Many people live and die without understanding the true meaning of their existence and they have no joy. Today, most people in the world go through life performing their daily tasks with no real comprehension of the profound purpose their lives are meant to have. They are not experiencing the true joy of life. Currently many people in various countries are losing their jobs, losing their houses and losing their loved ones through death or broken relationships. They have no joy. Without joy one can easily get depressed, sad, angry and unmotivated.
Joyful people are motivated people. They have inner confidence and peace.
Is joy the same as happiness? No, joy and happiness are not the same.
Happiness depends on things happening. Many people say, “I’ll be happy when I have a better job;” “I’ll be happy when I buy a nicer car;” “I’ll be happy when I finish school.” Perhaps for a short period of time these things may bring happiness, but it is temporary and short-lived. Joy is different because joy does not depend on what is happening around us or to us. It is not dependant on circumstances. In fact, joy is able to give strength and comfort despite the circumstances. Even if life’s ‘happenings’ are sad and difficult, joy can remain.
So what is joy? Joy cannot be found in external things because it comes from within. It is an inner state of body, soul and spirit that gives hope and peace. It can be described both as a deep sense of contentment and satisfaction, and an ecstatic, yet stable, sense of indescribable gladness and delight.
How can this wonderful thing called joy be obtained? It comes from having a close relationship with God. He is the only one who knows us and loves us unconditionally. Joy is relational and without the right relationship with God, Joy is never found.
It is well documented that gospel music, which is based on the Good News of God’s love, inspires body and soul as it brings a positive message of hope and Joy that is not usually found in other forms of music. Gospel music has been found to have therapeutic benefits for people with a wide range of physical, mental and emotional needs.
This is why JoyFest Gospel Ministries Inc. was established. This registered non-profit organization aims to provide various helpful and enjoyable community events to encourage people to find joy by learning to love and respect God and one another, thereby enhancing good citizenship, strengthening the family unit, and providing positive growth and responsible life styles. Through conducting festivals and activities featuring gospel music, dance and drama, poetry, education, and family and youth activities in the community that are based on sound principles and values, JoyFest aims to give people the opportunity to find lasting joy instead of a temporary and illusive happiness.
Given the current economic problems coupled with many social problems including drug addiction, unemployment, youth violence, etc., JoyFest Gospel Ministries plans to have its first annual St Croix Gospel Festival called “JoyFest” on the weekend of Aug. 5-7 at the Island Center. Everyone is invited to attend. The program of events is as follows:
JoyFest Event No. 1 On the JoyFest Opening Night Friday, Aug 5, we have the chart-topping, award winning, dancehall, reggae gospel artist from Jamaica Prodigal Son and Ayodele, a special guest artist from Australia. The fabulous local support artists on the opening night include Bernard Smith, Shine the Light, Spanish group "Yield," Ebenezer Methodist Steel Orchestra, Masked Soldiers 4 Christ Dancers, Victorious Believers Band and 4th Dimension Ministries from St Thomas.
Apart from the great gospel music artists that people can come and listen to, JoyFest is giving away some fantastic prizes like Play Station 3, X-Box 360, Nintendo DS, cell phones, basketballs, soccer balls, bicycles, etc., mostly at the opening night of JoyFest.
Tickets are between $10-$20. Ticket Outlets are: Footlocker, Unique Shop and Strictly the Best Men’s and Kids Wear at Sunny Isle Shopping Center, Violette Boutique in Christiansted and Gallows Bay Pastry and Cafeteria. Gates open at 6 p.m. for 7 p.m. start.
To make it easier and safer for people to participate on opening night, JoyFest is providing free taxis to the Island Center from 10 main pick-up points from east to west. Take advantage of the opportunity to save your petrol and travel safely. Participants must be at the following pick-up points at 6:15 p.m. to take the Free Taxi.
1. Christiansted Waterfront
2. Golden Rock
3. Peter’s Rest Plaza
4. Peublo Le Reine
5. Trailer Park Shanty near Complex
6. Grove (Croixville and Larine Village)
7. Sunshine Mall
9. Stop & Shop
10. UCA Frederiksted
After the concert, free taxis will operate to take concert goers back to the above listed points.
The times and pick-up points will also be stated in the St Croix Avis newspaper in the Community Calendar section and on the Joyfest Ministries Web site below.
JoyFest Event No. 2 There is also a free 4-hour Fun Day program especially for kids and teenagers from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 6, at the Sidney Lee Theater (part of Island Center area) featuring great games and prizes, bouncers (unlimited turns for $5), drama, youth band, puppet shows, food and drinks, vendor stalls, etc.
JoyFest Event No. 3 On Saturday night, Aug. 6, the Grammy Award-winning Mary Mary sisters and their Band from the U.S.A. Ayodele from Australia is also a special guest artist and local talented gospel artists include Harrella Goodwin, Sons of Justice, Bernard Smith, Unified Praise and Friends, Solemn Sounds Band and Speak the Word Ministries Team. Tickets are between $10-$40. Ticket outlets are: Urban Threadz, One Love Service Station, Armstrong Ice Cream, Seventh Day Adventist Bookstore and Speak the Word Ministries. Gates open at 6 p.m. for 7 p.m. start.
JoyFest Event No. 4 JoyFest Parade on Sunday, Aug. 7. People from all different church denominations will walk together from Cost-U-Less to the Island Center. Participants should come and park at Island Center by 3 p.m. and catch a free taxi (or church bus) to Cost-U-Less car park to assemble. The parade starts at 3:30 p.m., led by lively Dr. DJ of Gospel Productions.
JoyFest Event No. 5 Finally, the JoyFest Gospel Festival will close with a tremendous Sunday Celebration Concert after the parade, starting at 6 p.m. The closing concert will feature Ayodele from Australia and talented local gospel artists, Burning Chariots, St Peter’s Episcopal Cultural Group, Bernard Smith, Spanish Group "Yield," Radical 4 Christ Dancers, 4th Dimension Ministries from St Thomas and Papa Das from Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. Donations are welcome at this free final concert.