To God Be The Glory


November, 2017


Anyone who has met Joy Poteet, Chaplain at the West Central Florida YMCA, realizes something almost immediately … this woman is passionate about serving God through her YMCA.

Recently, Lakeland, like so many other cities in the Southeast, had to brace for the experience of Hurricane Irma. Shortly after the hurricane passed, Joy wrote the following email to the members and staff of her Y. You’ll notice her incredibly upbeat spirit that makes Joy such a blessing to all.

I teach an adult Sunday school class at my church. As many other churches were, we were closed last Sunday. Therefore, this was the first Sunday we assembled since the storm. I asked each individual to give their “to God be the glory” story. It was exciting to hear how God had made provisions of food, fans, finances, furnishings and fellowship.

“The morning after the storm, I ventured out to drive to Fontaine Gills Family YMCA, where I encountered large trees, branches and all kinds of debris on the road. All the traffic lights were out. There were many gawkers turning their heads while driving forward to survey roadside damage.

“When I arrived at the Y, I was shocked to see such devastation. The parking lot and surrounding area looked like a war zone. Inside, we had large puddles of water in classrooms and on the gym floor. There was no power. Huge trees and large branches were everywhere. If not for God, there would have been no way we could have opened in three days.

“So here is my “to God be the Glory” story. Jenny came later on the same day to survey the damage. After her initial shock, she went right to work calling staff and others. Many answered the call, even though they themselves had massive cleanup jobs at their homes. Staff and volunteers alike stepped up to the plate and worked, and worked, and worked some more. Of course, Jenny never sits in her office being the boss. She is always setting an example with her hands-on approach, working harder than any other person. To God be the glory!

“The next “to God be the Glory” story is about Springer-Peterson roofing company. They made us a priority and started repairs on the YMCA roof almost immediately. This is a miracle since roofers were and still are in extremely high demand. To God be the Glory!

“Another miracle; one of our members observed Jenny, her staff and volunteers working like Trojan horses. She called a friend out who owns a tree service, Shane’s Tractor and Tree Service. He came out immediately, surveyed our devastation, and said, for Lynn (the Y member) he would stop what he was doing and put us first. To God be the Glory!

“The next day he came out with his crew, lots of heavy duty equipment and began working; removing huge branches and large oak trees which had fallen across the property. Surprisingly, not one tree fell on our building or Y buses which were parked near a large tree which fell. To God be the glory!

“After two days of work by staff, volunteers and Discovery Family Church, Fontaine Gills Family YMCA was able to open its doors. With Shane’s tree service working diligently all weekend, we were able to open the walking trail (only one week after Irma). To God be the glory!

“At the Fontaine Gills Family YMCA we pray every Thursday at 11:45 AM and every Monday (by conference call) from Noon–12:30 PM. You are welcome to join us.” 

What an encourager! Joy continues to be the hand and feet of Christ in her local YMCA, helping members and staff see God’s hand in the midst of the storms of life. It doesn’t take a hurricane for her to see where God is moving in their midst … but in such times she’s one of the first to spot His hand at work. Thanks Joy! God bless you and the entire team at the West Central Florida YMCA.