Hi, My name is Joy I help in the front kitchen most of you won’t know me. So I’ve helped out for about a year now I think. I guess one kinda way to describe my place or what I feel is my place in the team is as one of the kids of Real Hope as it feels like I’m surrounded by uncles, aunts, cousins etc which are the other members of the team. So to me it genuinely gels like being part of a big family.
To be honest when I was asked to do this I kinda freaked out on the inside thinking – oh no they’re gonna find out about me….?! The shock came because I don’t like to talk about my past. I know it seems strange because when you first look at me nobody would guess that I’d grown up with domestic abuse in my household, or suffered depression or would have even attempted suicide at about age 12. And whilst all this was happening at home I even had the fun of enduring some bullying at school. But hey! That’s all part of my history- but it’s harder for people to understand that I’ve been a Christian nearly all that time (just over 13 years know). Injustice, isolation & hopelessness have all been key in my life. It’s a miracle that I’m still here today literally! It is only thanks to the grace of God that I’m breathing & writing this right now. It’s a miracle that I don’t live in fear at home or feel like there is no purpose in my existence, because of Jesus I have a hope to live! Because of him I feel loved & protected! – This is love & hope is so real to me that I don’t have to go round seeking people: humans to fill the hole in me because I know God says in the Bible “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6) – in all that time of isolation & fear God was leading me & protecting my life- which at many times I could’ve lost.
But here I am today & this ministry “Real Hope” is so real & alive to me, it gives an opportunity to help people (even just by cutting up bread, or carrying dishes to kitchen etc) it gives a chance for us to share hope, in Jesus; the freedom we have from fear, from death, from sin as our sins are forgiven. It provides an opportunity to make authentic quality relationships with people- because I know I don’t just go to ‘stand there and look pretty’ I go to see real people, find out how their day is going because I know many of those people have felt and do feel pain, fear and isolation. To me they are like siblings as I have shared & will share in those internal battles of the heart & mind- I don’t want them to feel isolated or abandoned as it says in the Bible “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39) so I try and show love & respect to our guests as if they’re part of the Church (or Real Hope) family.
I always want you to know that your life is valuable no matter how hopeless it may seem, freedom, peace & love can be yours if you are willing to accept Jesus into your life- he is “the way the truth & the life & no one can get to the father except through him” (John 14:6)and as accepting Jesus means accepting God then that means you accept love into your life pure, free, limitless love as “God is love”. I pray that when you read this it will be with an open mind & that you will accept Christ Jesus ( if you haven’t already) into your life as I did many years back- as he has guided my path & got me through life this far- I’ll give all credit and thanks to Him as it’s a miracle by his doing that I’m here today.
God bless you all