Despite being born on opposite sides of the world, Joy and Graeme Hawke are known at Lilydale Church as a powerful and international testimony. Joy was born and raised in a Seventh-day Adventist household in East Leake, England. She was an only child who maintained close connections to her maternal cousins.
She and her parents were regular attenders and contributors to the Adventist Church in Nottingham. She remembers Friday evenings singing with her father at the piano and asking her parents about how Jesus had looked after them that week.
Unfortunately, when Graeme and his parents became Adventists there was strong opposition from their family. So much so that they felt they were forced to move from where they were living—in Timaru, South New Zealand.
They settled in Hastings, North New Zealand, where Graeme attended a state school for his primary and secondary education. His father worked in a clothing store owned by an Adventist.
Joy and her family moved to Australia, to Hornsby, NSW, when she was almost 16 years of age. After finishing school, she worked at the Sanitarium Health Food Company for a year and saved enough money to attend Avondale College. She graduated from the secretarial course, having also completed Bible subjects and singing in the choir.
After finishing his schooling, Graeme left Hastings to attend the Christchurch Teachers College to study primary teaching, before following “in the steps of my older sister” and attending Avondale College—where he met Joy.
Graeme achieved a BA degree in Education and the two were married not long after graduation.
Joy and Graeme taught in several international Adventist schools: in Auckland for three years; Tonga for six years; and 18 months in the Solomon Islands. They returned to Australia to Lilydale Adventist Academy (now Edinburgh College) where Joy taught for 22 years while Graeme taught in several Adventist schools.
Their message is: “When you dedicate your life to serve your Saviour . . . Jesus guides in many ways.”
They’ve journeyed to different parts of the world and treasure the memories. Joy remembers travelling with a group to Reformation countries that entered a cave where Waldensian Christians had hidden from persecution. In the cave, the group sang the hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.”
Graeme remembers visiting the Holy Lands and the site of Jesus’ tomb—as well as the Al-Aqsa Mosque. “Being there brought to life the Bible story,” he says.
When Joy and Graeme’s Sabbath school group meet, they spend time sharing their week and take prayer requests before studying the lesson together. Their class meets at a home each month for Sabbath lunch and fellowship.