I was shocked when I heard the news that Joseph Chean, a friend of World Revival Prayer Fellowship, went home to glory, in a car accident while heading towards Istanbul international Airport. He had just stepped down from his position as National Director of YWAM Singapore to carry the torch and lead Antioch 21, the global missions arm of Love Singapore. Many had high hopes that with the re-launch, there would be a major forward movement for the long-held calling that the Singapore church would be the Antioch of Asia. But in one cruel stroke these hopes seem to have been dashed to pieces.
While many grieve his loss as a passionate missions advocate, a champion of harnessing of youth for missions, and mentor to many young leaders, pastors and missionaries, we know that those that will feel the deepest pain would be his wife and two daughters he left behind. We will do well to uplift this family in prayer, and in the coming months give them space to grieve, as well as support.
Joseph Chean preached in our church services a few times. He gave us advice on community outreach around Geylang. He gave his time and advice to us. The advice we value the most was his urging for us to add a mission component to our church retreats. Following his advice, we held a few church retreats in Bangkok, and partnered with YWAM’s Ruth Center to bless the elderly living in the slums. Even this past week a mission team from our church had gone to help build an assisted living facility in a farm area many hours from Bangkok, a facility that the elderly poor can find care and community in a self-sustaining farm environment. We owe this ministry involvement to Joesph’s good advice. He is a man of great faith and vision for missions but it was not that way when he first came to Christ. To read Joseph Chean’s faith story go HERE. To hear his heartbeat for missions, watch this video HERE.
A former missionary mentioned an insight that Antioch 21 was once led by Rev Rick Seaward, whom I consider a modern-day apostle, and he too died in a road accident in Brazil, South America. You can read about Rick Seaward HERE. Now leading a re-launch of Antioch 21 is Joseph Chean, only 57 years old, and he is struck down by another road accident. How do we make sense of these two tragic accidents? Spiritual warfare? Yes certainly. This shows the strategic importance of Antioch 21. Sovereignty of God? Yes certainly. We cannot fully understand this mystery. We can only grieve, pray, and say, “Lord, we do not understand but we trust you! You are loving and will not do evil; You are all powerful and have control of all things. You are wise and do not make mistakes. We cannot see the end from the beginning, so we will trust you completely and absolutely. May these good seeds planted, die in the ground, and regenerate new life, multiply and bring forth much fruit to your greater glory.”
I am reminded of Stephen, the first recorded martyr of the church (Acts 7). The early church must have felt this man of faith and vision was taken home too young, too early. But a few years afterwards, Saul became Paul, the apostle and history maker who turned the world right side up.
Rev Gabriel Han, Apostolic Elder, MFI (Singapore) and former senior pastor of Victory Family Church wrote this succinct but powerful challenge: “Every generation has been blessed with enough men and women called by God to spread the gospel to all the nations. It is not a lack of divine calling, but rather a lack of human response that hinders this mission. Only by surrendering our will to God’s can we truly obey the command to preach to all and go everywhere. Brother Joseph Chean was among those who lived an obedient, prayerful, generous, and surrendered life for God. May his death usher both a new generation of fervent evangelists and missionaries from our city that Asia so desperately needs”.
This Instagram reel I recently made expresses my sentiment about how the harvest is best gathered in.
If you wish to leave some words to testify to the contribution of Joseph Chean to missions or to your personal journey, please feel free to express it in the comment box above for all to be inspired.