After 40 years of ministry in France with World Venture, Joyce and David Dixon retired “officially” in February 2003. But it was not to be full retirement!
David and Joyce had become dual nationals and felt that the Lord was leading them to continue ministry in France and to make France their home for the rest of their lives. In recent years, all the Mission-related churches had become members of the “Evangelical Association of French-speaking Baptist Churches”. As a result, the Mission churches had thus become fully “nationalized”, with the Mission churches making a big contribution toward church planting and foreign mission outreach in the Association.
The “Association” asked David and Joyce to be “visitors to the churches”, so their future ministry was laid out for several years to come. They were now associate members of WorldVenture as “IRS” (“International Resource Specialists”). They joined the developing church plant in Esbly and had an active ministry there as often as their travels permitted.
For the next 15 years, David and Joyce made numerous trips to Association churches throughout France, as well as Belgium and Switzerland. The primary goal set by the Association was to be an encouragement to churches without a pastor as well as to pastoral couples and church councils. Their ministry also involved preaching and teaching, working with interns, and in one case doing a complete study, or “audit”, of a church and its needs. The Association also wanted their visits to be a link with and show the concern of the Association board, of which David was an invited member. David and Joyce worked as a team and their combined contribution was sincerely appreciated. They visited a number of churches many times and established close relationships. They were an encouragement and an example to other pastoral couples.
David and Joyce’s ministry took them to other countries for WorldVenture, notably to Poland and Ireland on several occasions. A French-Swiss Evangelical NGO asked them to minister to their personnel in Laos on two occasions. David brought the messages to the week-long annual retreat, and on both trips, over 5-6 weeks, they visited the ministries of the workers literally from north to south of this beautiful country, meeting many of the lovely Laotians in their homes and huts. It was an incredible eye-opener to the deep needs of people in a developing country.
In June 2019, God called Joyce home with Him. David was absolutely convinced that the Lord’s timing was perfect. But, it was not easy to separate from his devoted wife and partner of 55 years, who had been a mainstay in their ministry. God has provided tremendous support, and David has continued the ministry he and Joyce had carried on for so many years. Unfortunately, Covid 19 has stopped visitations to churches for well over a year, but David would like to continue as soon as churches open again. He has continued assisting the Esbly church, mostly by monthly preaching and leading the Bible study.
David wants to be available to the Lord, as He sees fit, for as long as health and vitality permit. The Association has encouraged him to continue. Future ministry is in the Lord’s hands! May He be glorified as He gives direction and strength.