Meet Joyce Fleck, a missionary appointee preparing to head to Thailand with Converge. Joyce currently lives in Massachusetts and attends Converge Northeast church, First Baptist Church of Medfield. While Joyce loves spending time with her family and friends, she is about to undergo a major shift in her life and move to Thailand. A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Joyce in person and learning more about her passion for God and the Thai people. I pray that this Q&A with Joyce displays her love for ministry encourages you today!
When did you know you were called to the mission field?
There was no one specific moment when I knew God was calling me to the mission field; it was more a gradual process of discovery and following God’s leading, seeing in time how he had been putting together pieces to prepare me for what he had planned (see Eph. 2:10). One thing I can point to, though, is a conversation from a few years ago, when I was living in a university town and reaching out to internationals. Sharing the gospel brought a kind of joy that shone through my depression and inadequacies, and someone asked me to consider if this might be God’s way of calling me into ministry.
Why did you choose Thailand?
It often seems more like God’s leading than my choosing, for my plans for a career and then for ministry got pushed aside, and opportunities I had never envisioned came my way. Yet I still had to decide to walk in this path. The short story is that one day when working in the church office, an email came from Converge’s Thailand Initiative, asking for volunteers to teach English in Thailand for a month or two. It seemed to fit perfectly with my hopes for ministry in eastern Asia, so I went. I participated in ministry there, built relationships, and saw the need for more Christian laborers. The ministry opportunities fit my skills and interests, and these things along with prayer and counsel made it feel like God was confirming this direction for me.
Can you break down what makes Thailand a least reached nation?
Thailand is considered least reached and even unreached because less than 2% of the population is Christian. According to the Joshua Project, of Thailand’s 70 million people, 1.3% call themselves Christians, 0.7% are evangelical Christians, and among the ethnic Thai majority, only 0.3% are evangelical Christians. Thais view Buddhism as part of their identity – not a religion one chooses, but one that a person is born into, in community, and there is great resistance to the gospel on this account.
What will your ministry in Thailand look like?
The central part of my ministry will be outreach through teaching English – building relationships with the students, exposing them to the gospel, inviting them to dig deeper, and sharing my life with them. Each English center operates in partnership with a church plant so that students and other members can learn, grow and fellowship together. I hope also to be involved in hosting interns and short-termers and in finding ways to enhance communication and strengthen partnerships among Christian workers in Thailand and with churches and supporters in the US.
How can we be praying for you?
Thanks for asking! I would appreciate prayers for God’s direction and provision as I seek to connect with churches and individuals interested in partnering with me to bring the good news of Christ to more Thais. I also ask you to pray for my emotional and spiritual health in these preparation stages. There have been a number of delays and setbacks so far, and I want to focus on God and trust him and his timing, not get caught up in my tasks and ideas of how things should go. And pray for more gospel movements among the Thai people!
If people want to follow along with your journey and support you, how can they do that?
Jenna is a Connecticut native on Converge Northeast staff as the Administrative/Communications Coordinator. She recently graduated from Sacred Heart University with her BA in Communication Studies and Theatre Arts.