Joan Thomas met her husband, Major Ian Thomas, the founder of Torchbearers, while he was a traveling evangelist. He stayed in her family home while preaching in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Having been called up for military service, they married shortly afterwards. In Ian’s absence in Germany, Joan was available to acquire Capernwray Hall at an auction in September, 1946, where the first ministry conference was held nine months later. Joan is the mother of four sons, all involved along with their families in the ministry of Torchbearers. She now resides in Estes Park, Colorado.