Singaporean missionary dies in car accident in Turkey; pastors and friends pay tribute to ‘brother and comrade’, Singapore

PUBLISHED ON November 16, 2023 7:36 AM By Gabrielle Chan

SINGAPORE — A 56-year-old Singaporean man died in a traffic accident in Turkey on Wednesday (Nov 15).

Turkish media reports said that Joseph Chean was in a taxi travelling towards Edirne — a city in the country’s north-west — on the Northern Marmara Highway when it crashed into the back of a car.

Chean was taken to the Arnavutkoy State Hospital but subsequently died, the reports added.

Both drivers were also injured, and investigations into the accident are ongoing, these media reports said.

Christian training organisation Youth With A Mission (YWAM) Singapore, where the late Chean was national director for 12 years, also confirmed his death in a Facebook post on Thursday.

The Straits Times has contacted Singapore’s Foreign Affairs Ministry for more information.

Christian online publication Salt&Light said the missionary leaves behind his wife Kim and two daughters, Olivia and Ashley. 

Chean had joined YWAM in 1997 after being a youth pastor in the Anglican church for eight years, it said.

He left his YWAM post earlier in 2023, and became the strategic coordinator of Antioch 21, a project that seeks to mobilise missionaries from Singapore to other countries.

Said Pastor Lawrence Khong, founding chairman of LoveSingapore, a network of churches in Singapore: “It is hard to express the grief in my heart.

“He is a brother and comrade whose heart is filled with love for the lost.”

Lydia Tan, a friend of Chean’s, described him on Facebook as “a leader, a mentor, a friend, an encourager that has championed me to be who I am today”.

She added: “I will miss your cooking, guidance, laughter, teasing, and, most importantly, your love for Jesus and the world.”

Pastor Chua Seng Lee, senior pastor at Bethesda Bedok Tampines Church, told Salt&Light that Chean was like a brother, someone whom he could openly share his thoughts and feelings with.

“My heart bleeds for the loss of a brother so dear.”

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This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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