Deaconess Joy Prim is a United Methodist missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries serving as a welfare case officer for migrant domestic workers. She is based at the Mission for Migrant Workers at St. John’s Cathedral in Hong Kong, SAR (special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China). Joy gained valuable experience for her current task as a mission intern with MFMW.
Founded in 1981, Mission for Migrant Workers remains committed to supporting migrant workers in crisis, empowering them to regain dignity and encouraging recognition of them as an integral part of multicultural and inclusive Hong Kong, SAR, society. In many families, both parents must work to afford the high cost of living. Migrant workers are in great demand to provide child care and manage households as well as to care for older adults.
In Hong Kong, SAR, migrant workers remain one of the most vulnerable groups, left out of many social protections. The Mission for Migrant Workers has seen an increase in migrant workers seeking their services. As a charitable institution, MFMW depends on volunteers to implement many programs. As a missionary, Joy provides stability and continuity to the mission’s social justice work.
“My faith journey,” she said, “has been influenced and led by the United Women in Faith (formerly United Methodist Women) purpose, growing up with a mother and grandmother who were both members and my choice to become a UWF member at 12 years old. I could recite the purpose before I could read chapter books. The foundation they laid for caring for issues of women, youth and children in our local communities and around the world sparked my yearning for mission work.”
In college, Joy was selected to be part of the College/University Consultative Board of the former Women’s Division, where she gained greater knowledge and appreciation of United Methodist global mission work through its “from everywhere to everywhere” practices, she said.
Joy was inspired to apply for the Mission Intern Program, a forerunner to Global Mission Fellows. “When I let myself learn about the migrant communities and share my own reflections,” she said, “the more I was feeling at home and realizing that I was called to do this as my vocation.” For her domestic placement, Joy served with the Filipino Migrant Center in Long Beach, California. She helped to empower many through education and handling cases on labor issues, immigration and human trafficking.
After her mission internship, she provided direct services and advocacy to address human rights issues in California and beyond. She assisted Filipino migrant workers and volunteered with the California-Pacific Annual Conference Justice and Compassion EMT, as well as the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines.
Born in Statesville, North Carolina, Joy grew up in western North Carolina. She most recently lived in Los Angeles. She is a member of West LA United Methodist Church, part of the California-Pacific Conference. She was welcomed into the order of Deaconess and Home Missioner in 2020 and consecrated as a deaconess in May 2022.
Joy cherishes “God moments,” she said, “where I feel connected to my understandings of the early church that weren’t so much about liturgies and formalities but about building community, finding ways to support each other and living our faith in action.”