Saturday, November 29, 2014

Giving Tuesday

We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.
It’s a simple idea. Just find a way for your family, your community, your company, or your organization to come together to give something more. Then tell everyone you can about how you are giving. We would love for Pure Joy International to be one of the organizations that you choose to support. You can give online by clicking HERE.

Blessings to you and your family!

P.S. We also participate in the Amazon Smile program for 501c3 organizations. If you are purchasing Christmas gifts through Amazon please utilize Amazon Smile. Click HERE to register for Amazon Smile and designate Pure Joy as the charity you would like to support. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving and family are upon us…..

I got a chuckle from this story and want to pass it on. I hope it brings a smile to your face during a time that can be not only a time of thanksgiving but of stress for some. I found it at!
The Taylor’s were proud of their family tradition. Their ancestors had travelled to America with the Pilgrim Fathers on the Mayflower. They had included Congressmen, successful entrepreneurs, famous sports people and television stars.
They decided to research and write a family history, something for their children and grandchildren. They found a specialist genealogist and writer to help them. Only one problem arose – how to handle Great Uncle Jefferson Taylor who was executed in the electric chair.  
The writer said she could handle the story tactfully. When the book appeared the section about Jefferson read:
Great Uncle Jefferson Taylor occupied a chair of applied electronics at an important government institution, he was attached to his position by the strongest ties, and his death came as a great shock.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and all your “ancestors”!

From the Staff of Pure Joy International!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

One Team Member's Reflection of Tanzania…..

So…it’s the morning after arriving home from Tanzania, Africa. Scratch that. Just looked at the clock. It’s afternoon here; it’s 10:30 tonight TZ time. Although I’ve been up for 8 hours, my body has no idea what time it is, when it should eat, when it should sleep. My head has no idea what to think besides, “What just happened?!?” In the 7 days I was on Tanzanian soil, it never sunk in that I was really in Africa. Hopefully telling the story will help me realize that I really was there. And so, with that bleary-eyed thought, I will try to express through written words my experience in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

It’s no short journey from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Tanzania, Africa. I arrived at the airport at 7:30 am on a cold November, Friday morning. Our entire team met in Atlanta, most of us never or barely having met before, and continued our trip together from there. When we finally landed in Tanzania it was about 10:30 pm Saturday, TZ time, having skipped 9 hours on the clock. It was hot. It was HOT and HUMID. The black sky looked exactly as you would expect it to in Africa, with wisps of clouds illuminated by the bright, full moon.

Next, we squeezed a huge plane-load of people into a hot airport room and handed our passports and a $100 dollar bill to a man for VISA approval. No. Not the spend-now-pay-later kind of visa. The let-you-into-the-country-for-$100-dollars kind of visa. We waited until our names were called and our passports were returned, plus a visa page, minus $100. While I waited in the absolute slowest line ever to have my passport/visa approved, the rest of the team gathered our luggage which, by the literal grace of God, bypassed all inspections. That was great! Because it was LATE by then, we were TIRED and HOT, and we still had a hotter journey to the hotel to accomplish.

There was a quick stop to exchange dollars for shillings (a thousand shillings equaled about 60 cents), a struggle to fit 15 women and 45 pieces of luggage/equipment onto a bus with significantly smaller capacity (we ended up renting a cab/van, too), and our journey, both physically and otherwise, within Tanzania had begun.

It was impossible, even on the dark streets, to miss the poverty. Everywhere we looked there were make-shift shops along roadsides, spilling over with people.  Some appeared to be grabbing a midnight opportunity to accomplish tasks, carrying huge loads on their heads or from poles across their shoulders.  Others seemed to be enjoying the company of their community.  The streets were dark, minus the lights from small fires, candles, and headlights.  It was Broadway, NYC, minus money, electricity, and “real” buildings.  The Tanzania version, maybe, of a “city that never sleeps.”  Or so it seemed to me.

Some time passed, maybe 30 minutes or more, before we pulled through the gates of our walled-in resort, leaving behind the darkness and poverty.  This was upscale Tanzania, reputed around the country for its luxury.  Though it was “morning” when we arrived, it was still hours until daylight, so it wouldn’t be until after a little sleep that we would get to take in just where we were.

