26 years of midwifery and ministry in Morocco

‘The Lord taught me that he is always faithful to his promises – faithful in his constant love, in his grace and mercy, in his continual presence, in being patient with me when I failed, in forgiving me my sins, in listening to my prayers, in providing for all my needs, in giving joy in serving.’

Joyce became a BCMS Crosslinks mission partner when she was just 25 years old. She would remain one for the next 26 years.

Joyce’s work with BCMS started with a year of French studies in Paris and a year of Arabic studies and medical training in Tangier. After completing her training, Joyce was placed in Demnate, Morocco in 1967. A trained nurse and midwife, she shared the gospel wherever she went and soon caught the attention of the local authorities.

Just a year into her placement, she received an official notice to cease proselytising. As the Moroccan government attempted to expel foreigners and prohibit their activities, Joyce’s request to transfer her midwifery license to another area was denied.

Although at a loss of what to do next, Joyce trusted the Lord. She moved north to Rabat, believing that another door of opportunity would open – and for the next 22 years, it did. Alongside her dear friend and fellow BCMS mission partner Ann Fleming, Joyce worked as a midwife and church planter in both the expatriate and Moroccan communities in Rabat.

Ann and Joyce with their friends' newborn baby

One particular encouragement came from two little American girls whom Ann and Joyce taught in the Sunday school: ‘They were so keen to learn about the Lord, they frequently had to wake up and plead with their parents to drive them ... To be there on time often meant leaving without breakfast.’ 30 years later, Ann and Joyce had the joy of seeing them again, grown up and still loving and serving the Lord.

Joyce’s time in Morocco was not without suffering and heartbreak. In 1969, at just 27 years old, Joyce received word from the UK that her mother had died. There was also considerable opposition to the gospel. One Moroccan friend endured two years of interrogation and harassment for admitting her faith. Despite this − and following three weeks’ imprisonment − Joyce’s friend declared, ‘You can force me to say what you want me to say, but you cannot change what I believe in my heart.’

International church in Rabat

Joyce’s time in Morocco came to an end in 1991. Leaving her beloved Rabat, she returned to the UK to care for her elderly father in Norfolk and take part in the ministry at her home church.

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Polly Standring

As the communications content developer at Crosslinks, Polly helps mission partners connect with both Crosslinks and their supporters back home. As well as ensuring Crosslinks' internal communications run smoothly, she also oversees the writing of our external communications, including the Crosslinks blog.