Joyce Pavlik


Retired Missionary to the American Indian Field
By Rachel Elwood, Staff Writer
November 2011

Whether she was counseling young girls at the Fairhaven Home for Unwed Mothers, coaching junior high girls at Southwest Indian School past teenage awkwardness, or visiting SIS alumni and their families in the hospital as a chaplain, Joyce Pavlik has worked to lead people into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

While serving as a dorm mother at SIS in the 1980s, Joyce wrote in a prayer letter to supporters: “God has made me more aware of the deep needs these girls have, and I consider myself blessed to have been chosen by Him to be an instrument through which these girls can hear of the Savior.”

Joyce was born and raised in rural southwestern Iowa. Although her father was a believer, her mother was not, and this division in the family had a deep effect on Joyce. Despite making a commitment for Jesus Christ at the age of 11, she walked away from the church during her teen years. However, at the age of 21, she again realized her need for Christ and recommitted her life at a revival service. Soon after, she earned a degree in Bible from Vennard College (Iowa), where she became interested in missions. She went on to earn a degree in sociology from William Penn College (Iowa).

In 1971, she began her ministry at the Fairhaven Home for Unwed Mothers in Sacramento, California, where she was a caseworker and eventually became the administrator. Joyce loved being able to bring emotional and spiritual healing to the residents at the home.

After the Fairhaven Home closed, Joyce desired to continue working with high-risk girls, so SIS on the American Indian Field seemed like a perfect fit. Between her arrival on the field in 1979 and when the school closed in 1998, Joyce served as dorm mother to junior high and senior high girls, school counselor, dean of students, secretary, teacher, the assistant field director, and more.

In 1989, the Lord brought Richard Pavlik into her life, and the two were married on the SIS campus. After SIS closed, Joyce served as the field hostess, the prayer coordinator, and a volunteer chaplain at the Phoenix Indian Medical Center in Arizona. “I have had many opportunities to share Jesus with patients who were ill, counseling some who were going through troubles, and being with family when they lost their loved ones and seeing them through part of the grief process.”

Joyce has had an eternal impact on countless individuals, both young and old. She retired in 2008 after 38 years of faithful service, and she continues to minister in the Phoenix area as she is able.