What is missed more than anything else by many cross-cultural workers?
Worshiping in English! Of course it’s great to worship in other languages and styles, but sometimes you just want a little comfort food for the soul.
That’s why I can’t wait for you to meet Joy Beless.
I met Joy on an Azmera retreat in Costa Rica and was delighted when we served together a year later in Indonesia. I cannot wait for you to meet her and learn about The Invitation Project! Without further ado, welcome to Joy Beless.
We’d love to hear a bit about you! Have you lived overseas? How have you been involved in cross-cultural work?
My family moved to Tokyo when our four children were ages 4, 6, 9, and 11. We didn’t know the term then, but it was a BAM opportunity. Why else would my husband’s company choose to send a family of six rather than a single person to begin an office in one of the most expensive countries? We knew it was God moving us overseas and embraced this opportunity to be involved in ministry in our community and church. After four intensely rich and difficult years in Tokyo, we returned to the US – with teenagers, and that is a whole other story! I was asked to lead an ESL-friendly Bible discussion for a group of women that began in an apartment complex in our community. That grew into the beginning of our church’s international outreach.
As a side note, my sister and her family are career global workers and my husband and I have the privilege of supporting them… you know, permanent stateside address, host for connecting with friends on home assignment, storage, etc! As a result of living overseas and being a part of my sister’s journey, two of our children have been involved in support-based work internationally.
Where are you now? What are you up to?
We live in a Dallas suburb, where I lead worship weekly in various places, manage The Invitation Project, and am currently in training as a spiritual director. I enjoy leading worship for soul care retreats globally and traveling with my husband to visit our children and families. A fun side note, we maintain and enjoy a small ranch that has been in our family for five generations and is perfect for family reunions, as well as a place for solitude and star gazing. We delight in hosting people who need some space to think and pray in a pastoral setting (think Psalm 23, except with cattle!).
What is The Invitation Project? Why did you start it?
The Invitation Project is a worship ministry, inviting you into a lifestyle of worship—through lyric videos (perfect for personal or small group worship), live worship events and social media for worship insights and scripture. I started TIP as a way for small groups to have sing-able arrangements of hymns and contemporary music with which to worship, using a calm and beautiful natural background. You can sing along with the videos, instead of simply watching someone else worship. I also lead live worship events in homes and backyards.
How could someone on the field use the recordings?
Global workers, as well as my own family members working cross culturally, – were my inspiration to create a convenient way to worship on any screened device. Complete with verses and themes, the planning has been done for you to lead or sing along. The videos are on our Vimeo and Youtube channel as well as more recently, on SermonSpice.com to download. I send Instagram and FB posts to encourage the viewer in his or her worship practice.
What are you working on that we can look forward to?
We will be releasing more lyric videos this summer – always a mix of contemporary and hymns. So follow us on social media or contact me through theinvitationproject.com to be added to the newsletter. Here are all of the places: The Invitation Project, Vimeo Channel, FB, and IG.
Joy, thank you for creating The Invitation Project and providing worship videos for cross-cultural workers on the field.
You will forever be marked by this COVID-19 season. How could you not be? Yet debriefing in-person is expensive and often not available. Whether you left or stayed, you have a lot to unpack. Now you can.