a Legacy of Service

Joan van Wyk, when we hear her name many different images come to mind, most of them involving her helping or serving others in some or other way. Joan turned 90 in 2019 and her life serves as an example to anyone who aspires to live a life that matters. In summary she estimated that she has been involved in serving in the Church and community for more than 65 years!

Joan grew up in the Leydenburg area where the family lived on a farm, quite a distance out of town. At times, because of wartime, no tyres were available for cars, which meant that Joan and her sisters had to walk across a few farms, through a wooded area, to get to Church on a Sunday.

Joan’s Mom passed away when she was only six years old, she grew up with her Dad and Stepmother. At the age of 15 she left school and started nursing to help earn an income. This choice came about after a teacher once asked in what capacity does she see herself serving God when she grew up. On that day she decided that nursing would be the way in which she could serve others as a way of ultimately being of service to God. Although this was very hard work with long hours, it taught her how to give selflessly, which she always did going forward.

In the years to come the young group of friends often went dancing in Pelgrimsrus, a nearby town. At one of these occasions Joan met Justus, whom she later married. The couple moved to Pelgrimsrus and had their two children. At some stage they moved to Vaalhoek, a close by community where a Minister only visited once a month. In spite of this Joan always remained faithful in her relationship with God. A short stay of 6 months in Witbank followed and thereafter the family moved to Rustenburg in 1957.

From the beginning Joan joined a Bible study with some of the other ladies in the mining community where they lived, building good relationships and growing a lot in her faith. Soon after she was asked to help out at the Sunday school at the Methodist Church they attended. She also joined the Women’s Auxiliary and responded to an altar call at one of the meetings. On that day Joan felt as if she made her final, personal choice to be in a close relationship with Jesus. From Sunday school teacher she moved over to starting a crèche for babies at the church. She kept this amazing service up until the beginning of 2019, the year in which she turned 90! Her diligence and selfless service, every Sunday, never closing, not even during School holidays, is something that every mother who could attend a church service in peace, would forever be grateful for.

All along Joan’s giving nature continued in her service to the community as a member of the VLU (Vroue Landbou Unie) as well as of the Women’s League (Vroue Federasie) in Rustenburg. In this capacity she helped with numerous massive catering jobs for many functions, all to raise funds to help less fortunate families. Many school camps also used them to deal with all the catering needs of large groups of children. The ladies also taught domestic workers sewing and cooking classes. All funds raised were to benefit the less fortunate and struggling families in the community, no salaries were earned, and all was just to serve God while serving others.

Today, at 90, Joan considers herself blessed and privileged, mother of 2, grandmother of 6 and great grandmother of 12. She remains active in service, still baking, cooking, and involved at church, happily serving God.

All honour to God for the blessing Joan van Wyk is to all of us.

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