Tribute to Joan Millson

Image of Joan Millson

Just a week after beginning my role at Interserve, the UK was forced into its first lockdown. We decided to telephone some of our supporters to see how they were, and one of the first people I spoke to was Joan.

She set the bar high! I was moved by how passionately she spoke about her town and opportunities to share the gospel in such a multi-cultural place. She had a big heart for the ladies she would get alongside, caring for their physical, emotional and spiritual well-being; this really stuck with me. As I looked back over the notes I made during this call, I saw that I made this call days before our first ever online Connect and Pray event, having originally planned to hold it in person, in the Midlands. At that point, Joan said that she hadn’t quite mastered Zoom so would probably not make it online, and that she had actually planned to make the trip by car. It did not take her long to get to grips with the video conferencing app that would go on to change our ways of living and working; by the end of the year, she began to join our meetings and was a regular attendee during 2021.

The last time I spoke to Joan was in late August just before her re-location, a difficult decision for Joan to make given how much she loved where she was, and all the time and energy she had invested into relationships there. In the final few weeks before the move, she had attempted to send us some stamps by courier service. Quite frankly, they made a mess of the job. Joan was not phased; together we persevered to get to the bottom of what had happened to these stamps. Joan’s tenacity mentioned in her thanksgiving service by her sisters shone through, and Interserve gratefully got those stamps just as Joan intended (no thanks to that courier)!

As I learned more and reflected about Joan’s life, this verse came to mind:

“So we do not give up. Our physical body is becoming older and weaker, but our spirit inside us is made new every day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16

Joan had officially retired in 2003, but as is so often the case, this simply marked a change of season in ministry as opposed to any intentional slowing down! And it was in the twilight of this season that I had the privilege of these brief but impactful exchanges with Joan. As mentioned, her energy and compassion for those with whom she shared life and faith was inspirational and worthy of imitation.

Joan, you will be greatly missed, but the light and life of Christ continue to shine through your service to Him. I can’t imagine you resting much in Paradise! But now you can bask in the constant renewal of our Father’s presence, the sustainer of all things and to whom I and so many others say a big thank you for your life and example.

Laura Kyte, Supporter Relations Co-ordinator