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Friday, July 12, 2013

Behind and Beside-a poem.

If I could have scripted it,
It would never have turned out like this.
Right here, right now,
I would never have picked.
New Hampshire, New England,
Practically Canada to me,
Too far, too long,
Maybe only in a dream.

My plan wasn’t Yours,
My dreams didn’t conform.
But You took my heart of holes,
And made me whole. 
Since our journey has begun,
You’ve given me new eyes.
What was once not even a thought,
I now call a blessed life.

You took me from home,
Placed me in a faraway land (2000 miles isn’t a walk in the park, ya know?).
You gave me a wonderful job,
Entrusting me with teenage lambs.
You have given me a home,
Amongst these mountains and hills.
This social network of friends,
Has blessed me a great deal. 

Though life has it’s mountains,
As well as valley’s below,
I thank You for walking with me,
Wherever I go.
Behind me, beside me,
And in front to lead the way,
Thank You for reminding me,
That Your love is here to stay.

Joy Lynn Chambers

Saturday, July 6, 2013

A Trial Run with Fear

I am sure you have seen the cute little icon that says something about the Bible saying “Do not fear” or something like that 365 times, one for each day of the year.  I’m not sure how many times the Bible actually references the fear we all face, but I know that’s it’s easier to quote a verse to someone else than it is to take solace in that promise yourself. 

See, I have begun a new adventure in my life, and luckily, I’ve been blessed to have a trial period at it rather than just diving in, head first.  I am 26 years old, but I have never been in a position to have to live by myself for a long period of time.  I commuted to school for university, lived on campus for Bible school, lived in cabins all summer long and generally go from friends house to friends house on long road trips.  I’m not married, have no children, and my biological family lives over 2000 miles away and for the last two years, I’ve lived with a co-worker and her husband.  But it’s time for me to “grow up.”  What does growing up even really mean?  Well, to me, in this next stage, I vision it meaning to get out on my own, having to support myself on my own income, cooking for myself, and becoming more….”domestic”, if you will. 

I have now been in a house alone for one week and boy did it start off rocky.  I arrived home to an empty house on Saturday afternoon, exhausted from 10 days at camp and anticipating an empty fridge and warm house.  I had just unloaded groceries and sat down on the couch when a knock thumped on the front door.  Two men stood outside, looking like slick detectives with badges but just the black pants, white shirt type of guys.  They told me they had some questions to ask, so I answered their questions the best I could and had to repeatedly clarify that I had just gotten home from being out of state and had not been home.  After they finished their questions, I asked if they could tell me what the fuss was about.  The Major Crimes unit of NH State PD doesn’t just show up to take surveys...  That is when they informed me that a woman, who lived probably a mile away (only separated by woods), went missing Thursday (June 27th) and they were looking in the woods that surround the house for clues and such.  Before the day was over, there was NH Fish & Game up on the corner searching the woods and another cop searching for a ATV rider that wouldn’t stop for him.  Not to mention I live on a hill, at the dead end of a road, with a half mile drive way….WELCOME HOME JOY!  Day 1, home alone…..a little eerie.
So for the first few days, if I was home, I barricaded myself in, locking all doors, making sure windows were closed, and setting the alarm even if I was home.  It was steaming hot inside the house…think, sauna…..It was literally 95 outside and 92 inside the house.  Made me just want to go outside for a walk, but that was too scary a thought.  I messed up in my security though.  On Monday, with the alarm set to protect me inside, I slipped and opened a door on the main floor, setting the alarm on myself.  I ran down stairs and tried to reset the alarm, but alas, it was too late.  Talk about feeling foolish and embarrassed.  The cops were called by the alarm company, so they came blazing up the hill, lights flashing, two separate cars and I sat on the front steps waiting for their arrival.  Talk about embarrassing…..My intense fear caused me to be in more trouble than I ever anticipated. 

