Sunday, April 8
This is MY story!
Happy Easter! HE IS RISEN! He is risen indeed! This has been quite the day - from start to finish. A new day! We began the day when the alarm rang, and we got out of bed, made a cup of coffee, put the turkey in the oven, and got in the car - headed for Sunnyside cemetery to watch the sun come up. It is such a beautiful place, but it was cold this morning. Along the way we saw huge wild turkeys, about 20 deer. It seemed everything was waking up with us. The sun rise - well - as Alvin put it, "each sunrise is unique". We got to Sunnyside, and took out the flowers and placed them by our little grandson Jay's little headstone. Then we walked around a little - and noticed all of the crocuses that were out (although still closed up because of the cold morning.)
We didn't stay long, and got home and ready for church. Today was the day that one big chapter of our lives called "32 years at McIvor" closed and another new one called "Joining Eastview" became a new chapter.
As Delbert said, "today is about new beginnings" and we certainly felt that this IS a new beginning for us. Alvin and I both gave our testimonies - and I thought I would share mine here on my blog. Here it is:
My name is Joy Klassen. I am a wife, mom, granny and follower of Jesus Christ. I was raised in a christian family, by parents who modeled a life of Christ to me. I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior when I was almost 8 years old, and was baptized in Lake Winnipeg when I was 11.
My first 20 years of life I was part of a Plymouth Brethren church. I thank God for that foundation of faith laid in my life.
At the age of 20, I married and joined my husband Alvin at his church, McIvor Ave MB Church.
I have to say that it was only in my mid 30’s however when I really came to know how deep and exciting that a relationship with Jesus could be.
It was during this time that I walked through a deep depression and lost my mom and dad within 18 months of each other.
However, it was during this time that I began to hunger and thirst for more of God. I spent time journalling. I spent time listening. I spent time waiting on Him.
I knew that the Holy Spirit was alive and well, and I asked for more of his power in my life. And so typical of God - he answered my prayers!
Around this time, God laid a verse on my heart - which I claimed as my own then, and still do now. It is Jeremiah 29:11-14a:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD,
In 2000 God began speaking to me about something that we affectionately call the Vision. He entrusted me with a plan complete details. At first I didn’t know if I was hearing him right, but he made it very clear that he was calling me to a very specific ministry with women. I left a career of 25 years and then was surprised when McIvor called me into pastoral ministry.
On January 1st, 2008, I wrote in my journal "Lord I give you this year - all of it. I don't know what the year brings, but I know that you hold it in your hands." In 2008, we were excited about many milestones, and one of them was the arrival of our first grandbaby. Our world crashed apart when our little Jay Benjamin was born silently. Full term and perfect and yet his heart stopped within minutes of being born - it remains a mystery that only God understands.
It felt like our hearts were ripped into a million pieces. Never in our lives have we experienced such pain and grief. We are very thankful for good friends who walked along side of us during this time, and helped to hold us up. However, if I am honest, it is during this time that we experienced some very hurtful things that totally blindsided us. It seemed that going through this tragedy and being in a position of leadership only made it all more complicated. It was during this time that I wrestled, sometimes tooth and nail it felt like, with God. But when I look back, it was also during this time that my faith grew.
It was in those early days of loss, that God spoke again to me, and told me very clearly that it was time to move ahead with the Vision for women’s ministry that He had entrusted to us.
I completed 7.5 years of pastoral ministry and resigned. We sold our home of 27 years, and have been busy, especially Alvin and our sons, building what will soon be the retreat center and ministry home of Women refreshed at the well.
My journey continues, but I have seen over and over how God redeems the pieces, and brings beauty out of brokenness.
Leaving a church family of 32 years was one of the hardest things we have ever done and it was not done without much thought and prayer. We walked into Eastview one Sunday and immediately felt at peace. We have also been blessed through our caregroup here as well.
We know the value of community. and have decided that this is where we want to put in our stakes and get involved. God has given us all gifts and talents, and we want to be able to ours here - for his honor and glory.
at 5:35 PM