In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Joyce Magyar, 1937-2024

Portrait of Joyce Magyar. IMB Photo

Joyce Magyar, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel in Colombia, died Feb. 15, 2024. She was 87.

Joyce was born Feb. 14, 1937, in St. Louis, Missouri, to the late Paul Wilson Rauls and Mae Alene Pope. She graduated from Cleveland High School in St. Louis, Missouri, and studied at St. Louis Baptist College, the University of Missouri-Columbia in Columbia, Missouri, and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

Joyce married John G. Magyar on Dec. 22, 1956. Her journey to the mission field was an emotional one. She recounted, while seeking appointment with the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board): “On May 24, 1961, John attended Foreign Missions Night at the Southern Baptist Convention. I did not go because we were expecting our fourth child. When John came home, he told me he felt God was calling him into full-time Christian service. I felt left out of his life completely. John’s life really changed, and the hard part was that I could see the change, yet I was not a part of it. He had a new goal.”

She continued, “We attended Foreign Missions Week at Ridgecrest in June. It rained all week, and I was miserable. On Sunday, June 18, John made his public commitment to Christ for full-time service. I felt sick, lonely, and dejected. During the next few months my life was pretty miserable. John had a new objective, and I was not included in the experience. Kimberly Ann, our fourth child, was born August 14, 1961.”

Still, she went on to explain: “In March 1962, almost one year from John’s call to Christian service, the Hill family (missionaries from Nigeria) came to Bayless for a Missions Day. After hearing Mrs. Hill talk about her work as a missionary homemaker, I felt that, even though I did not have any special talents, God wanted me with my husband. That evening in the worship service, I gave my life to Christ and dedicated myself to his will for my life. I did not know that many in the church had been praying for me. I felt that a burden had been lifted from my shoulders; a burden I had carried for almost a year.”

The International Mission Board appointed Joyce and John missionaries to Colombia. They served there for 35 years.

She is survived by her husband, John. The couple was blessed with six children; Debbie (Ed), John Jr. (Melinda), Paul (Mary), Kimberly (Brian), Sharon (Terry) and Susan (Waylon); 16 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren.

A funeral service was held Feb. 18, at Antioch Baptist Church in Conway, Arkansas, with burial at Crestlawn Memorial Park in Conway, Arkansas.

Read an obituary here.