The following tribute by CRC International Missions Director, Pr Barry Silverback, was shared at Jean’s recent funeral in New Zealand.
To the Roke family, Pastors, Fellow workers of Jean, and all her friends.
Dear all, it is a mixed emotions of sadness and celebration that I write this tribute to Sister Jean Roke,
an amazing lady and a wonderful role model for missionaries. I write both as the founder director of CRC PNG and as a friend of my wife Rosalie and I.
I first met sister Jean in a ministry visit to the CRC New Zealand conference in Rotorua sometime after she returned from her missionary service in New Hope Children’s Home in Soul South Korea. It was during that meeting that I approached Jean and her Pastor if she would like to continue her missionary call in PNG with us at Bethel Christian Centre Port Moresby. Some time after that Jean arrived and took up her passion which was children and youth.
Jeans one passion was children and her influence in children’s development was so vast it is difficult to describe, because it was not only what we can physically could see but every private moment somewhere either in her home or in the print shop there were children who were learning some creative craft or from the word of God.
Jean’s involvement with children is so vast and influential you could not but admire her devotion and commitment to make every child know Jesus and to lay foundations in them that would make them good citizens for the future.
Jean was the Superintendent of Bethel Sunday School for many years training and imparting her passion for children to others who became teachers and then took up that baton. Jean was actively involved with other national young PNG girls and boys in Bethel ’ Children’s Program in the Government schools of which we would consistently minister in excess of 1500 children per week
Jean was the founder of many different Children ministry expressions for Bethel, the Girls and Boys Brigade, the “ Ark Ministry” a ministry and feeding program to underprivileged children of the city, Children’s camps (only for children -preaching praying etc, amongst camps
Jean took up the printing ministry of Bethel as it produced teaching materials for all the many training schools in PNG, Solomons, Vanuatu, Fiji, Indonesia, Philippines, India, to which this ministry continues today. One of her young men that she trained in printing became a missionary to the Philippines and is now married to a lovely Filipino wife, pastors’ a church in the Philippines.
Jeans influence and love for people has touched the thousands of people in PNG and in many nations and only in heaven will it be know how vast that influence has been. She will be missed but we know that she is with her Saviour whom she loved so dearly.
We give thanks to God for Jean and she was truly one of the handmaidens of the Lord that the prophet Joel prophesied about and confirmed by the apostle Peter spoke of in Acts 2.
As a personal friend to my wife Rosalie and myself we will miss her but we will remember her for the remainder of our lives. We give thanks that we have so many wonderful personal and private moments with Jean and more so with Rosalie. These we still have for many years tome.
Rosalie and I say good by Jean until we meet again and we celebrate your life with thanks to out Lord Jesus
Finally, thank you to her family, to her church, its pastors and to all the CRC New Zealand churches for their wonderful ownership of this amazing missionary and the encouragement and care shown to her over many years. Also a ‘thank you’ to the Australian CRC churches for their assistance to Jean.
Pastor Fuwe Hagejo, lead Pastor of Bethel PNG and National Chairman, all of the Bethel pastors, missionaries, staff and students, along with the hundreds of pastors and churches throughout PNG send their love and prayer to all the family as we celebrate the life of Sister Jean Roke
God’s blessings and comfort be with you all,
Pastor Barry Silverback
International Missions Director – CRC Churches International