Church Missionary Society
Church Missionary Society
The Revd David Greeff | State Director, CMS Western Australia
Joan1 is well known in the Diocese of Perth, having served as a missionary for more than three decades! She has worked in seven different locations, in five different countries2, mostly as a high school teacher. A passionate educator, Joan now teaches English at a language centre in South-East Asia. This country is currently experiencing its second wave of COVID infections. Nevertheless, despite restrictions, teaching has continued over Skype when necessary.
The reason Joan serves as a CMS missionary is not simply to educate but to bring people to a saving knowledge of the One who has saved her, our Lord Jesus. This is CMS’ vision: A world that knows Jesus. CMS has been sending missionaries for more than 200 years, in obedience to Jesus’ commandment to all Christians in Matthew 28:18-20.
At her language centre, Joan and her colleagues cannot openly proselytise or proclaim the Gospel. However, most of their students and staff know that they are Christian. Their presence is a constant reminder that there is a different way of living, and that it is possible to live without fear. When questions from students arise as to the staff live differently, or why they do not fear, for example, they are able explain the reason for the hope that they have (1 Peter 3:15).
Joan says that the presence of fear is seen outside everyone’s home: offerings are constantly made tree, or in small ‘spirit houses’. The homeowners need the spirits to stay ‘sweet’: one keeps them ‘sweet’ by giving them things via the spirit houses or trees. They believe that if they don’t do this, the spirits will be unhappy, and things will end up badly for their family. However, Joan explains that when someone enters the kingdom of God, (which sadly doesn’t happen that often there), their outstanding experience is one of freedom from fear!
This is how it was for Joan’s friend, Kanoa3. Kanoa works in a restaurant, often until quite late at night. She walks home after work along the main road, and, at a certain point, there are no buildings, only dense forest – the place where the spirits live! Every time she reached the spot where the trees begin, she would message her father to come and meet her. They would then walk home together, only a little less afraid of the spirits.
However, Kanoa has recently become a Christian! She put her trust in Jesus as Lord and Saviour and has come to know God as her loving heavenly Father! Since then, she is no longer afraid! She is able to walk home alone. She understands that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus – even over the spirits she once feared.
Please continue to pray for Joan’s ministry. If you would like to receive her news and support her ministry to people like Kanoa, please contact the CMS-WA office on 08 6209 9159 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Joan is connected to churches not only in the Perth Diocese, but also in the Bunbury Diocese and the Diocese of North West Australia.
1. Even though many who read this article will know Joan’s surname, for security reasons it is not disclosed»
2. The countries Joan has worked in are also not disclosed, but they are all in the developing world»
3. Not her real name, ‘Kanoa’ means Freedom»