If you are curious, our rooms were nice, though not fancy.  Air-conditioned, unless the maid shut the electricity off. We had mosquito nets, geckos, and copious amounts of nightly pesticides to protect us from bugs. The water only shut off once, though my room lacked enough shower pressure to even wash sand off my body. We made it work, creatively at times, and truthfully, we were comfortable. I slept well every night.   The missionaries were delighted with their accommodations.

Daylight came quickly, and as my roommate and I pulled back the curtains to see the view from our room, we gasped in equal delight and surprise. Just in front of us were Caribbean-blue waters and palm trees framed in by brilliant colored flowers. THIS is Africa?? WOW.

Downstairs we found that the grand “lobby” of the hotel was a massive, open aired space, as was the large dining room, with ocean breezes blowing through and breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean. Everywhere, there were beautiful dark faces smiling and serving us.

Wait, wait, wait. THIS is a mission trip?? I know what you are thinking; I was thinking that, too! But please understand; we, Pure Joy International, were there to pull missionary women off of the mission field for a few days. Our mission field was the ladies, and this place was the background of their much needed rest and restoration.  But first we did need a couple days to acclimate! And so we walked the beach, swam in the Indian Ocean, snorkeled from an uninhabited island, and rested…, so that we would be refreshed and ready to receive and love on the women who would soon join us. That is where the real story begins, with the missionary women.

Forty-nine women (one had to back out at the last minute) arrived over the course of a few hours. From the moment they arrived, we began serving them, though it was difficult for most to even allow that. It is their habit, their calling, their way of life to serve. To be served, that is an entirely unfamiliar place for them! So we took suitcases (or just backpacks for some) from them, escorted them to their rooms, and encouraged them. “Relax! Rest! Let us take care of YOU for a few days.

I first began to understand the need for this retreat upon the women’s response to Vickie when, that first evening, she told them, “Ladies, I love you, but I want you to know, I am NOT impressed with you.” Forty-nine women applauded.  Forty-nine women were grateful to hear that for a few days, they did not need to measure up to anyone’s expectations. I was beginning to see: these are not just missionaries, these are very ordinary women called to extraordinary lives. My heart and my eyes were opening to a new perspective and a new understanding of the challenges of living under the title of “Missionary”. 

Most people would agree that the title “missionary” conjures up images of faith, foreign lands, foreign languages, teaching, serving, praying, and leading great lives of faith, service, and sacrifice for the sake of God. Maybe, like me, you hold them up to a pretty high level of admiration. Maybe you also consider them to be…I don’t know…better at life. More faithful. Wiser. Better parents, with better children. They can probably do most things better than I can. They are missionaries, after all. They are just…better.

And part of being better means that they can handle more pressure, than I can. They can withstand bigger challenges because they have bigger faith. They can endure tougher circumstances because they are, well, they are missionaries. It’s what they do! It’s what God called them to do!

If you are a missionary and you are reading this, please forgive me! I understand so much more now. 

These women, these ordinary, extraordinary women…they are just like you. They are just like me. They do not have any kind of special skin which is thicker and more able to withstand the personal blows.
They have good days and bad. Days they love to serve and days they are empty. Days they enjoy their husbands and days they just fulfill their vows.  They love their kids, but their kids go through the same battles that yours or mine do, needing instruction and discipline. Yet even missionary kids do not always want it and do not always learn from it.
And protecting your children from threats as real as violence or malaria is no small undertaking. Missionaries can suffer profound disappointment, genuine depression, loneliness, fear, doubt…just like you. Just like me. Just like all of us.  

One favorite moment with these women was watching them open their favorite bag…each bag made and filled by women in the USA who long to send love to these missionaries, though they’ve never met them. The missionaries were overwhelmed—over whelmed by gratitude.  Those bags were filled with things like…. Chocolate, Cheese-itz, parmesan cheese, canned pumpkin, tampons (yes, TAMPONS)…. There were Lego toys, protein bars, drink mixes, Fritos, etc.

I learned a lot from them while I was there to serve them. They refreshed me, as I watched them be refreshed through fellowship, Bible study and worship. They laughed a lot. They cried a lot, too. They got real. They were open. And there was hope and healing and joy restored to them in so many ways.

