The Chapel Stories – P.01
Joyce Lee — International Student
For those who have come across Joyce at The Chapel Sydney, you would know that she is an approachable, vibrant character. Speaking to her is both engaging and energising.
However, this girl from Taiwan wasn’t always so outgoing. During her mid-teens, Joyce struggled with self-esteem issues that impaired her ability to relate to others. She often felt inferior to her successful brother, and with added expectations projected by the parents, there appeared to be no respite from the mounting pressure.
She grew to be very timid and didn’t have the courage to confide in anyone apart from her pet dog. And yet, the puppy soon died, leaving Joyce utterly alone with overwhelming fear and helplessness. The incident pushed her further away from family and friends, as she dreaded that relational intimacy would inevitably lead to painful, unbearable separations.
Darkness continued on until one day, a classmate reached out to Joyce and invited her to attend church. She wasn’t anticipating much, but there learned about a God that descended to earth to gather the lost, comfort the broken, and even neutralise the sting of death once and for all. Just by visiting the community, she began to uncover the Jesus of the Bible — a Saviour who, by his sacrifices and triumphs, bridged the gap between humanity and our Creator, then provided a foundation of love upon which people may live again in harmony with one another.
Over time, Joyce found herself drawn to the church’s message, and eventually responded to God’s own desire to redeem her life. She connected with Jesus and grasped onto the identity and strength that believers enjoy in Christ, empowering her to seek reconciliation with many, including family members. Shortly before moving to Australia for studies, she was baptised at the age of nineteen.
Life for an international student can be demanding. For the first few years in Sydney, Joyce worked two jobs to survive while tackling courses taught in a language not of her mother tongue. Despite the busy schedule, she participated in FOCUS (Fellowship of Overseas Christian University Students) at Macquarie University, a campus ministry offering the spiritual sustenance that she needed.
Around this period, news arrived of her grandmother’s passing. The plague of death attempted to mess with her mind a second time, but Joyce, knowing that her grandmother had also been a believer of Christ, recognised the sure hope of reunion beyond the boundaries of this current world. She had truly grown to become a woman of faith who trusted in the healing power of God to conquer every fear and obstacle in life.
In 2017, Joyce joined The Chapel Sydney. Relatable preaching and the liveliness of our community were among the first things that captured her attention. With an interest in Southeast Asia, she also desired to learn more about our church’s mission trips to places like Cambodia.
Joyce is now serving as a welcomer on Sundays. It is a fitting role thanks to the affable personality developed in her transformation, and her fluent Mandarin grants additional opportunities to connect with the people who visit us here in Chatswood. May God use her as an ambassador of hope to draw in those looking for a life-changing experience reflective of Joyce’s own journey.
Anthony Byun — Welcoming Team Captain
The Chapel Sydney welcomes all humanity, for this is the intended reach of God’s display of love. Some big words for a small church, perhaps, but upon meeting Anthony and his welcoming team, one may appreciate the heart and soul behind this noble endeavour.
New visitors grace our doorsteps every Sunday — one of the privileges the church enjoys being near the centre of Chatswood. It is from here that the frontline of the ministry begins to reflect the hospitality of Jesus as they usher and greet new friends, helping them feel at home during time spent in our congregation.
Although, the work of welcoming doesn’t just end here. The team’s commitment extends beyond the scope of Sundays; they aid in the transition of newcomers into belonging within the community, bridging them with various members and groups of the church body.
Anthony understands that this is no easy task, requiring much sacrifice. Yet as he recalls when he first came to church, it was this level of investment from believers that drew him deeper to God’s generosity. He now recognises the overflow of this grace in our lives as the fuel by which we gain passion and energy to continually serve in the long run.
Furthermore, it is Anthony’s hope that the team’s efforts are a leading example, so that the spirit of welcoming may be ingrained into the culture of the church. After all, this rewarding ministry is tied to the mission of every believer — the bold proclamation of the gospel of Jesus to the ends of the earth. Only through our work together in the Spirit are we to even dream of loving our neighbours, blessing our city, and winning the world for the Saviour it needs.
Doing a little welcoming is a great first step!
James Jang — Music Worship Leader
Music has always been an integral part of Christian worship. Like many churches, The Chapel Sydney lifts up melodic praise each week as we gather to celebrate our deserving God. As a leader in this ministry, James is passionate about seeing people connect with Jesus, whether by singing, prayer, scriptural study, or building relationships within the community.
During his formative adolescence, a fondness for the guitar was what initially set James onto the path of music. Along with it, he fostered a precocious affection for blues and jazz, which provided nourishment for the teenager’s intellectual and emotional development. In particular, the history behind these genres and the innovative playfulness conveyed both a sense of tradition and of freedom that captivated his imagination.
While young James started to know Jesus and experience congregational praise, his eyes (and ears) were opened to something deeper. Not only did he see that the Christian tradition of blessing the Lord through song has a rich history spanning thousands of years, he also realised that this very act resonates with eternal harmonies proclaiming God’s limitless glory. As a display of freedom, musical worship reaches beyond creativity and into the redemptive qualities of Christ’s identity and work. Very often, in practice, it is a tuning process aiming to realign participants to the love of the heavenly Father and his best intent for our lives.
James joined the music team in hope to share what Jesus has revealed to him. Over time, he became a leader that seeks to honour the Creator on and off the stage, both in public and in private. True ministry is a lifestyle for him. In this pursuit of God, streams of praise keep his heart focused, against the distractions and temptations that permeate modern existence. The rejuvenating delight of how music and our purpose entwine serves as a great motivation: “Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him. Praise the Lord with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to him a new song; play skilfully, and shout for joy” (Psalm 33:1-3).
May God continue to build up James and his fellow musicians for the shaping of our community in worship that exalts the King of kings and the Lord of lords.