Introducing Chris & Julie Dean
Posted on: 14th April 2020
BY CHRIS AND JULIE DEAN / / CHRIS AND JULIE ARE CMS VICTORIA’S NEWEST MISSIONARY TEAM, BOUND FOR TIMOR LESTE
I (Chris) was born into a family of 16 children and spent most of my childhood in Tatura, Victoria. Ours was a very religious Roman Catholic family. Although I was taught many orthodox Christian truths, unfortunately I was not taught the Gospel of God’s free grace in Christ. I was taught that the way to relate to God was impersonally through the priest, through the sacraments, and through Mary and the Saints. I believed that religious observances and good deeds might possibly earn me a place in heaven. The purpose of Jesus’ death and resurrection was a mystery.
When I went to University, a mate shared the gospel with me. Amazingly, for the first time, I heard that it’s exclusively and entirely by God’s grace that we are saved: that simply through turning from our sin, and trusting personally in Jesus’ death and resurrection on our behalf, we can be saved, and can know that we’re saved. However, although I wanted it to be true, this amazing news actually sounded too good to be true.
Back then, I lived at Ridley College, which, in those days, was a University Residential College (as well as being a Theological College). At Ridley, I met numerous other Uni students who not only explained the same Gospel as my mate had – their faith in Jesus deeply impacted their lives. They had a certain joy and concern for holiness, and, amazingly, they had assurance of salvation in Jesus. I was intrigued! Peter Oldland, the Chaplain at Ridley back then, was also very helpful, graciously answering my various questions. I bought my first Bible, and started reading it, and praying for God’s guidance. Over time, God’s Holy Spirit showed me that the Gospel of grace is true, and I trusted in Jesus personally for salvation. And it changed my life!
I (Julie) grew up in an evangelical home in Sheffield, Tasmania. I trusted in Jesus as my Saviour from a young age.
Chris and I met at Ridley College as student residents, while doing the dishes. After knowing each other for a couple of years, we started going out, and we married in 1992. So, you could say, we met doing the dishes together… and we’re still doing them together today!
We started our married life in Shepparton, Chris working in optometry, while I was an occupational therapist. Over the years, and while raising our two sons, we’ve enjoyed being thoroughly involved in local church life, serving in various everyday ministries.
Over time, we’ve had many friends who’ve encouraged us on our Christian journey, and in ministry and mission.
In God’s timing, Chris became a Presbyterian minister, and planter of Warragul Presbyterian Church. I served alongside Chris in the church-plant, while working part-time as a teacher’s aide at Chairo Christian School.
Over the years, we’ve known many cross-cultural missionaries, and we often thought about the possibility of becoming missionaries ourselves.
Our thinking became more concrete while visiting missionary friends in Japan in 2018. Put simply, they challenged us there and then about becoming missionaries… right now!
When we finally made the decision to go cross-culturally, we did not have one particular location in mind. We believe that people without Christ are without ultimate hope in the world, so we were open to which people group God might send us.
In conversations with CMS, Timor Leste emerged as a potential location. One reason was that Chris had done eye-care there not long after their Independence. Another reason was that Timor Leste is- statistically- majority Catholic (albeit with deep, underlying animism), a worldview with which we are very familiar. Also, CMS partners with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Timor Leste (EPCTL), which itself partners with the Australian Presbyterian Church, of which Chris is a minister.
So, God-willing, we will depart for Timor Leste mid-year. At this stage, we don’t know the precise details of our future ministry, but our aim is to support, encourage and equip church leaders in Bible-based ministry. We will initially be working with the same local church as CMS missionaries Chris and Grace Adams, who have recently commenced their third term in Timor Leste.
We are so thankful to God to be part of CMS, and to be sent out to Timor Leste in CMS’s fellowship, to serve the Lord Jesus. Wouldn’t it be glorious to see, by God’s grace, a Timor Leste that knows Jesus!
If you wish to partner with Chris and Julie, please visit www.give.cms.org.au/deancj
Please pray for wisdom for Chris and Julie, now looking at an adjusted timeline to embark for Timor Leste due to the current travel restrictions.
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