Sponsored Walk For The Smiles Foundation
Energetic Ballymena woman, Joye Carson recently completed a sponsored walk for The Smiles Foundation. She decided to celebrate her 60th birthday by walking 60 miles to raise founds for The Smiles Foundation Romania.
The former childminder walked all the way from Larne to Portstewart – that’s a total of 63.3 miles or 149,940 steps –
Her original target was to raise £5,000 to enable the construction of a house for a homeless family. At the time of writing she had nearly £14,000.
“People have been really amazing, generous and kind. People tell me that what we did was amazing but I say to them that we just did the walking but they supplied the money and other support – that was amazing”, smiles Joye.
“The Smiles Foundation works with people in Romania who have a very poor quality of life. In many cases they don’t have a home or if they do, it is one that we would not even put animals in.”
“The main thing that we seek to do is to bring them hope and our method of doing this is to tell them about Jesus and to explain that He is the hope for the future”, she adds.
Joye and her husband Robin have been out to Romania with ‘Smiles’ on four occasions and hope to return for a fifth time in July to be part of the team that builds a house for a family.
They will be working in a village called Rapa where ten or twelve families are living in very rough conditions and their aim is to give each one of them a home.
Right across the UK there are people like Joye who are trying to raise £5000 in their own way to build a house for a family there. The plan is to be able to house everybody in that village within a very short period of time.
£5,000 is needed to buy the raw material for each home – bringing in the construction firm to help costs another £2,000 approximately.
Joye revealed how God’s hand was upon her in a very profound way throughout the trek.
She said: “Doing the walk was much easier than I expected because I had an accident about three weeks before. I cracked my tail-bone and concussed myself after a fall and I was actually in hospital and wasn’t sure if I would ever be able to do it.”
“On the Friday night before it I was still in great pain and we were up at the Vineyard Church in Belfast where my son, Alan is the Associate Pastor for their Good Friday service.”
“Afterwards, they were offering prayer ministry. I went up and got prayed for but didn’t feel any different immediately after the girl had prayed. I got up on the Saturday morning and was still in pain. I have to say that I was a little bit disappointed at that stage. I thought: “God I am doing something for you here, could you not just heal this awful pain?” I was frustrated. However, when I got up to go to Church the following morning, which was Easter Sunday, I swung my legs out of bed! There wasn’t a pain and I haven’t felt any discomfort from my tailbone since”, added Joye.
Remarkably, Joye accomplished her mission in just five days. On Monday, she travelled from Larne to Carnlough, which was fourteen-and-a-half miles. Tuesday saw her walk from Carnlough to Cushendun.
On Wednesday she made it from Cushendun to Ballycastle. Thursday took her from Ballycastle to Bushmills and on Friday the walkers made their way from Bushmills to Morelli’s for a Hot Fudge Sunday.
Joye remarked: “People were very good and offered us hospitality right along the route. We had planned to book in for Bed and Breakfast but people provided us with free accommodation the whole way. They treated us like Lords and Ladies.”
God willing, Joye and Robin will return to Romania to help build the house their efforts paid for. They plan to travel in the company of a team from Cloughwater Presbyterian Church.
Joye Carson’s sponsored walk for The Smiles Foundation has been a fantastic success and there’s still an opportunity to donate if you wish.
Joye told The Church Page that she is ‘really happy’ to have completed the walk, adding: “I know from the start that it was a vision that God had given me. I am 60 years old in July and I am so pleased to be able to thank Him for all that He has done for me.”
She concluded by saying: “We would like to thank everyone from our Church, Ballymena and district for supporting us in any way they have.”
“The money that came in has absolutely amazed us, alongside the prayer that we had. We are so grateful to the people who supported us by carrying our belongings, offering us their cars or making a picnic during the week.”
Even if you haven’t donated to Joye’s fantastic sponsored walk for The Smiles Foundation there is still time to donate to the project if you want to by logging onto her Justgiving page here.
To find out more about The Smiles Foundation and the amazing work they do in Romania, click here to go to their website.