JoAnn Butrin is the director of AGWM International Ministries, which focuses on meeting specific and strategic needs of missionaries and national fellowships worldwide. Assigned to these ministries are 250 missionaries and missionary associates who use their unique skills to create and provide resources and training requested by the fields in all regions of the world.
When JoAnn was 5 years old, her family hosted Lillian Trasher, pioneer AG missionary to Egypt and founder of the Lillian Trasher Orphanage, in their home. The visit sparked a passion for missions in JoAnn’s heart that never wavered. After receiving training in nursing, she went to Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) in 1972 as a missionary associate. She received full missions appointment two years later.
Over the next 14 years JoAnn learned the value of blending medicine and evangelism. She worked with mobile clinics in remote areas and assisted at health outreaches in large communities. Her work in compassion ministry allowed her to learn both French and Lingala, Zaire’s two main languages, and helped her build relationships with people in desperate circumstances.
In 1988, she joined the staff of HealthCare Ministries (now CompassionLink). With teams of volunteer health professionals, she traveled throughout the world to conduct health clinics in needy areas. She was named director of HealthCare Ministries in 1996 and led it until her appointment as International Ministries director in 2005.
JoAnn was trained as a registered nurse at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pennsylvania, and received a bachelor’s degree in nursing at Evangel University. She completed further study in health professions, earning a master’s degree at Penn State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. In addition to lecturing on a variety of health-related topics, she has authored three books on health care in developing countries and ministry to people affected by AIDS. Her latest book, “From the Roots Up,” concerns justice and compassion in missions.