“I help people get over the lies they believe about themselves,” Joannie Smith-Schade says, sitting in her sunny office at Journey to Joy Ministries’ headquarters in West York. It’s a bright spring day and Smith-Schade is showing off the home that serves as a place of transformation for so many in the York area. Journey to Joy ministries exists to bring healing and wholeness to anyone wounded, abused, or struggling with life-controlling issues. Smith-Schade is a prayer minister who works with abuse victims and couples. Currently, she is working with a wide range of ages from 19-74. “I help them to understand that there really is hope,” she says.
Joannie’s own experiences of abuse have made her relatable to those she serves. “It makes me real, makes me relational, and helps people to trust me,” she says. She teaches multiple classes each week and leads one-on-one sessions with clients. Most classes are women-only, though a few classes also serve couples in need. In 2020, she had over 1,400 sessions with clients, some virtual and some in-person. Clients range from those with relationship problems to those who have been victims of human trafficking. All sessions and classes are free of cost, and Journey to Joy also provides financial assistance for those who need help affording rent, utilities, and food.
Journey to Joy purchased their local “safe house” in 2016 and have been diligently working to restore the property. They have added a handicap-accessible bathroom on the lower floor, a new kitchen, office and meeting spaces, and are currently finishing the residential floor. Outside, there is a patio space that is used for picnics and gatherings. “It’s all about community,” Smith-Schade adds.
The residential floor currently has two completed bedrooms, housing three people. When the construction is finished, they will be able to house six people and add a living room for residents. The space is bright and sunny, with large windows and signs saying “Joy” tucked into every room. Smith-Schade even pays attention to the names of the paint colors, intentionally choosing ones called “Mint to Be” and “Purple Potential,” reflecting the potential she sees in each child of God who visits Journey to Joy.
Journey to Joy Ministries received $25,000 as part of our Christmas Eve offering.