Why the Founder of JOY International May Go Barefoot For the Rest of His Life

When Mother Teresa invited a man dressed as a clown to her homes for children, destitute and dying in Calcutta (now Kolkata) in 1979, her intent and his was to bring the kind of joy Jesus spoke of in John 15:11 to India. Snuggles, the love clown, produced smiles and extreme joy.

But the Jewish man in clown suit, make-up and big red nose received a gift as contagious as joy: Mother Teresa’s care for the poor. “That was the first contact I had with her,” says Dr. Jeff Brodsky. “She’s been one of my heroes for many years.”

Forty years later, Brodsky is still fighting for victims of evil that neither he nor Mother Teresa could have imagined when they met in 1979.

Four years after meeting Mother Teresa, Brodsky focused like a laser on the red-letter-words of Jesus while reading his Bible: “I speak these things to you so that my joy would be in you and that your joy would be complete.” On that day, Brodsky envisioned homes for suffering children – “the least of these,” in Jesus’ words – wherever he found them. The ministry, JOY International, was born in 1981.

India, China, Russia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Mexico, Uganda, Kenya, Venezuela and Fiji are among the 70 nations where JOY worked for many years with ministries and homes providing care for abandoned and orphaned children, fulfilling its purpose and calling.

What Mother Teresa and Snuggles didn’t envision is Brodsky without his clown shoes – or for that matter any shoes – and new kinds of evil perpetrated against children.

Yet, in 2010, Brodsky put on shoes and socks for the last time after ministering with his friend, the Reverend Jim Meyers, to children living in and around a garbage dump in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. All the children were barefoot and, worse in the minds of Brodsky and Meyers, they were vulnerable to sexual predators looking to make a quick buck.

In the five years between receiving an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Promise Christian University in 2005, and his and Meyer’s 2010 ministry to Cambodian children, Brodsky took aim at abusive exploitation of children. It refocused his heart and JOY International’s original vision dating back to meeting Mother Teresa.

On July 19th of this year, Brodsky marked nine sockless and shoeless years of solidarity with poor and vulnerable children. Eight days later, on July 27th, he and other barefoot walkers trekked a mile to raise funds in the fight against sex trafficking, the 30th Barefoot Mile event in Colorado.

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SOURCE: Assist News