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Thursday
Mar292012

God is a Good God (Dios es un Dios Bueno)

Through Andrew's teaching, Leonardo and Iselsa Jimenez came to understand that God is a good God, and they have prospered because of their knowledge. (Click to enlarge)Entrepreneurs, Leonardo and Iselsa Jimenez, owners of Alpha Dental in Katy, Texas, have made a long journey into their identities as a couple, as business owners and as part of the body Christ. Both immigrated to the United States in the 1980s, Leonardo from Colombia and Iselsa from the Dominican Republic, and their journey has led them from religion to a true understanding that God is a good God.

Though the immigrants had come to America from different countries, they wound up attending the same church in the Houston area. Iselsa and Leonardo met shortly after Iselsa had shared with the Lord her desire for a husband. "I asked God for a husband, not a Iselsa asked God for a husband, and she specified that he must love the Lord and he must be tall—God answers prayers. (Click to enlarge)friend or boyfriend," said Iselsa. She also prayed specifically for a tall man who loved the Lord. At church a short time later, Leonardo approached Iselsa and the two hit it off. Iselsa, conscious of what she had prayed, asked Leonardo during their first date, what he wanted to do with his life. He answered that he felt like he wanted to teach God's Word. The two were married in 1997.

During the early days of their relationship, Leonardo worked in a small hospital. One morning at work, he was listening to a local radio station when he heard Andrew's Gospel Truth program for the first time. Andrew was teaching, God is a Good God, and what Leonardo heard so impressed him that he called the ministry's Leonardo holds a tape of the first teaching he ever received from AWM. He was so grateful that Andrew's teaching was and continues to be offered for free. (Click to enlarge)help line to ask for a copy of the teaching. Leonardo was grateful that the tape was free because finances were tight. Actually, he refers to those days as the "poverty days."

Up until that point, Iselsa had been Leonardo's Bible study teacher as she had had some previous religious training, but with each message Leonardo heard he gained new revelation, and he began to share Andrew's teachings with her. As much as Iselsa was learning from Leonardo, she still struggled with accepting the teaching because it countered much of what she had been taught. She would listen and say to Leonardo, "Show me in the Bible where it says this." In frustration she would take things before God and ask, "Is this really true? Are you really Leonardo began to share Andrew's teaching with Iselsa. (Click to enlarge)showing these things to Leonardo?"

Iselsa remembers Leonardo saying, "It's so simple, God is a good God, and the devil is a bad devil. See life from there. Whatever is good is from God, and whatever is bad is from the devil." Once Iselsa settled in her heart that what Andrew was teaching was true, the couple began to see change in their lives—change that lined up with the Word of God.

Leonardo's well worn Bible.
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In those early days, the Jimenez struggled financially, to the point that their lack of money was in the way of their advancement. While Leonardo worked for the hospital, Iselsa worked as a dental assistant, but she wanted more. "The Lord says delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. I had a desire to do greater things. I didn't feel comfortable where we were. We had enough for us to live day-by-day, but we didn't have enough to give, we didn't have enough to enjoy—we didn't have enough."

After several years of struggling to advance in life, the couple put their faith in God's Word and watched as the Word began to produce fruit and Iselsa received her doctorate in America.
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Iselsa had been educated in the Dominican Republic and was certified as a dentist there; however, the United States would not recognize her credentials. The legal system prevented her advancement, but as she yielded to the need for further schooling in America, she couldn't get into any of the American dental schools. She scraped her savings together and spent the money on application fees and postage to apply to schools across the country only to be rejected by each one.

As she watched her dream to be a dentist slip away, Iselsa became depressed. Even the people at church, whom she felt should be encouraging her, were saying things that made her doubt herself; things to the effect of, "Maybe your The Jimenez opened their own dental practice in Katy, Texas called, Alpha Dental. (Click to enlarge)dreams are not from God." She grew frustrated as she watched new doctors coming out of American dental schools, as they were hired with little knowledge and even less experience, knowing she had both.

The Jimenez struggled to afford their one-bedroom apartment and to make repairs to their car when needed. "America is supposed to be the land of your dreams, and I wasn't living that dream," remembered Iselsa.

Leonardo serves as the office manager for their dental practice.
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"We had always been taught that God was the one in control, using sickness to teach you and poverty to keep you in line," said Leonardo. When they realized, through Andrew's teaching, their true identity as the head and not the tail, they began to see a change in their lives.

The Jimenez came against the previous rejection from the schools and Iselsa chose to reapply. The couple prayed over her applications and would bless her outgoing letters, speaking the promises of God over each one. Eventually, Iselsa was accepted at University of the Pacific Dugoni School of Dentistry. She started school last in her class and graduated as the class salutatorian. Better still, Dr. Iselsa Mota-Jimenez—look at that smile! (Click to enlarge)she is now a dentist—twice.

Leonardo and Iselsa operate their own dental practice. The office, managed by Leonardo, is in a beautiful 2,500 sq. ft. space, and they now live in a 3000 sq. ft. home in a nice neighborhood. "We have more than enough. I'm not lacking anything, and money is not a problem—sincerely," said Leonardo.

They credit their success to standing on the Word of God and Andrew's teachings that helped them see that God is When Leonardo first met Andrew at a GTS, he shook his hand and thanked him for his ministry. Andrew pulled him closer and told him that he had the same gift of teaching that Andrew does, and he gave him a word from the Lord. Since that time, doors have opened for Leonardo to minister the grace and love of God.
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good. "It was an eye-opener for us. Finding that God was not the problem for [Iselsa] to get into school or for me to be able to get ahead in life, but rather, we have an enemy. Basically, the devil was taking advantage of our ignorance of the Word of God. Once we started to get the knowledge, the word says, 'You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free,' and once we began to get the knowledge of the Word of God, we were able to possess the promises that God has already made," Leonardo shared.

