We’ve been talking about JOY all month at STORYCHURCH as we head toward Christmas. And this week, we just launched our annual year-end giving project called the “Joy Offering.” Funds from this offering allow us at STORYCHURCH to do things that just aren’t in the budget. It allows us to look beyond paying bills and to move the mission of our church forward in very real, practical ways. Probably the most important thing we do each year as a church through this offering is to fund and build a well somewhere in the world for people who don’t otherwise have access to clean water. We’ve built wells in the Central African Republic, in Haiti, and twice in Guatemala.
Last year, I had the privilege of being part of the team that went to Guatemala and ran the drill rig that literally dug the well. That meant that I got to work alongside the very people who would be drinking from this well. It was an incredible experience. One of my favorite people that I met there was “Yayo.” I’m not sure how you spell it actually, but it’s pronounced “Yah-Yo.” As you can probably see, Yayo has down syndrome. But when I think about someone with JOY, I think about Yayo. He was so much fun to be around. Despite the language barrier, his sweet spirit came through loud and clear.
What probably impacted me the most about Yayo was his ability to bring JOY wherever he went. The local people knew him well. He was apparently always around the neighborhood, wandering in and out of places. He had a HUGE appetite. Haha. He ate more food at meals than anyone I’ve ever seen. And he loved to help out with whatever we were doing. The gloves he has on here were a source of laughter for us all constantly. It seemed like he was always taking them off and then asking for help to put them back on. We probably put those gloves on his hands twenty times a day. Ha! Yayo was somewhat limited with Down’s Syndrome, but his ability to bring joy to all of us was really special. Whenever he was around, there were smiles and laughs happening. He loved to tease people, to shadow box, and to make funny faces.
I share all this because JOY is such a precious resource. Like water itself, JOY comes from somewhere deep down. And when a group of people receive life-giving water in their community, it’s not just water that comes to the surface. It’s JOY. In Guatemala I saw old men laughing and having water fights, kids pouring water over their heads, and an entire village come out to celebrate and have a party together because something as simple as water was now available to them.
This is why we do our JOY OFFERING. I hope you’ll consider joining me in giving generously to see lives changed and to bring JOY to the world.