“The wise man in the storm prays to God, not for safety from danger, but for deliverance from fear. It is the storm within that endangers him, not the storm without.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

I explained to the two officers what happened and the reason why I had barricaded myself in the house….the visit by 3 different officers already, the fish and game presence, the unknown whereabouts of the missing woman and assailant.  They were understanding, took my ID, and then said I was free to head back in the house.  I had just closed the door, sat down on the couch, head in my hands in embarrassment when another knock at the door.  It was the same officers, asking me to step outside.  I obliged and they asked me if I was alone at the house.  Long story made shorter, one officer was convinced he saw someone in the house while I was outside talking to them which quite frankly, creeped me out immensely.  I told them that no one was invited in there and to please do a search of the house, as my fear was spiked at the thought that my worst fear of someone coming inside the house while I was there was already long gone and I wasn’t alone.  So one officer stood outside with me while the other searched the house and I nearly… no…I did bubble over in total anxiety.  The officer found nothing in the house and reassured me to call 911 if I ever felt scared.  All the officers I met this week were extremely nice and I could tell they did their job for the right reasons….I was just so over interactions with officers. 
So in the last few days, I’ve done better at not having interactions with cops, slept great every night, and gotten braver in my own house.  I have balanced the time at home with cleaning, reading, and walking as well as going out to spend time with friends or shop.  These last two days, I’ve gotten braver to go out for a walk here on the road and open windows and doors to get a cross breeze going in the house.  I’ve gotten better at feeding myself and just feel less anxious when alone.  Brave is not a word that I think anyone would ever use to characterize me, but this week, God has helped me turn fear into trusting Him.  There are definitely steps to take to be smart, but I need not be enslaved to fear and anxiety. 
I look towards hopefully getting an apartment and I want to be confident in my ability to live on my own.  I don’t want to live in fear.  This environment I am in, is supposed to be a safe trial run, in that it is the house I have been living in for the last two years.  And I think it will be fine…I just don’t want to fail.  I want to prove that I can do this…I can grow up…I can live on my own and take care of myself.  I can live alone and not fear.  I can because I’m not alone….God is always with me, whether I cling to those promises or not but I am thankful that He left those promises for me anyway. 
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

Until next time,
In Christ,

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

CYIA 2013-To Know Him and Make Him Known

From June 19-28th, over 100 teens plus dozens of adults descended on Camp Good News® in Maine for Child Evangelism Fellowships® annual Christian Youth in Action® training school.  All students go through the Wordless Book training practicum to prepare for sharing the Gospel with children (and really people of all ages) during Open Air on Sunday as well as use for other ministries throughout life.  On Sunday’s Open Air, we talked to over 100 people on the streets of several cities in Maine and many professed faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior.  My small group that I supervised got to talk to 9 individuals and it was neat to see these 13-14 year olds anxious to share the Gospel with people they didn’t know.  Two of the teenage boys they shared with were Muslim but the boys listened and were very respectful answering questions.  At the end of sharing, my girls came back to me to share they were discouraged that the boys did not want to trust Christ as they were Muslim and I shared my joy with them that these boys were even willing to sit and listen.  Many times, those who are Muslim will totally reject hearing the stories and reject us entirely, so I was so pleased that my girls were able to plant seeds of Truth to ears willing to listen.  My boys also got to share with a brother and sister on the streets and really felt they were understood, so praising God for opportunities for my small group to apply what they had learned.

 Jessie and I leading "What Can Wash Away My Sins?" as she
taught the red page of the Wordless Book.
Picture by Ethan Troester

After the first three days, CYIA really starts to shift gears.  There are three main programs going on simultaneously.  One program is the Certified Lifeguard Program, in which 6 participants completed and are now certified Lifeguards.  Some will likely come back to Camp and serve a few weeks in the summer in the pool and others will use it to find work back in their hometowns. 

The second program is the Literature Distribution Program, also sometimes known as the Junior CYIA program.  The program is primarily made up of first time CYIA students and most are 14 years old which is (generally) the youngest age you can be to come to CYIA.  There were somewhere between 30 and 40 students in this program, who went door to door in Augusta, Maine, handing out free “Meet the King” children Bible story books published by CEF.  Over four days, the group passed out over 700 books so praise God for willing recipients.  The students also got to learn how to teach skill activities that will be going on throughout the summer at Camp Good News in case they come out to volunteer in the summer.  They also sat through numerous Bible Studies led by Mr. Matthew Little, the President of New Brunswick Bible Institute (one of my alma maters) where He taught about the importance of the Bible, why we study it, and tips on how to study it through devotions.  Personally, I was a supervisor in this group, with 4 students assigned to me in order to lead them and supervise them as we went out on Open Air and Distribution.  I loved my small group….they are so funny and willing to jump out of their comfort zones. 

