Church service missionary turns 90, cancer survivor and graduate

0

After her husband’s death, 76-year-old Joyce Forman accepted a full-time missionary call to serve in the Salt Lake City Utah Headquarters Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Days.

Her first mission call was for a year, but she enjoyed it so much that she extended it for several more years. Eventually, Forman made the transition to become a service missionary and continued to serve in the Church History Department’s Acquisition and Reception Center.

More than 13 years after her initial calling, the cheerful and friendly service missionary still wears her black badge and is doing well, despite her battles with cancer and while pursuing a college education through BYU-Pathway Worldwide.

The Church History Department hosted a 90th birthday party for this special Super Sister in mid-September, complete with two cakes, a table of delicious refreshments, and a slideshow of memorable moments.

“It was just awesome,” Forman said, beaming.

Sister Joyce Forman is a service missionary in the Acquisition and Reception Center of the Church History Department. She recently celebrated her 90th birthday and has served for over 13 years.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Kyle S. McKay, Church Historian and Recorder and General Authority Seventy, attended the birthday party and paid tribute to Sister Forman.

“Joyce Forman is a living example of moving forward steadily in Christ. His heart, his eyes, his mind are riveted on the Saviour. It is this focus that gives him the strength and desire to press forward in tireless service,” said Elder McKay. “If you come from the pioneer people of Panaca, Nevada, you know no other way but to serve with energy and unwavering faith. This is Joyce Forman.

Scott Christensen, a historian/archivist in the Church History Department who has worked with Forman over the years, said she has a knack for working with people, as well as making them feel welcome and valued. .

“She’s a person that as you get to know her, you just trust her. She’s able to build those genuine relationships that help her succeed,” Christensen said. “She doesn’t let anything get in the way of her doing her best work. She is absolutely devoted to the Lord.

Sister Joyce Forman is a service missionary for the Church History Department Acquisition and Reception Center.

Sister Joyce Forman is a service missionary for the Church History Department Acquisition and Reception Center.

‘Would you like it up there’

Born in Panaca, Nevada, in 1932, Forman never knew her mother, Dora Mathews. She died of pneumonia shortly after giving birth to Forman and her twin sister.

Her father, Earl Mathews, a World War I veteran, died when the twins were 9 years old. Their older brother also died fighting in World War II.

Years later, Joyce Matthews was taking an accounting course at BYU when she met Lyle Forman. They married in 1952 and raised a family of six children.

He died just before Christmas in 2005.

“I don’t even remember that Christmas, it was just a blur,” Joyce Forman said.

Forman’s son wanted to take her on a trip to Europe to cheer her up, but a routine medical examination revealed breast cancer. She underwent a mastectomy and received radiation therapy, then learned that the cancer was gone.

A few years later, a friend encouraged her to consider a mission to Church headquarters. “You’d like it up there,” the friend said.

Sister Joyce Forman is a service missionary in the Acquisition and Reception Center of the Church History Department.

Sister Joyce Forman, seated second from left in the front row, is a service missionary in the Acquisition and Reception Center of the Church History Department. She is pictured here with other Church History Department missionaries.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Forman received a call from the mission president inviting him to come and serve. She asked if he was concerned about a 75 year old cancer patient?

The mission president told her that the average age of missionaries then was 72, and that she would have access to “the best doctors in the world.”

She agreed and, with her family’s blessing, submitted her paperwork, beginning her missionary service in May 2009.

“From the minute I received my mission call, I knew this is what the Lord wanted me to do,” she said.

Church History Library Dedication

The beginning of Forman’s mission came when the Church dedicated the Church History Library on a rainy day in June 2009. She attended the dedication with family members and described the experience as a “thrill”.

“The dedicatory prayer offered by President (Thomas S.) Monson was beautiful, and I was so happy that part of my family could be there to enjoy this historic moment with me,” Forman said.

As they walked home, the rain stopped long enough for Forman’s granddaughter to take a photo of her outside her new missionary home.

Sister Joyce Forman is a service missionary in the Acquisition and Reception Center of the Church History Department.

Sister Joyce Forman is a service missionary in the Acquisition and Reception Center of the Church History Department.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

80th birthday surprise

In 2012, for his 80th birthday, Christensen surprised Forman with a special birthday present.

Christensen found an old minute book from his Latter-day Saint branch church in Panaca, Nevada. He turned the pages to September 18, 1932, and read an entry about his mother, Dora Mathews, who gave birth to twin girls and brought them to Sunday services to receive names and blessings. As part of his special birthday present, Forman had time to read the volume before Christensen returned it to the archives.

When Christensen reunited with Forman later, his eyes were filled with tears. She found another entry that mentioned her mother a few months before she gave birth to the twins.

Dora Mathews had gone to church on a hot July day in 1932 and testified of the power of prayer, and didn’t know how she could live without it, according to the ledger.

The old court book allowed Forman to hear his mother’s testimony for the first time.

“It was like she was talking dust to me about the importance of prayer and staying close to the Lord,” Forman said. “I could almost feel her there sharing it with me. I think I’ve had a guardian angel with me all my life.

Church History Library service missionary Sister Joyce Forman takes a photo with a Storm Trooper.

Church History Library service missionary Sister Joyce Forman takes a photo with a Storm Trooper.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

“I want to die with my boots”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Forman took a long time away from her missionary service to undergo treatment for bone cancer.

When she began to feel well again, Forman told her son that she wanted to return to her mission in Utah. He wasn’t sure that was a good idea, given his health.

“If you’re alive, why sit at home?” she says. “I want to die with my boots on.”

Forman came back and when her supervisor, Jeff Anderson, asked if her family was supportive, her son said, “She wants to do it. She should.

Back to school

Forman studied for two years at BYU in 1949-50 before getting married and putting his studies on hold.

While serving and knowing that she will soon be reunited in the afterlife with her mother, an educator, Forman felt inspired to return to school and graduate. She enrolled at BYU-Pathway Worldwide and is expected to graduate in 2023.

“I’m going into family and marriage,” the 90-year-old enthused. “I thought that was the best kind of knowledge to take with me.”

Shared life lessons

As she continues to serve and learn, Forman is also writing an autobiography titled “Warm Your Heart with the Fire of My Faith.”

She looks forward to sharing her life experiences and knowledge with her posterity of six children, 33 grandchildren, 98 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

Sister Joyce Forman is a service missionary in the Acquisition and Reception Center of the Church History Department.

Sister Joyce Forman, third from left, a service missionary at the Church History Department Acquisition and Reception Center, with family members at her 90th birthday party.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Here’s what she wants her family to know:

Always put the Lord first. “I want them to realize the importance of making covenants and how blessings flow from the locks of heaven when you follow his commandments,” Forman said.

She often quotes the words of this poem, author unknown:

Every morning when I wake up, I say, I place my hand in God’s hand today,

With faith and confidence that by my side, He will walk with me in my footsteps to guide.

He leads me with the tenderest care when the days are dark and I despair.

I don’t need to understand if I’m holding her hand tightly.

My hand in his – no safer way to walk safely through the day.

By his kindness, I am nourished, warmed by his love and comforted.

And when at night I seek my rest, and realize how blessed I am,

My thanks pour out to Him and then I place my hand back in God’s.

“I live by it,” Forman said. “I want my children to realize that there have been difficulties and hardships, but they are minor when you look at the big picture. … We just need to have a happy attitude.

Share.

About Author

Comments are closed.