June / July 2017 - Vol. 92
YouthWorks-Detroit staff and
                                youth outdoors

Joy in Detroit
by Joe Mahony

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3

Coming to Detroit was the biggest step of independence I have ever taken in my life. I was almost naive to the fact that I was moving away from home, going out to serve the Lord and live a life where I have real responsibilities like paying rent or having to cook three meals a week.

Looking back to when I made the decision to come I never considered the fact that I would be leaving all my family, all my friends and everything that I had ever known. This would be my first time in America and I was going for 11 months! To do all that at the age of 18, as a very big home bird, was huge for me. It wasn’t until the honeymoon period faded that I realised the step I had taken and all of a sudden I became very home sick.

Those first 2 months were very difficult for me, getting used to the cultural differences, trying to get to know the people I’d be living and working with (who I’d never met before), getting to know the youth I was going to be working with, finding out where all my service would be and a lot more. And then I got to know the youth, and I started to feel very much at home with them.

I serve in the Youthworks program Bezalel which I absolutely love. As all programs that work with kids are, the first day and every day since has been crazy! But I love it. These kids come from some of the most broken homes I personally have ever experienced and yet they seem to have a real authentic joy. There’s one kid in particular who doesn’t come from a great home situation, but she is also the most joyful of all the kids! She sometimes can’t even contain her joy and she just breaks out into these spontaneous dances of joy. The amount I am learning from this 10 year old girl on how to live a life of joy is unbelievable.

As I reflected on Lent just gone by and this Easter season I am realising that Christ had joy and he wishes us to have joy through everything we do. Christ had joy through his passion, not because of pain and suffering he had to endure, but because he knew that God the father would look after Him and he knew that he was doing his father’s will, and that brought him great joy.

I am learning that God doesn’t give us an easy path to walk, there are hardships involved in doing His will, but there is no greater joy then the joy you receive from doing His will. And so I’m looking forward to working with all the kids this summer and I’m very excited to learn more from these kids on how to live a life full of joy.

“Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do.” Ecclesiastes 9:7

Joe Mahony grew up in Dublin, Ireland in the Nazareth Community and currently serves with YouthWorks-Detroit.

To learn more about YouthWorks-Detroit visit their web site and Facebook page

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