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Passion for the Good News: an interview with David Joannes

Missionary David Joannes speaks with Pneuma Review about his book, The Mind of a Missionary, and about sharing the story of Jesus no matter the cost. You are involved in cross-cultural missions. Please tell our readers how long you have served overseas and where.

David Joannes: I got started in missions in 1994 at the age of fifteen. I went to Russia with Teen Mania Ministries and have never been able to shake the missionary call. At age eighteen, I bought a one-way ticket to Kunming, China, and have been living overseas for the last twenty-two years. Southwest China is home to hundreds of ethnic tribes and was the perfect place to launch out into ministry among unreached people groups. After years of evangelism, discipleship, and church-planting, my wife and I founded a ministry called Within Reach Global. Working alongside the underground Church, we have seen God move in the lives of countless unreached communities. What kinds of resistance or persecution have you experienced while serving in ministry overseas?

I have never been able to shake the missionary call.—David Joannes

David Joannes: The first time I faced persecution for my faith was in 1997. I spent six months smuggling Bibles from Hong Kong to China. On one particular occasion, a police officer slapped me on the face for carrying contraband materials into the People’s Republic of China. But that was a menial punishment compared to the persecution Chinese ministers still face today. Though I have now been interrogated twenty-two times in China, my passion for the unreached only grows. Our local missionaries at Within Reach Global have faced much more severe opposition: beatings and imprisonment, harassment and cigarette butt burns on their faces. I have learned that persecution comes with the territory when trying to publicize the name of Jesus in restricted access nations.

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Category: Ministry, Winter 2019

About the Author: David Joannes is the founder and president of Within Reach Global, which serves the advance of the Gospel in some of Southeast Asia’s most difficult places. He is the author of The Space Between Memories: Recollections from a 21st Century Missionary and The Mind of a Missionary: What Global Kingdom Workers Tell Us About Thriving on Mission Today. David has a love for language, culture, and creative writing, and for the last 20 years, he has witnessed God’s Kingdom established in forgotten parts of the globe. David lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand with his wife, Lorna, and their daughter, Cara.

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