And then they left. So did I. Only I took a series of long plane rides back to my comfy, easy challenges in the USA. They? They returned to the mission field some to areas so remote that they are the only one of their color in town, some to areas where they are veiled beneath the customary clothes of Muslim cultures.  Back to lonely, hard, hot, difficult places. Back to places where the needs of the people are so massive, so immeasurable, so potentially hopeless at there seems to be no end, no solution. But. They go. Because they believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that He sends them. 
They go because the Gospel of Jesus Christ needs to be lived out, taught, spread among the nations. They grow to love “their people”; they return to continue serving them. And because they’ve had a few days of rest, because they have had their own spiritual tanks refilled through prayer and lessons and worship and fellowship, they return happier, lighter, better….I went to Tanzania because I wanted to serve. I’m still processing what I gained, not because I have any doubt that I did gain, but because I gained so much that I am unsure of just how to sort it, store it, use it…Missionaries. Missionary women. Ordinary in every way. I get that now. Real. Imperfect. And yet…and yet…they are on the mission field. I am not. I can’t help it; I’m still impressed by them, more than ever before.

Sunday, November 16, 2014


We have been informed that this blog may have been hacked. If you recently received an email from us with a URL do not click on it.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and are looking into it.
Thank you for your prayers and support.
PJI staff

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Day 4 of Retreat….

Incredible finish! Pictures and update to come next week!! God is a good God!

Boarding the plane for U.S.A.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Day 3 of Retreat….

We had another full day. The missionary women are so sweet and are absolutely enjoying themselves. Sharon, Holly and I spoke today. It is always so awesome to see what God is doing in a retreat. We always have our theme we start with and then He develops an underlying theme before the week is out. Our underlying theme has been Trust: The very essential importance of us being able to Trust God. Recognizing that we don’t trust one who we don’t know, therefore we must grow in our reading and studying of the word of God.
Hard to believe we will be boarding a plane tomorrow night at this time 11:55 p.m. Saturday night. Pray for our flight home. We will be in the air when you get this.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Day 2 of Retreat…..

Today has been a full day. The women love the retreat, fellowship, food, free time, worship, message, counseling, etc. We have laughed so much! Ok, we are women, we have cried some too. (smile)

The messages continue to be so awesome and all different but yet the same common thread reminding us that He is our Rock and we SHALL NOT BE MOVED. This afternoon many of the ladies made their way to the swimming pool and ocean. I laughed as I watched them out my hotel window crispy critter their bodies. Also, several went to the ‘water park’ that is included with their hotel stay. Over half of them enjoyed that outing. I can’t believe they enjoyed a water park with No Kids. Ha,ha,ha

The missionary women love the mixture of presenters, so many different styles of presentations. Today, Sharon, Lindsay, Holly, and Donna Rona shared with us. It was great! Then tonight we did something so cool for them. We had movie night. We actually brought popcorn, bags, movie candy (Milk Dud, Hot Tamales, Jr. Mints, Peanut M&M’s, and Salty Chips). Then we set the back part of the conference room as a movie theater snack bar. We watched the movie “Mom’s Night Out” and laughed so much.

The women have shared with several of us team members how they love the schedule and its blend of worship, teaching time, free time, meals, fun, etc. God is showing up and ministering to the missionary women and team members alike. Praise Him!

It is 12:30 a.m. here on Thursday, which means it is 3:30 p.m. there. It is still HOT here!!!! My mom says it was 29 degrees in Morrilton, AR. I actually think we are ready to return to some cool air. On the other side of that… The missionary women constantly want us to turn the air up in the retreat room. Ha,ha,ha

Ok, tired…Headed to bed.

Love you all,



Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Missionaries arrived today....

The missionary women arrived today. They are soooo excited to be here. They have not stopped thanking us for coming, and for the generosity of those that support the ministry. 

We started out with me sharing about the birth of Pure Joy International. We then had an icebreaker that was the "pay it forward" ice breaker the girls in Dominican Republic had done with dominoes. They gave us the dominos for this trip. The women loved it!! After the icebreaker we had the sweetest time of praise and worship! It was wonderful!! Heavenly!!! For the opening message I shared on our theme verse from Psalm 62:6.

“He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I will not be moved.”

Then we went to dinner. Mychelle and Martha each shared some really sweet testimonies of their journey and struggles as a believer in everyday life!  

Everyone is off to bed as I type this. At least that is what they have me believing! Ha ha ha

Keep praying as we minister!

Love you all...