Singaporean missionary takes taxi to airport in Turkey, gets in car crash and dies in hospital

Gabrielle Chan
The Straits Times
Nov 16, 2023

A 56-year-old Singaporean man died in a traffic accident in Turkey on Wednesday.

Turkish media reports said Mr Joseph Chean was heading to the airport in a taxi on the Northern Marmara Highway when the cab crashed into the back of a car.

Mr Chean was taken to the Arnavutkoy State Hospital but died from his injuries, the reports added.

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

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

Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs extended its condolences to Mr Chean’s family and said it was providing consular assistance.

Christian online publication Salt&Light said Mr Chean, a missionary, leaves his wife Kim and two daughters, Olivia and Ashley. 

Mr Chean 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.”

Ms Lydia Tan, a friend of Mr Chean’s, described him on Facebook as “a leader, a mentor, a friend, an encourager who 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 Mr 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.”

The Straits Times

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