Leadership transition can be tricky, but it should prove as seamless as possible as Joyce Butron takes over as Foursquare Missions International’s (FMI) area missionary to Southeast Asia from her husband, George, whom she has supported in his role for the past 10 years.
From their home in Singapore, Joyce will take on the oversight of Foursquare missions efforts in 7 countries and 1 territory, while George will focus on pastoral ministry at Community of Praise Baptist Church, where he has also served as senior pastor for the past four years. A growing, Spirit-filled and missions-minded church, Community of Praise is involved in a wide range of outreach ministries both domestically and in other countries in the region.
Acknowledging the “increasing responsibilities” at the growing church as he announced the move, FMI Director Jim Scott said that George had “led with vision” for FMI. Partnering with national leaders, he had “served with distinction,” Jim added.
Having served with her husband as a missionary for many years, Joyce has a wide array of experience, and having been a “fully engaged partner” in George’s area missionary work, she is “aware of and had experience serving the many opportunities and challenges in the Southeast Asia region,” noted Jim in his announcement.
Joyce says that though the new role is “a step of faith” for her, she is looking forward to working more closely with leaders and churches in the region “and assisting in any way I can.”
Having personally benefited from the ministry of long-term Foursquare missionaries in the region, Joyce affirms: “I would like to invest more deliberately and strategically in the lives of others so that the kingdom of God can advance in this region through healthy, reproducing families and churches. I am honored and a little bit nervous about this appointment. My prayer is that I will be sensitive to God and to those He has called me to serve in this season of my life.”
Now married for more than 30 years, with four sons, the Butrons met while students at Oral Roberts University. Sent out as missionaries in 1988, the couple has served in Malaysia and Papua New Guinea, as well as Singapore.
In addition to supporting George in his role as area missionary and helping lead Community of Praise, Joyce, since 2004, has worked at Singapore’s International Community School, the only international Christian school in the country. During her time at the school, Joyce was head of the English department and a history teacher; was involved in sports and drama programs; and led student teams on ministry trips to Cambodia and Thailand.
“I have enjoyed my ministry at the school, though it does require a lot of time,” Joyce says. “Though I know that God placed me there for a specific season, I am looking forward to being able to spend more time with my friends and colleagues in Southeast Asia.”
As area missionary, Joyce inherits responsibility for Foursquare’s work in a region where the movement currently has around 14,078 churches and meeting places. In 2012, Foursquare recorded 247,671 decisions for Christ, 57,065 water baptisms and 59,335 Holy Spirit baptisms.
The region comprises Cambodia. Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and the U.S. territory of Guam.