Joan E. Murray: Life Lessons Rooted in Faith
By Sujany Baleswaran
After losing her friend to leukaemia, at the young age of 12 years old, Joan E Murray started questioning her future and her beliefs. Dedicating her life to religion, author Joan E. Murray became the founder and CEO of Joan Murray Ministries and Seeds of Hope Worldwide Missions. She is an international Bible teacher, pastor, speaker and missionary who loves the Word of God and desires to see people experience freedom, wholeness and victory in all areas of life.
When did your journey with God begin?
When I was twelve years old, I had a friend a few months younger than me who was diagnosed with leukaemia. She was healthy and strong one day, and then sickly and weak for a long period of time. Our parents took us to church, but at eleven and twelve years of age, we were not thinking about dying, we were simply enjoying our childhood games. When the doctors gave her family no hope, from that moment on something shifted in my friend. She was determined to know more about Jesus and why He died for her. Her final request before she died was to be water baptized. Early one Sunday morning, surrounded by family and friends, she was baptized in water. She was too weak to walk into the pool by herself so she was carried in the arms of the minister as he baptized her. Later that week, she went home to be with the Lord.
As I watched her life, her determination, and her baptism, I knew that it was time for me to make a decision about my own life. I wondered where I would go if, like her, I were to die at the early age of twelve years old. I made a decision I would join her in heaven, and the following Sunday, I gave my life to Jesus Christ, and He has been changing my life ever since.
What sparked the decision to dedicate your life to religion and launch the ministry?
During various seasons of unemployment, when I stopped complaining about my difficulties with finding a job to take care of my daily needs, God began to do his work. He led me into a deeper prayer life and began to give me a deeper love for His Word, the Bible. As a result of my struggles and lack, I was given many opportunities to minister to people, especially single parents who were struggling to feed their children. I would empty my cupboards to help these families. The vision for helping the least of these in society was birth during my seasons of lack.
Can you tell me more about Joan Murray Ministries as a community?
Joan Murray Ministries is a teaching ministry designed to help you find freedom through a deeper relationship with Christ. Utilizing the power, truth, and principles of God’s Word, we minister to the spiritual, emotional, and relational needs of those desiring to discover their destinies and move into a life of fullness. Through the power and truth of God’s Word, the ministry helps bring victory from past failures and trains and develops people to live in wholeness and victory in all aspects of their lives.
The ministry is devoted to caring for the orphans, sick, homeless, and widowed, and is committed to aid the poor and assist in providing safe housing for orphans in the four corners of the world. The ministry visits remote places in the world to share the gospel message and bring encouragement, hope and salvation to those who need to know Jesus. We also feed and clothe people in some of the poorest communities in the world.
What is your mission?
Joan Murray Ministries is called to share the life-changing Word of God to the masses, to care for the sick, the widowed, the poor, and provide shelter to the orphans. To teach, train, and equip people through the Word of God by helping them achieve freedom, wholeness and victory in Christ Jesus. Our life scripture is:
Matthew 25:35-36 New International Version (NIV)
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.
You have written multiple books, on various topics, from overcoming loneliness to hope. What does your writing process look like, and can you tell us about the inspiration behind your books?
My writing process includes finding subjects that I feel will be helpful to people. Therefore, when I minister, whether, in the USA or internationally, as I pray for people, I am always listening to what people’s needs are and what they are struggling with in their lives. I also consider many of the conversations that I have had with friends and family. These inspirations prompt me to write and address people’s needs. Often a prayer or a conversation is not enough to answer people’s questions and give them solutions to their deep-seated needs. Writing these books give me an opportunity to help people in various struggles to find hope and victory. From the first book to the last, I am reminded by the Holy Spirit, that I am the note-taker and He is the Writer. I transcribe as He speaks to my heart. As a result of this, lives are changed and transformed when people read my books.
The inspirations behind my books also include personal challenges, that I have had with writing my book; such as when I wrote, Winning in the Battles of Life, which was birthed out of a season of great attacks in my mind with negative thoughts. As a result of praying and finding the solutions to my victory in the Word of God, I was able to overcome and gain control over negative thoughts and words. I wanted to give these solutions to those who were also dealing with these struggles.
My newest book, You Can Trust Him, was birth during a season of great health challenges – a frozen shoulder, shingles, and emergency surgery due to a possibility of cancer. While facing these struggles, three days before surgery, my mother died. These struggles have helped me to trust God more and to minister more effectively to people who are in painful, hard situations. Other inspirations are the stories of many people I have met around the world and their will to fight. These people refuse to give up amid severe hunger, pain and hardships. Their stories help others to know that they can be overcomers no matter what they are facing.
Finally, as I work on series of messages, I begin to realize that the subjects will benefit the listeners, which leads me into deeper studies and ultimately into writing books on the subjects.
You are committed to helping people discover their destinies, and you talk about God’s timing. What advice would you give to someone who is struggling to trust in God in these pressing times?
My advice is quite simple. God is not like man. When He tells us that we can trust Him, we TRULY can trust Him. He cannot lie, and He will not fail us. We are challenged because we may be trying to find a “how-to” for trusting God. There is no ‘how to’. It is a decision that we each make that He is trustworthy and faithful based on our experiences with Him. In one of my hard seasons, God was whispering for me to trust Him, and finally, in frustration, I said, “I don’t know how.” His response to me was, “There are no formulas for trusting, you simply make a decision based on what I have done in your life and you TRUST ME.”
In these pressing times, make a decision that God is with you and He tells us in Deuteronomy 3:16 that He will never leave us nor forsake us. He also said in Psalm 34:18 that He is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in their spirit. You Can TRUST Him.
You have created numerous missions and are a teacher, pastor, author, and not to mention your dedication to humanitarian work. Do you have any projects or passions you want to explore in the future?
We are currently pursuing the building of our offices where we can daily serve needy families providing counselling, food, clothing, personal care items, etc. Other passions are to drill wells, continue to build orphanages, churches, and schools in some poor communities in the USA and around the world. We want to support single parents with their children’s education and expand our reach to support more disadvantaged Veterans and children who require alternative care.