Norwich Christian amazed by Tanzanian mission year
In 2015 Joy McCann from New Costessey was healed after 13 years of ill health from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Since then she has spent a year working as a missionary in Tanzania and is now back in Norwich to rest and share her inspiring experiences before going back again in June, reports Jenny Seal.
Last year Joy McCann (26) from New Costessey started her adventure as a long-term missionary with the Christian organisation Tanzania Bridge of Hope.
Joy’s journey to Africa began as a girl. In 2002 she was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME and during this time she was sustained by visions from God of a place in Africa where she would go to when she was better. In 2015 after suffering with the debilitating illness for 13 years Joy was healed, through a lot of prayer at her church, Gateway Vineyard, in Norwich.
In April 2016 Joy visited Tanzania for three weeks and within a month had made the decision to go out again as a full time missionary. Joy has now completed her first year and is back for a two month break during which she is eager to share her experiences of God’s provision and faithfulness with other church fellowships.
In July 2016 Tanzania Bridge of Hope opened a Christian Day-Care centre for children aged 2-5. Joy has been integral to its development, and as well as Sunday School teaching and preaching in local churches, Joy was appointed to the role of director of the day-care.
The start-up of the day-care centre proved challenging. There is capacity for over 80 children however only around 20-23 children are currently enrolled creating a short-fall of expected resource. However in this challenge, Joy has clearly witnessed God’s provision and faithfulness.
She said: “It’s really mind-blowing all that has happened in the past year. I went over there and there wasn’t a day-care. And when we opened there were only four kids. That was very challenging on us because we were expecting more. We had to find resources that weren’t there – but God always, always provided.
“And I think that’s the thing I’ve come away realising: that even though there were times when it was very, very challenging, God has always proven faithful – always, always, always – in a way that I haven’t seen before. I was sick and I got healed and I saw that, but I’ve never seen it like this.
“The people there always have faith that God will provide because they have watched things get very hard and then God always comes through and that has been the most amazing thing – just these last minute bursts of provision. I see God very, very thick in Africa – a very rich, raw presence – He’s there in all his fullness because there is often nothing else. He’s all there is to rely on because there are no Government systems or safety nets in place.”
Joy’s prayer is that more children will enrol in the day-care. She said: “You see the kids that are there and the parents are saying that they are changing and very well behaved. It is a Christian school – over the gate it says ‘Let the children come to me for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven’. The parents say they are amazed because the children come home and are speaking English, and are praying and talking about forgiveness.”
The centre has recently come under new leadership with the appointment of a new pastor so on her return to Tanzania at the end of June, Joy is hoping to not need to focus on directing as much as becoming what they have termed a ‘Spiritual Mother’ to the children. She said: “I’ll have more time to preach, and sit with the kids and pray with them and teach them Bible stories. I’m looking forward to that”
During the last year, despite bouts of malaria, Joy’s overall health has been good. She said: “I’ve had energy. The ME has completely gone. It just is amazing. I’ve enjoyed energy and been able to do a lot. The demands over there could never have been met if I’d had the ME.”
Joy is hoping to spend her break in Norwich resting and preparing spiritually for her return. She would be delighted to visit with churches and groups around Norfolk to share with congregations about her experiences of what God is doing in Tanzania. She notes that this is purely “to share what God is doing. There will be no appeal for money. God will provide the resources”.
Please get in touch with Joy to invite her to come and share her experiences with your church group by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.