A Missionary to Beekeepers

When God transformed his life, Roy Poyser knew he had a unique mission.

Denis Kaiser, Lake Union Herald
A Missionary to Beekeepers
Vicky and Roy Poyser. [Photo: Lake Union Herald]

Roy Martin Poyser, born in 1939, had been raised Seventh-day Adventist in Australia, but he was not interested in spiritual things or attending church.

At age 14, he dropped out of school and eventually got into beekeeping. For the next 15 years, he put himself first and did not care about God. He drank alcohol and was hooked on nicotine. Before buying food, he would always buy cigarettes.

At age 30, Poyser had a dramatic experience that completely changed the course of his life. He needed to purchase a larger truck to support his growing business, but when he arrived at the truck yard, it was closed. So, he got a room in a local pub, had a few drinks, and smoked heavily.

A few months before the trip, he had heard a voice speaking to his heart, “Your body is the temple of God, and if you destroy that temple, I’ll have to destroy you.” Although he got to the point of wanting to stop smoking, he was unable to let go. When he got to his room in the pub, he found a Gideons Bible on his bed. Although he knew the Bible pretty well, he did not want to follow it.

“Ministers can reach certain areas of society, but they’ll never be able to reach the beekeepers like you can,” a pastor told Roy Poyser after his baptism. [Photo: courtesy of Roy Poyser]

That evening, however, Poyser, for some reason, started reading the Gospels’ description of Jesus. Surprisingly, he could understand what he was reading, and it melted his heart. He fell to his knees, began to cry, and said, “If you can bring people back from the dead, maybe you can help me too.”

Poyser got into bed and fell asleep. Usually, when he would first wake up, he needed a cigarette. But the next morning, the addiction was gone. As he walked out of the pub, he looked into the sky and thought, “There is someone up there. I’ve never met him, but he answered my prayer.” This experience completely changed his life.

Soon after his conversion, both Poyser and his wife, Vicki, were baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Like many others who experience a dramatic conversion experience, he wondered whether he should become a pastor. Interestingly, his pastor told him, “Ministers can reach certain areas of society, but they’ll never be able to reach the beekeepers like you can. You have a unique mission field. So, unless God calls you to be a pastor, you should consider doing something else.”

Poyser returned to his beekeeping business and has been a missionary to the beekeepers ever since. He has been active in the church, active in outreach, and sharing his faith with many in the outback who are otherwise difficult to reach.

The account is based on Jared Martin, “A Savior in the Swamp: The Incredible Story of an Aussie Beekeeper” (research paper, Andrews University, 2020).

The original version of this story was posted on Lake Union Herald.

Denis Kaiser, Lake Union Herald