Missionary Joe Cannon

Joe and Betty Cannon, May 2011

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (BNc) — Joseph L. Cannon, former missionary to Japan, Papua New Guinea, and the Ukraine, died early Thursday morning, Oct. 25.

He had devoted more than 60 years of his life to missions, celebrating his twenty-first birthday on the ship to Japan.

He was living in Memphis with his second wife at the time of his death. He had been honored May, 2011, by the Highland church for their many years of service.

Of his decision to enter Japan in 1947, Joe told Chris Altrock, “I believe Jesus wanted me to go serve among the most unloved people I could find.  And at that time, the most unloved people in America were the Japanese.”

In 1971 Joe and Rosabelle left Japan for Papua New Guinea as the first Western missionaries to that country.

Joe began Mission/1000 in 1983, a program sponsored by the Highland church to recruit, train, and send a thousand missionaries in supportive roles over a 20-year period.

Joe wrote several missions books, including For Missionaries Only, a small but delightful and forceful volume on missions, published in 1975 by Baker Book House. Harding University has made it available on its website in PDF format.

After the death of his wife Rosabelle, Joe married Betty Dollar in 2002. He joined her in her work in The Ukraine.

Joe baptized thousands, trained hundreds, and influenced, through his writings and example, an untold number of disciples for the mission of God, among whom I count myself.

Visitation will be held Saturday, Oct. 27 at 1:00 pm.  Funeral services will follow at 2:00 pm.  Both will be held at the Highland church building.

Thanks to Paul Goddard. Photo from faithinmemphis.com.