Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: PHOTOS and/or SOUVENIR(S) (vacation) (07/16/15)
- TITLE: Never Forget
By Ingrid Forsberg
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Lake Hughes was a small place in the Southern California Mountains when I lived there. I hesitate to call it a town because it had just one stop sign. It was only three miles from the juvenile probation camps where I was Chaplain so it made sense to live in Lake Hughes. That move proved to be either an expression of stupidity or faith. In the natural it was stupid. L.A. county didn’t pay chaplains because of separation of church and state. The organization that placed me didn’t have any money. They told me to send out letters. I did that. Most churches said it was the county’s responsibility to pay me because I worked at county camps. There was an extremely large, well known church that sent me a letter stating that because I was not an “active abiding member” in their church they would not send me any support. I did get one response but it wasn’t enough to keep gas in my car and food in my stomach. There are a few things a person needs to live. Physically I was not able to work a job and be the camps’ chaplain too. I couldn’t work a regular nine to five job without getting sick, or work part time plus do a mediocre job as Chaplain and not get sick. I’m bound by limits. I have to stop when my body says to or I pay big time.
What else was there for me to do but pray? I was experiencing a constant compulsion to serve the camps as the Chaplain. It was so strong it was driving me crazy. No one else wanted the position. It was too far away and it paid nothing. Asking others for money was not something I could bring myself to do. I remembered the story about George Muller who, in the 1800’s in England, never asked anyone a penny for his orphanage. He only prayed, so I decided I’d do the same. “Lord, as long as You bring in the finances I’ll be the Chaplain at the two juvenile probation camps. If You don’t, then You get to find another chaplain. Amen.”
This was not a “hobby job.” With 100 guys in each camp and a complete yearly turnover I had 400 wards a year or more to minister to. There were Sunday services at each camp, mid-week Bible studies, monthly special event nights, seasonal specials (especially at Christmas), weekly counseling. I had to find and recruit volunteers plus there was a ton of paperwork with every volunteer that had to go to the county. That was just the surface of the iceberg. The more I did the more I found to do.
I had to depend on God. To be honest, it wasn’t easy living like that. In fact I hated living like that. “God, why can’t I have a monthly salary like normal people?” But God was faithful. I always had enough. I was always on a high. Not just because of God’s providing my material needs, but because every single week another ward or two would ask me how to become a Christian. That kept me fired up. Boy did it ever!
God provided everything I needed in the most unexpected ways. God can be very creative. One of the things I needed, but didn’t pray for, was a pair of scissors. I figured I’d have to buy myself a pair someday. I didn’t think about scissors again until one night. I was driving alone on an unlighted country road when something in the dirt caught my attention. It was on the passenger’s side of the road. When I stopped to look I found a perfectly good pair of scissors.
It’s been over two decades since then. Things are different for me now. But I still need to be reminded of God’s faithfulness and that I never need to worry. That’s why I wear my scissor charm on a silver chain. It keeps me remembering.
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