Dr. Joyce Miller is a native of Alexandria, Louisiana, and the seventh of fifteen children. Her mother was a strict disciplinarian and made sure each member of the family did his/her part to make the household function. While schooling was important, it was not always a priority. Joyce remembers, "When it was time to pick cotton in the fields, mother would 'cancel' school for us and off to the fields we would go." In her early years, Joyce did not receive the quality education she now knows is critically important. Because she didn't begin her educational aspirations until later in life, she knows, "With God, all things are possible, if you only believe." It's never too late for Him to use a willing vessel. After 27 consecutive years of college, she walked down the aisle to receive her doctorate of ministry degree, looked up and said, "God, WE did it!" Joyce's father was a pastor of a small Baptist church and worked at a saw mill to make ends meet. For the most part her family of 17 basically was the church, and Madea (mother) made sure her children were sitting on the pew ready to hear about Jesus. In the early 1950s, life wasn't easy in this rural, segregated small town. Money was scarce, but Joyce's family was fortunate to have a flourishing garden. No one went hungry. Their friends would come to Rev. Bell's house to eat when they didn't have food of their own. There was no money to buy toys, but all the children found ways to entertain themselves. They jumped rope, climbed the tree in the front yard, and made mud pie "dinners" in the dirt under the house. During her high school years Joyce ran track, played drums in the band, and was a cheerleader. Like many teenagers, she didn't always think before she acted. Though she knew better, she made some wrong choices and had a son before finishing high school. On the day she graduated from high school, she walked down the aisle six months pregnant with child number two. In God's mercy, He sent her a wonderful husband and father to her two sons. He was in the air force, and they married in Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China. Even though things didn't start ideally in Joyce' life, God's grace is sufficient. She now has been happily married for 37 years and has three sons. Her oldest son, DeLano, is pastoring a church in North Carolina. Her second son, Okkerse, has been in the U.S. Navy for over 20 years. Her youngest son, Bertram, is an entrepreneur in Atlanta, Georgia. She has eight precious grandchildren. They bring extreme joy to her life.
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