The Journey Begins

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

The Journey Begins

By: Linda Boutin, 

CVCC Aspiring Writers’ Forum Co-leader

The decade-long journey of the Aspiring Writers’ Forum began as a nagging desire in my heart. I wanted to get back into writing again after ignoring my gift for 8 years. When my husband left for work, I searched for a local writers’ group to join. If anything would jump start my passion, then I knew from experience it would be a busy group working on projects. When I had lived in San Diego, writing groups found me. However, since moving north into the Inland Empire, that all changed. So, I looked, but the only group I found wasn’t meeting anymore. Disappointed, I turned my attention to other things.

Later that year, we planned to move out of our rental into a condo located in The Preserve Master Community just a few miles south of our present abode. The loss of my sweet Aunt Mary in June left me in pain and grief. Any thoughts of finding a writing group flew away. One morning that fall in the café at church, my friend invited me to join a group she was participating in called The Truth Project. Looking for a new endeavor, I joined them at their next meeting.

The others were already deep in the study, but I caught up quickly. We explored topics I found fascinating. In February, I also attended the Membership class at church. Both studies kept me busy with learning and homework. They were ending within a week of each other in early May. For final approval for membership, I needed to speak with a deacon and elder at our church. With sadness I read through the final lesson of the Truth Project. Just before the end of the final DVD, the moderator challenged us to take what we had learned and apply it to a ministry. Immediately my mind remembered the writing group. I envisioned a Christian writing group at church, one that glorified God and encouraged writers to trust their voices.

Linda Boutin & Coleene VanTilburg

The next evening, I met with my Prayer and Praise team. With much trepidation I told them about my idea. Everyone said they had never heard of a Christian writing group. They asked me questions about what I had in mind. Most of them weren’t interested in writing, but they enthusiastically encouraged me to give it a try.

I said I would need a partner because with my illness I would inevitably land in the hospital. I needed this partner to keep things going when I couldn’t be there. One member of the group seemed perfect, although I didn’t know her well. I turned to Coleene VanTilburg and asked her if she would be willing to be the co-leader of such a group. She said yes, so now we needed a place to meet. I don’t think either of us had any idea what we were committing to, but then doesn’t the Lord seem to work that way? Leading us blind sheep without us knowing where we are heading.

We both attended Chino Valley Community Church (CVCC) so I thought I would ask there first. I spoke with the elder and deacon that Sunday and they approved my membership. I asked the elder what he thought of a writing ministry. I knew I had few credentials to start it, but wanted his opinion. He, too, said he had never heard of such a thing. He asked me many questions, helping me define for myself what this group would be about. He encouraged me that this was a good idea, but I should run it past the staff and get their opinion. Since I was volunteering in the office Monday morning, I thought I would check with them then. When I spoke with our Ministry Leader, I received a quick affirmative. She had a few questions but loved the idea. She said the small groups would begin again in the fall when school started. That’s when we would launch our group.

Within one week the Lord had taken that simmering desire in my heart, turned it into a ministry, found me a co-leader to work with, settled us to do our work at CVCC, and given me a start date for this idea of the first week of September 2009. Now the work began.