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Called to serve

Posted on 31 October 2012 by admin

Risking her life more than once, Joyce Beck was called to teach people about God in Ghana

By Gini Bramlett
For the Tribune

JUNCTION CITY – Everyone has a story. Any journalist will tell you that. You just have to ask the right questions and most people will tell you things that might surprise you. And, Joyce Beck, a volunteer at Viking Sal Senior Center in Junction City who will be 80 is March, has one that might astound.
Joyce spent several years in Ghana, Africa as a missionary. That in itself isn’t so amazing, since most of us know dedicated people who have spent years as missionaries around the world with various organizations and churches. Joyce’s story is a little different.
She was called by the voice of God, but she refused to listen.
Joyce says she hesitates to tell people this since she thinks people will believe she is crazy, but Joyce says she did hear His voice back in the early 80s telling her to go to Africa. And, she argued with Him for a long time.
“I had reservations,” she said. She had just completed Bible School. It took her a year to decide.
Shortly after arriving in Africa, she was robbed. She was left with $60.
“I stayed two years and never had need of anything,” said Joyce. “God supplied everything.” She had just one dime left to call her daughter to pick her up at the airport when she got home.
She also had everything she when she got home.
She also had everything she owned stolen at one point, so she wore native garments during her stay. When she returned home, she went to schools displaying some of the clothing and gifts she’d received.
While in Ghana, she went from village to village teaching people about the Lord, staying in homes of the people and ultimately immersing herself in their culture and learning their languages. She also taught young children in nursery schools. At the church, she answered letters for people and prayed for them.
“I learned the languages by singing their songs. I’d win them over and they’d really listen to me.”
“They’d bring me big plates of food,” Joyce said. “They’d bring sick babies and I’d pray over them and they’d get well. The people there practiced voodoo and were used to giving something in return, so she’d ask for a glass of water.
“I’d stick my finger in it and touch their babies. I was really praying, but they were used to voodoo doctors who would ask them for something.”
While being there was an amazing experience for her, there were times when her very life was at stake. At one point she contracted cholera and was deathly ill. Another time gangs had a turf war where she rented a house from the church.
“Unfortunately, I wasn’t home or they would have killed me,” said Joyce. “I could have been killed I don’t know how many times. I’ve lost count, but my heavenly Father took care of me.”
She said that in spite of having no experience preaching in front of people, she was put in the position to do just that often.
“I wouldn’t know what to say,” said Joyce. “But the Lord would tell me what to say.” She was asked to preach to a group at a gathering of churches at a beach where more than 10,000 people were baptized.
In all, Joyce had two trips to Africa staying a total of about three years. She still has African friends who contact her. Some have even come to visit her.
Joyce will be 80 years old in March. She can no longer help in kitchen at Viking Sal preparing lunches like she used to. She’s served on the Viking Sal Advisory Board and has served as a senior companion in Eugene.
Now, she thinks it may be about time to leave Junction City and live near her youngest son in Idaho. But for now, three times a week Joyce still has lunch at Viking Sal with friends.
She says she doesn’t regret a minute of her experiences in Africa telling people about the Lord, even though at times, she’d risked her life.
“I wouldn’t trade that now for anything.”

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