Missionary to America, Joanne Adebisi, Nigeria
Joann Adebisi was born into a Muslim family in Nigeria. Her father had six wives and Joann had a difficult time because of the jealousy of her father’s other wives, especially when she did something well and the other wives came down hard on her. But her father showed special attention to the bright, energetic daughter who often sacrificed for him, to show how much she loved him. He was especially proud of the way the girl grew in her commitment to Islam, getting to the mosque early in the morning, the only child among the adults. But, as an adult, she had a change of heart.
Converting to Christianity
Struggling with a serious illness, unable to find peace in the faith into which she was born, Joann looked to Jesus. She saw a contentment in her Christian co-workers she wanted for herself. Breaking with her family, she found the consolation she needed in the Christian God. The power she received in worship propelled her to tell people where she worked, Lufthansa Airlines, about her newfound joy, worshipping a God she knew loved her. She did not always receive a positive response.
Joann’s husband was the mayor of their town in Nigeria. The political situation in Nigeria deteriorated; political attacks forced him to send Joann and their children away to find safety in the United States.
Back at her former job with Lufthansa, but now in America, Joann made friends with an older co-worker, a Muslim man from Pakistan. They became good friends, until she revealed she had been a Muslim but had converted to Christianity. Joann says the Pakistani man was stunned into silence. When he did find his words, he glared at her through threatening eyes and said, “You know, I am supposed to kill you.”
There were more positive responses, too. Joann takes her message to the marketplace, to her business, and to immigrant children in her neighborhood. The young ones are often confused while trying to find their place in a new culture. They get into trouble at home and in school. She has a way with “troubled” children, having been one herself. Her neighbors, Christian and Muslim, see this and love her for it.
Bringing Christ Into Everyday Life
It is interesting and important to note that Jesus spent much of his ministry in the marketplace, with business people. Jesus Himself was taught a trade and was known not only as “the carpenter’s son” but also as “the Carpenter.” We see Him only a few times teaching in a synagogue or the Temple. That is true as well for the earliest Christian missionaries. They brought Christ into the everyday lives of people. In my opinion, many Christians in America have lost this kind of focus at their places of business. “Do not talk about politics or religion.”
Luke shows us that Paul’s co-workers, Priscilla and Aquila, were tentmakers, as was Paul (Acts 18:3). This put them in contact with people who would never have come into a synagogue or entered the Temple. It seems they did most of their mission work outside the formal religious areas. Priscilla and Aquila took their tent making business with Paul to Ephesus, and then to Rome, scattering the love of Jesus wherever they went.
The business of mission is to make disciples, more and more mature disciples of Jesus. Mission is done best when individual Christians are taking their witness to their places of business, to their neighborhoods, to their families. More will be won for Christ in that way than from all the sermons preached in all the churches.
Hear about Joanne's conversion from Islam to Christian
Listen to Joanne's complete testimony here