Joan Catherine Hall was born in England on June 1st 1930. The eldest of three daughters, she did not enjoy good health and lost her hearing in both ears at the age of eight. Rushed to hospital by her parents, the doctors were able to restore her hearing by surgery. At the age of 13 Joan committed her life to Christ. She reads the Bible every morning and likes to start the day with a time of reflection.
At the age of 22 Joan felt herself called by God to work in Uganda: she had picked up a Ruanda Mission (Church Missionary Society) magazine and had seen a vacancy for a Primary School teacher. Whilst Joan felt that God was calling her to this position friends and family feared that her poor health might mean that she would not be accepted by the Mission, but to her delight she was accepted without a medical!!
Joan travelled to Uganda by boat as it was cheaper than flying! She began to teach at Kabale Preparatory School in South West Uganda, and four years later she became headmistress of Kabale Girls’ Primary School which was to be re-named Hornby High School.
In 1961 Joan became head of Bweranyangi Girls Primary and Junior Secondary School and in 1963 she successfully secured a World Bank loan to turn the school in to a School offering Agriculture as one of the subjects. Joan remained at the school for 11 years and is remembered as a “builder of souls and character”.
It was during the years at Kabale and Bweranyangi that Joan’s life was challenged afresh by the lively faith and love of some Christians around her. The early commitment to Christ had been real, but the need for daily coming to Christ for cleansing and renewal had been lost. So began a new desire to live and share the Christian faith.
In 1974 Joan became headmistress of Kyebambe Girls’ School in Fort Portal but after only 4 months in this school, and over 20 years living in Uganda she returned to England to care for ill family members.
Back in the UK Joan worked for what was then the Rwanda Mission (CMS) for 10 years and amongst other things Joan organised for several Ugandan Christians to come to UK to share their faith. This included a visit by Bishop Festo Kivengere, Bishop Misaeri Kauma and the Rev John Wilson entitled “From Uganda with Love”. In 1984 Joan joined the staff of Cranmer Hall, a theological college in Durham, NE England. During this time she helped to introduce Mission Studies to the curriculum and was a valued mentor to many students.
In 1995, following her retirement from her work at Durham University, Joan went back to Uganda to research on the book “Pioneers in the East African Revival”. This contained testimonies of those whom God had used at the beginning of the East African Revival.
Whilst working on this research she was asked if she would be willing to take up an appointment as Director of Rushere Community Hospital.
Rushere Community Hospital in 1998 had no water or electricity but Joan felt the appointment was right and so accepted the challenge, believing that Jesus would be the Provider! Joan spoke the local language (Runyankole/Rukiga) and had a lot of support from the people of the area as well as from other parts of the world. Joan used the same skills to run the hospital as she had as a headmistress and during the nine years of leading the hospital she saw it grow from a simple medical centre to a flourishing community hospital with dental, eye, maternity and other services. She introduced daily morning prayers into the hospital programme and this has lead to the appointment of a chaplain on to the staff. Presented with a difficult challenge Joan will place it before the Lord in prayer and the results have been amazing. Joan retired in 2007 at the age of 77. In 2008 she was honoured with the MBE in recognition of her work in the medical and educational fields in Uganda.
Joan now is based in Kampala, Uganda and Bristol UK.