Joyce Rizer moved to Tennessee in the mid-1990s with the dream of working in the entertainment industry. In 2001, she was hired by XM Satellite Radio when they launched the first national satellite radio network.
Now Executive Producer for Sirius XM Radio, Joyce works with country music artists by day. But just as radio has fulfilled her dream, working with Heart of Worship Ministries has captured her heart. She recently joined the board of directors of the volunteer organization, which serves the Heart of Worship School in Viard, Haiti.
Joyce and her family reside in the Nashville area.
How did you become involved with Heart of Worship Ministries?
Blame Facebook! I had connected with the organization’s Executive Director via Facebook and kept seeing those sweet faces pop up in my news feed. It started as answering small needs, when they were looking for donated items. Then I found myself wanting to go to Haiti and see it for myself. But it soon became apparent that there was an opportunity to do more. I have a lot of fundraising experience, and they invited me to serve on the board as Director of Development. I’ll travel to Haiti for the first time in February.
Please tell us about the organization.
Heart of Worship Ministries, Inc. serves the Heart of Worship school in Viard, Haiti. It is a Christian school in the mountains that currently has 185 students enrolled. The core focus of our ministry is funding the lunch program there, but we do so many other things as needs arise, including uniforms, school supply drives, and mission trips.
Since the school started offering lunch the enrollment has more than tripled. For many children this is the best meal they get each day. For some, it’s the only one.
The predominant religion of Haiti is voodoo. But there are churches and Christians too. Children are being led to Jesus through the things they are learning at Heart of Worship.
I understand you are collecting musical instruments. How will they be used and how can others help with this?
For the children at Heart of Worship School, music is integrated whenever possible. Students will pick up various instruments laying around during their free time and experiment. Sporadic songs are heard daily, with most being praises to God.
Because much joy is derived from music—as well as for the intellectual and emotional benefits—the vision at Heart of Worship is to have various instruments available for students with the possibility down the road of a music class.
We are looking for all kinds of instruments in good playing condition, including banjos, fiddles, tambourines and shakers. We’re based in Music City! Let’s share the gift of music!
Let’s talk about your career in the Nashville music industry. How/when did you become involved in radio?
Radio found me. I was a Mass Communications major at Illinois State in the early 90’s. We would throw parties when Garth Brooks had a TV special on. I wanted to come to Nashville and do programming like THAT. I moved here in 1996 with the intention of doing music videos or working for one of the country music television networks. I’ve done neither.
My first radio job was producing a midday show for a local country station. I was hired by what was then XM Satellite Radio in May of 2001. And I’ve never left! Country music is all I’ve ever wanted to do and I’m blessed to be living the dream.
What’s the most interesting part of your job as a producer? What’s the most difficult?
The amazing thing about satellite radio is that the doors are wide open. I work with brand new artists and superstars and no two days are the same. The challenge in that is that sometimes it’s hard to keep any sort of structure and routine. But I’m sure not ever complaining!
Has God ever provided an unexpected “detour” in your life that turned out to be positive?
I think I’m smack in the middle of one right now. My work with Heart of Worship is very new, and I think it’s going to open the doors to all kinds of possibilities. I can see the day when I look back at this time and know “that’s when this journey started.” I can’t wait to see where God leads me. I think it’s important that we’re all open to the detours. And I believe that what we might see as a detour might have been His plan all along.
A few fun questions…
After a hard day in the studio or on location, what is your favorite comfort food and why?
Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup. There’s something so simple and warm about it. I’m not one for fancy dinners, and I hate spending a ton of money on a meal. When I think about it, that’s something that has drawn me into Heart of Worship. $5 feeds a student every school day for a month!
You’ve worked with and around entertainers for years. Do you also have musical talent?
Sadly, despite years of piano lessons as a child, I have no musical talent whatsoever. Unless listening to the radio loudly counts as a talent?
In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?
My friends call me Wonder Woman. But I always say it’s not that I do more than anyone else, it’s just that the communicator in me always shares what I’m doing (Matthew 5:16). I like to involve my friends in my projects whenever I can, because I think people are hungry for places to serve. Social media has been such an important asset to charity work.
I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets (or your favorite pet as a child).
I have a cat named Kitty Wells. He came to us a couple days after Ms. Kitty passed away. Yes, I said “he.” We didn’t come to realize that little detail until several days later.
Thank you, Joyce! It’s great to have you as a guest at DivineDetour. May God bless your work on behalf of the children of Haiti.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity! If it’s ok, I’d like to close by sharing my favorite scripture passage. I’ve always loved Isaiah 6:8, and am looking forward to living it out this February when I travel to the mountains of Haiti.
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
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For more information about Heart of Worship Ministries and/or to find out how you can help, visit their website.