Literature Disribution Group 2013
Junior CYIA Program.
Picture by Ethan Troester

The third program is the 4-Day Club program.  There were almost 70 students in this program, ranging from teenagers to adults.  One woman in the program really blessed my heart with her joy in the Lord and her eagerness to share and her excitement about how clubs were going.  The 4-Day Club program exists to equip students to be prepared to teach Bible Lessons, Missionary stories, lead song time and club in general for a ministry CEF puts on through the summer called 5-Day Clubs®.  This last week, with well over 15 clubs going around the state, reached over 100 children through their attendance in the Clubs.  Some of the students of the program will go on to help lead 5-Day Clubs in their local areas this summer, but some will simply take that training into serving their local church or as preparation for teaching Good News Clubs® in the Fall so it’s a sweet ministry.

Besides being a supervisor in the Literature Distribution Program, I also had many other opportunities to serve.  I was a cabin supervisor to the Pennacook cabin, having 7 young women (ages 17-18) and I loved it.  It was such a sweet blessing to wind down at night, doing cabin devotions together, sharing what God has taught us through His Word, what He has been doing through the programs, and sharing prayer requests and heart to hearts.  I also was able to help with the music/worship ministry by working the projector/computer/PowerPoint.  It was funny how I got that job…..Brad (the pianist) asked me to help him with something on the computer, and once he saw that I knew the “F5” command to start the PowerPoint, I got roped in for the next 10 days but it was such a blessing to do that.  I love music, but I am not a great singer so I don’t try out for music ministries.  But to sit in front and hear the whole group of over 100 singing praises every morning and night was just….soul-lifting.  I was blessed to be able to be part of the CYIA ministry this year…it’s always been my favorite 10 days of the summer, and I am thankful to now have been a part of it for 5 years. 

Allison and I.  Once a camper of mine and now a dear friend.
In conclusion, I learned many things, some of which I hope to write about at a later time.  But specific to CYIA, I think the biggest blessing was coming back to see a generation willing and eager to serve the Lord.  And I was especially blessed to see so many familiar faces in that group.  Out of the almost 70 girls in the program, I have had well over 20 in my cabins in the past, either as junior campers, teen campers, or previous CYIA’s.  Some of them are now even supervisors and serving alongside me.  I know it was certainly not me who has gotten them to this point, but as 2 John 4 says “I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father.”  To see many of the youth I’ve ministered with now growing up and being ministers to others is such a blessing and encouragement.  I was blessed to be able to reconnect with many old friends, see some dear friends, and make many new friends while I was away and I am forever grateful for the ministry of Child Evangelism Fellowship of Maine and its impact in my life.  Looking forward to when we meet again! 

Until next time,

In Christ,

Joy Lynn

Monday, July 1, 2013

Songs of Joy

There are several reasons I love Maine….  One would be the hugs….not that Mainer’s are all huggers naturally, but they’ve embraced my Texas hugs and even encourage them.  Second would be that my friends there are so very creative and I want to give you two examples of epic song writing skills that just bring joy to my heart. 

From my first summer in 2007, Adam B. and Matt T. got together and re-wrote the song, “I’ve got joy down in my heart” to this….

“I’ve got Joy, down in my Chambers, deep deep down in my Chambers.

J-O-Y down in my Chambers, deep deep down in my Chambers.

Texas gave her to us, and they can’t have her back..

I’ve got Joy, down in my Chambers, deep deep down in my Chambers.”

 This is Adam sending me a video goodbye in 2007.
Towards the end, he sings the "I've got Joy" song.

Then, this summer of 2013, carrying on the tradition, Emily B. wrote a song based on the lyrics and melody of “Joyful, Joyful.”

“Joyful, Joyful, we adore you

Born in Texas, now in Maine.

You’re our sister

And we love you.

We won’t let them take you back.

You are our Joy

You light our lives up

Thanks to your smile

And Texas hugs.

Joyful, Joyful, we adore you.

I’m so glad you’re here this year.”

From right to left: Emily, Caroline, Sam and I.  It was banquet night hence the nicely dressed ladies, but I worked the dish pit, hence the hat and Team Tebow shirt.
I am blessed to have such a great network of friends in Maine that I’ve gotten to know over the last 6 years, be it near or far away.  I’ll update again soon with how CYIA went but until next time…

In Christ,

Joy Lynn