A Tribute To Joy
It all started in Alberta, Canada in 1987. That’s where I first met Joy….
As a part of the new Vineyard USA movement, Rick, and I were invited to come to a church in Alberta. They asked us to share what we were learning about everyday people being used by God to advance his kingdom around us. That first trip turned into a ten year run of exciting times! We ended up taking 100’s of people from Fort Collins, Colorado to Canada as ministry teams for the conferences Rick led. God answered the prayers of our team in miraculous ways! After several years of trips to Alberta we had built strong relationships with wonderful Canadian friends. It wasn’t long before God began calling some of them to start Vineyard churches.
After several years of going to Canada, I met Joy Best. She and her husband, Gary, had been leading their church in Langley, British Columbia for several years and had two school age kids. They were the couple picked by John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard movement, to oversee the new church plants in Alberta. It was such a privilege to be able to partner with Joy during that time and to get experience all God was doing in Canada. The more I got to know her the more i grew to love and respect her.
Joy was passionate.
Kids were one of the things that her heart beat for. She wanted kids to know and experience the love and power of Jesus. She wrote lessons for teaching kids that were like none I had ever seen. She believed that kids could experience God, just like adults could. I knew she was right, but I had never seen curriculum that communicated that relational aspect of knowing Jesus like she was able to do. Not only was she writing resources for kids’ ministry, but she made them freely available to anyone! She was the one who fanned the spark inside of me that desire to create resources for churches to teach their kids about the Holy Spirit.
Joy was generous.
She was always looking for ways to give to those who didn’t have enough. Helping under-resourced people was a big part of who she was. Their church had established a “free” clothing store in the community of Langley, where people could come and shop for clothes for free! They treated their customers with dignity and love. I was very impacted by what I saw. We started our own outreach center at our church based on what we had seen at the church in Langley.
Joy loved like Jesus.
The time I spent with Joy always left me feeling closer to Jesus. I have memories of small things that Joy did or said when I was with her that made a huge impact on the way I live. One of the times when I was in her home she told me about simple everyday life conversations that she had with her kids. She shared me that she had told one of her kids that God had created them do well in school, so that they could help other kids who had a harder time learning. She had a way of helping them see themselves as kids living on mission. They were gifted by God to share with others who didn’t have what they had. That‘s exactly what I wanted to do for my two boys!
Joy worshiped Jesus with her whole life.
Another time when Joy was visiting Colorado, we went for an early morning walk. As we were walking and talking she stopped and picked up a piece of trash she saw laying by the side of the road. She said that she would often do that, and tell Jesus she was doing that act of kindness just for him. I thought, “that’s how I want to live. I want to see the small, sometimes seen as insignificant, ways to serve that others might ignore. I want to use those opportunities to do something tangible to show Jesus that I love him!”
Last week Joy went home to be with Jesus. I’m very sad for her family. I know that they will miss her dearly. But I also know that being with Jesus was the greatest desire in her life.
She loved like Jesus loves. She worshipped him with her whole being. She gave generously of all she had. She created beauty wherever she was.
Thank you, Joy, for depositing in me a little of your passion for Jesus.