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Oh Joy! Monthly Membership

Please enjoy these comments submitted by our wonderful World Joy volunteers:

"Things are different here.

The rooster crows. The sun rises. It’s morning in the bustling little villages of the Atiwa District, where everything is different.

Here, every morning at dawn, everyone gets to work preparing the basics for the day, reminding those of us from the western world of the many things we take for granted. Some gather water from the well and carry it back to their home in buckets on their heads. Women sweep their concrete steps and the dirt outside their homesteads, demonstrating incredible pride in taking care of their humble home. Many don’t wear shoes, despite the hot, dusty ground. Children get themselves ready early in the morning – heading out to the streets under their own supervision. Some care to the animals or the crops while others—the lucky ones—walk to school where they will begin their day with chanting, song and maybe drums. Clothes are washed in bins outside the home. Some take a simple sponge bath outside for a shower. The streets are alive with preparations for the day. The goats and sheep mingle with the children in the streets, each one moving only when a passing vehicle is in the way.

A very different life.

Stay a little longer, though, look a little deeper, and you’ll see beyond the cosmetic differences of this place. Paul and Beatrice, a local couple, finish preparing foo-foo for tonight’s dinner and then open their shop, hoping to sell enough of their wares to get what they need. Maria, a primary school teacher posted here from the city, prepares her lesson for the day hoping her students will understand, and that their parents will care enough to help them study. Ernest checks on the status of his corn maze crop and helps his son, daughter-in-law and new grandchild make plans for saving for school. The local mayor visits the new health post and library and thinks about how to inspire the children to run for their dreams. Moses, a high school student sings his morning songs and dreams of being a performer one day. Manuel, 13-years-old, looks forward to his homework. He wants to be the president of Ghana one day. Arthur, a 14-year-old boy, watches everything that is happening with a keen eye. Arthur wants to be a journalist and says he can carry news to people who need it most. A group of local boys play soccer, passing time on a beautiful day. The local kindergarten children laugh and giggle as they play games. There is laughter in the streets and a feeling of hope in the air.

A life not much different from our own."

--Cami Boehme, Senior Vice President of Marketing & Brand Communications, Viridian Energy

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"There are moments in your life that you expect to be unforgettable, like the day you marry, or bring a child into the world. Then, there are those moments that happen so unexpectedly that you barely have time to blink, and yet you realize that you will never forget them.

One such moment happened for me in the small village of Abrenya in the country of Ghana. I was walking on a trail through a lush tropical green forest in Africa. Suddenly, I saw in the distance a school, built by World Joy, and a hundred children dressed in white school uniforms, running toward me and my travel companions.

The greeting I received that day from those children will remain with me forever. I felt a sure confirmation of the love our Heavenly Father has for the beautiful children in Ghana, and an unmistakable knowledge of the love He has for me for letting me experience such a moment."

--Kami Nielsen

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"AAAAFFFFRRRRIIIIIICCCCAAA

Ever since I was a little girl, I have always wanted to go on an ‘out of the ordinary’ vacation. Then, in my mind, that meant Switzerland or Taiwan. But when my mom announced to me that we were going to Ghana, Africa, I had to sit down and think about it. Would I really want to go there? What if it’s unsafe? What if it is heartbreaking?

In the end, we decided to take our chances and leave our quiet lives. As we were boarding the plane, there was not a person on that flight more excited than I was. I was ready to experience a new culture and give to people that had nothing.

When we finally arrived in the small village of Abomosu, I was immediately greeted with open arms. The people of Ghana are so generous, even if they have nothing to give. Everyone wants to wave, smile, touch your skin, and play with your hair everywhere you go. I have never felt more loved on a vacation than on my trip to Africa.

I don’t regret going at all. Everything about my trip was amazing and eye-opening. I wish I was still painting schools and dancing with children in the streets of Abomosu. I want to live my life like the Ghanaian people that I met. They were cheerful and charitable, even though they were living in poverty. I will always remember the many lessons they taught me and the incredible experience I had."

--Madison Nielsen

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"Ever since I can remember I have dreamed of traveling to Ghana. I was fascinated by the people, and the culture, and I wanted to experience it for myself. On June 22nd, my dream came true. My experience in Ghana not only met my expectations, but completely exceeded them. This experience, and these people, truly changed my life.

It taught me gratitude and hard work. Some of the people that we met with had nothing, but yet they were so much happier than some of the people back home that have everything. Behind the dirt, and the tattered clothing, their eyes had a distinct sparkle. They were so grateful for the tiny things that we gave them. Everywhere I went they expressed sincere gratitude, and thanked God for everything that they had.

They also worked so hard. They taught me to take what I have been given and make it into something more. They never ceased to amaze me with their industrious thinking. They found a solution for each of their problems no matter what.

This experience taught me to embrace every day, and to do what I can with what I have. I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to go to Ghana. The people and the country itself have made a mark on my heart that will never be forgotten. Although I did not do anything to deserve this experience, I thank my Father in Heaven each and every day for the opportunity I had to go to Ghana and serve his children there. I truly believe the people of Ghana served me more than I served them--a dream come true."

--Katelyn Brown

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"My trip to Ghana was a life-changing experience. The emotion I experienced over and over as we visited the schools, participated in the service activities and were hugged by those beautiful children, is that they are a truly happy, loving people. As I heard them say the little cheer about joy I understood that you can experience joy without material possessions. I was so impressed to see the results of the efforts of World Joy to make their schools a better place. What a wonderful pursuit. I loved meeting the [local] teachers and seeing their efforts in the children's behalf. Seeing the children's beautiful brown eyes sparkle was awesome. I am very grateful to have been there to experience the joy we were able to spread in Ghana and the gratitude the people had for our service."

--Wendy Oakes

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"[The] trip that we took to Abomosu and other villages was like no other trip that I have ever experienced. I have been sightseeing and visited grand cathedrals in different parts of our world, but I can thank World Joy for letting me experience and feel part of the Ghanaian culture first hand. Never before have I experienced the happiness and love expressed by the little children when they would come running across their school yards to hug and greet us. It made me happy when they realized that we were with World Joy. Instantly they would be all smiles and break out in a cheer devoted to World Joy. I was proud to be a part of representing an organization that has helped out in so many facets of each village: educating teachers, building schools and new health facilities, and bringing wells to villages that did not have access to clean water.

I heard first-hand from teachers and headmasters how grateful they have been for the things that World Joy has already done for their children. It is hard to ignore how much more needs to be done.

Travis and I are grateful to World Joy for letting us be a part of this trip. It was kept at a minimal cost. It was wonderful because we were able to have a clean, safe place to stay. It has humbled us. We are so grateful for the things that we have and will always try and remember never, never to take our lives for granted."

--Terri Bianucci