JOY International® was founded in 1981 by Jeff Brodsky. As a boy, Jeff grew up in a Jewish home in Brooklyn, New York. In his teen years he lost his brother to cancer which caused him to become so disillusioned with life that he turned to drugs and rebellion.
In 1976, through a series of miraculous circumstances, Jeff came to an understanding that Yeshua (Jesus) was the promised Messiah and that God truly loved him. Jeff accepted Yeshua into his life and became a Messianic Jew. His life changed dramatically and from that day forward he dedicated the rest of his life to serving God.
Three years later Jeff found himself traveling around the world as a good will ambassador for the disaster/relief organization, Food for the Hungry. To break language barriers Jeff would dress as his beloved character Snuggles, The Love Clown. It was during this time that he had the privilege of being invited by Mother Teresa to share his special and unique gift of JOY at The Home for Children and the Home for the Destitute and Dying in Calcutta, India. Jeff saw firsthand her care for the poor, which had a major impact on his life.
In 1981, while reading the Scriptures, (Jeff says he was “readin’ the red”) he came across the verse in John 15:11 where Jesus spoke these words: “I speak these things to you so that My JOY would be in you and that your JOY would be complete.” It was on that day that God gave him the vision for the ministry of JOY International™ with the idea of sharing the JOY of Jesus and establishing children’s homes in places around the world wherever he found suffering children. His sincere desire was to search for “the least of these.”
Jeff says he began JOY International® because he believed if we would put Jesus first, Others second and Yourself last, that was the way to experience true JOY. Jesus – Others – YOU!
During those early years, JOY International® worked with established ministries and homes for children in India, China, Russia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Mexico, Uganda, Kenya, Venezuela, and Fiji. Jeff has now spoken and traveled to nearly 70 nations!
In 2005, Jeff received an honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree from Promise Christian University in Pasadena, CA. This was earned through more than 25 years of service and humanitarian efforts around the world. Giving the Commencement address at the graduation ceremony, Jeff shared with the fellow graduates and guests that his Doctorate was a new title that was just a piece of paper that meant nothing unless the title was used as a tool for opportunities to touch the world and further the Gospel of Jesus Christ
In more recent years, Jeff’s eyes were opened to a burgeoning evil against children. An evil that is an abusive exploitation of the world’s most innocent and vulnerable children. This atrocity has radically refocused his heart and the original vision of JOY International®. It is an atrocity that has quickly become a 150 billion dollar industry according to the latest United Nations Trafficking In Persons (T.I.P Report). It is the fastest growing crime in the world today of Child Trafficking or the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC).
On July 19th, 2010, Dr. Brodsky was at a garbage dump in Phnom Penh, Cambodia with his friend Rev. Jim Meyers.
"We were feeding children who lived in and around the dump. We were also looking for children who were at high risk of being taken by predators and sold into brothels. I noticed almost all the children were barefoot. When I went back to my hotel room, as I removed my shoes and socks, I could not get the picture of those barefoot children out of my mind. I began to wonder what it would be like to live barefoot every day. After a serious conversation with God, I felt strongly impressed to go barefoot for 1 year in solidarity with these children and the many others who were trafficked or at high risk. Living at 8,990' elevation in the mountains of Colorado, I knew it would be a challenge (especially during the cold winters), but I decided I would just be extremely careful as I knew I had to do this."
"On July 19th, 2011, my year was complete and I did it. No shoes, no socks for a full year. That morning when I went to put a pair of socks on (I was really excited), I just couldn't get them past my toes. It was as if an angel was pulling them and preventing me from putting them on. I cried out to God and said, "Lord, what do You want from me, I just went barefoot for a full year!" His response to me (in a still, small voice) was this; "Keep going. Those children are still out there."
"I've been barefoot ever since. I shared with my wife, family and friends (who thought I lost my mind), that if my going barefoot will motivate just 1 person per year to action in a way that helps me rescue even 1 more child a year, I would go barefoot the rest of my life."
"I have been truly astounded as people all over the world embrace what God has called me to do and joined in solidarity to spread awareness of this evil against innocent children and to help me raise the funds necessary for rescue operations."
As Jeff says, “This is without question THE most evil, heinous crime ever perpetrated against a child since the dawn of creation.”
There are hundreds of organizations who are bringing awareness to the plight of sexually exploited children, but there are just a handful that are devoted to raising funds for the actual rescue of children out of their nightmare life.
Again, as Jeff states, “Awareness is good, but awareness without action is apathy.”
JOY International® has built key strategic relationships and works diligently to prevent the trafficking and sexual exploitation of children while helping to provide those who are rescued, a renewed hope and JOY for living through approved Safe Houses. These Safe Houses offer physical, emotional, psychological, educational, vocational and spiritual restoration. With our efforts and your support, we can help to fund approved homes specifically designed to restore the lives of rescued children.
The needs of these children are distinct and unique. Many of them have HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. Far too many are addicted to drugs; lack trust and most have severe emotional scars due to extreme abuse.
Yet, while their rehabilitation may seem overwhelming, there is hope through God with many stories of redemption. There is a wonderful opportunity for a new start with a new life.
Jeff says; “Alone we can do a little, but together, we can bring these children out of a life of hopelessness and into a life of JOY.”