me through the Emergency Dept waiting room. I think it was a joke, but it made me sad for her. I love how Brazilians are so compassionate and not so worried about germs.  Relationships and people come first.  It also reminds me of a time when I was on an Operation Smile trip in India and a nurse told me not to hug the kids because I might get lice.  I said lice won´t kill me, but not hugging a child might.

Lastly, we went to the prison today.  We weren't allowed in as the guards said it was too dangerous.  So we all stood in a line outside and prayed over the prisoners, the guards, the police, the families of the prisoners, etc.  And we prayed with many of the family members who were waiting outside to deliver towels, and treats, and soap for their loved ones through a tiny barred window.  Many amazing conversations and people who needed to see love, not judgement.  It was really great!

Amazing things happening!  God is opening up so many doors and opportunities for us!!  I am in total amazement at all we have done here in just a little over a week.  Please keep us in your prayers.  More opportunities.  Open hearts. And have fun while we are doing it!!  Thank you and God bless!  Beijos!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hellllllooooo, Sao Paulo!!!!!

"Look at the nations and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe even if you were told." -Habukkuk 1:5

We arrived in Sao Paulo the other days for 45 days of outreach working with churches, schools, assisted living facilities, hospitals, futbol (soccer to the Americans) projects, etc. For the next 3 weeks we are staying on the top floor of an Assembly of God church.  The church people don´t have much but they embraced us with open arms and brought us all of their best beds and blankets.  So, so very kind!!

Day before yesterday we had our first full day of 6:30am wake-up, 7am breakfast, 7:30 individiual meditation, 8am group worship/prayer/revelation time and then all day outreach and church at night.

In the morning we met with a local public school. They welcomed us and explained how they used to be a very poor school with a bad reputation and that it has cleaned up quite a bit but they still have a big drug problem.  We shared about our anti-drug/anti-sex/anti-violence dramas and they are very excited to have us come back on Friday and perform for the kids.  We even shared that they have a Christian message and praise God, the leaders of the school are almost all Christians and are so happy we have come.  At one point the director asked me why I came from the US when though there are problems in the US too.  I shared with her about how I left a good job and my own life in the US because I felt strongly that my life was supposed to be more and that God was calling me elsewhere.  Also, I thought later about the verse in Matthew that says go into ALL the nations and I realized I have always thought of all nations as my nation...which I think is the heart of God as well.  When I shared (via translator), the director said she had goosebumps and the lady next to her (a teacher) cried.

They are rearranging the whole Friday schedule so we can do the dramas and teaching to all the kids in the school in 3 different sessions.  That would never happen in the US!!!  Praise God!!!

Yesterday was really amazing as well.  We went into the "projects" yesterday...a former slum area that the government took over and made into a housing project. Very much reminds me of the Chicago housing projects....big apt buildings.  We met with about 40 pre-teen boys who were playing futbol with a futbol project.  We did the funky chicken dance with them (fond memories of TRAC :) and shared about Jesus.  They were so stinkin sweet and I had to hug and kiss 2 on the cheek before I left (my 2 new friends).  As we walked away to leave, we suddenly heard sounds from far away and we looked back and they were all doing the funky chicken on the soccer field towards us.  We did the funky chicken back from far away. And as we turned the corner and could no longer see them, we could still hear them.  It made me tear up.  The pastor said many of the parents are on drugs and the government knows but doesn´t have the money to do anything about it.  I think we will get to go back which will be so wonderful!!  We prayed over them too and I just kept praying "love and acceptance", "love and acceptance" over and over as I felt it was what they were sorely lacking.

Then in the afternoon, we met with some government officials at a large gov't building and - how cool is this- a group of them met with us at a gazebo type area and they prayed and sang worship songs over the city and a pastor shared a short message.  I guess they are a group of Christian officials who do this on a weekly basis and invited us.  The lady in charge gave us all slips of paper with the verse on it from Habukkuk 1:5 (at the top) and it has quickly become one of my favorites. :)

It is a really crazy time of many miracles, amazing things, doing life together, and enjoying living as a big family on the top floor of an Assembly of God church.  Never thought I´d say that! Actually, I love it so much and in some ways hope I can live like this forever.  Who knew?!?  And the commute to church is great!  One minute down the stairs.  :)

Being here has stretched me so much but also increased my faith so much.  I have sung and danced in the aisles in church and am doing all sorts of things I never thought I'd do!  But I'm so happy and feel like my life will never be the same.  In a good way.  :)

God bless you all and many bençoes from Brasil!!!  More updates to follow.  We are living in a place now that is not so secluded and have Internet cafes nearby.  Yay!  And NO MOSQUITOS!!!  THe 200 bites on my legs can finally heal.

Please keep us in your prayers and also the half of our team who is in England for the next 45 days.

Muito Amor, Joy