"When Leonardo told me about Andrew Wommack, and he told me what he learned, I started founding my life and living my life through the Word of God, my life changed. It was not because I was in America. It was not because I was a dentist. When I made the decision to believe God and His Word, that's when I saw my life change," said Iselsa.

For more details about Leonardo and Iselsa's journey to victory, be sure to check out the video below.

 

Monday
Mar262012

CBC Colorado Students Minister in Belize

CBC team leader, Dr. Delron Shirley (left), stands with Craig Rumbley, Director of CBC-Belize, as they minister to a local man dressed in aboriginal tribal array. The man makes a living having his picture taken with tourists. (Click to enlarge)In February, Charis Bible College-Colorado sent its fifth team of second-year students on to the mission field. This team, led by CBC Instructors and missionaries, Dr. Delron and Peggy Shirley, went to Belize and were hosted by full-time missionaries, Craig and Tina Rumbley, the Co-Directors of CBC-Belize. During the week, the Rumbleys provided the students with many opportunities to experience hands-on ministry. Regardless of the type of outreach, the students had many unique chances to share God's unconditional love with the people of Belize.

The team spent one morning walking through the city distributing free sandwiches and ministering to the homeless in the alleyways and in the city park. While ministering in the park, the team encountered an elderly man named, Gilbert; he was sitting on a tree stump. He had spent much of his adult life in the United States, but had come back to his native Belize in his retirement years. Through a series of events Gilbert had wound up alone. When the students met him, they asked how he was doing. His response was, “Well, I’m not doing as well as you are.” Jeanne praying for and laying hands on the sick.
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During the conversation that followed, Gilbert mentioned that he was trying to stop smoking but just couldn’t kick the habit. One of the students, Jeanne DuBoise, asked if he was born again, and Gilbert responded that he was and told the team which church he attended. Knowing that it was a Bible-believing, evangelical church, they knew that Gilbert understood what they were sharing with him. Then Jeanne asked him if he had been baptized in the Holy Spirit, and he responded that he had not. She explained some of the Scriptures about the Holy Spirit baptism and then asked him to join her in singing a worship song. As Jeanne sang, she shifted into worshipping in the spirit—in unknown tongues. Immediately, Gilbert was also speaking in a heavenly language! When the team walked away to minister to others, they were confident that Gilbert was now free from the power that had held him and that he now had a new source of victory.CBC-Colorado student, Marcelo Duarte, speaking in front of a group at a prison in Belize. (Click to enlarge)

During a hospital visitation the team went to various wards and had many opportunities to minister to patients and their families. As they ministered, they shared the message of the completeness of Jesus' work; salvation, healing and the message of deliverance from fear that often attacks those suffering. As the team prayed, they saw new hope and peace manifest on all the people's faces. Some patients showed visible signs of healing in their bodies. "One gentleman, for example, was unconscious—almost comatose—as we began ministering to him and his family. However, as we moved to the next bed to minister to another patient, we heard some excitement around his bed and looked back to see the patient talking and CBC-Colorado's Belize 2012 mission team. (Click to enlarge)laughing with his family," said Delron.

CBC-Colorado student, Marcelo Duarte, had this to share as he reflected on his time in Belize, "God was faithful in confirming all that He had spoken in our lives (Marcelo and his wife Sandra). We were able to minister on different occasions and in different settings and were blessed to see the signs and miracles follow the Word proclaimed. Thank you Jesus."

Thursday
Mar222012

CBC Poland: Retirement Pleasantly Interrupted

Charis Bible College-Colorado graduates and Co-Directors of CBC-Poland, Ewa and Joseph Sederstrom. (Click to enlarge)After decades working in corporate America, husband and wife, Joseph and Ewa Sederstrom, did what most hope to do at the end of their careers—they retired. Both had worked at Hewlett Packard/Agilent Technologies in Colorado Springs, when they made the decision to trade in their corporate hats and lean into the next season. The Sederstroms were comfortable, and as they settled in to life in the slower lane, they were unaware of changes ahead of them.

Both Joseph and Ewa were born again and had been walking with the Lord for more than ten years when they retired. The couple loved God and faithfully attended church services and small groups, but there was unrest in their spirits. The unrest was magnified as they entered retirement. "We had been Andrew with Joseph.
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Christians for approximately 13 years, and we knew that there should be more to our lives. We were not seeing much difference between non-believers' lives and most believers around us," said Joseph.

The couple recognized that they weren't experiencing any excitement in their Christian walk. Looking back, Joseph said what they saw was, "Mostly legalism and just waiting to go home." But, in 2007, their ho-hum Christian walk was energized when Ewa found Andrew's Gospel Truth program on television. She was working out on her treadmill when she heard Andrew teaching about the authority of the believer and that was the jolt she needed. "We had found the 'extra' that we knew was available to every believer. God wanted more for us, and we wanted more of what God wanted for us," said Ewa.

In March of 2007, the Sederstroms were watching the Gospel Truth when God interrupted their retirement Andrew with Ewa
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through the voice of Andrew's TV announcer as he promoted Charis Bible College's Campus Days, an event during which prospective students visit CBC and attend actual classes to get a taste of what the school has to offer. On a whim, they decided to hop in the car and make the 20 minute drive into town to explore CBC. "We got there at about 10 a.m., in time for the third period class, and at Noon we were talking about attending CBC in the fall," said Joseph.

Their spirits had been persuaded to attend Charis, but later the same afternoon, the Sederstroms began to doubt the idea of actually going through with enrollment. Joseph remembers saying, "How stupid—us going to Bible college? What a dumb idea!" Still unsure, the couple went to the evening session. Again, they came away excited to go to CBC, and planned to attend the final Campus Days session the following morning. The next day however, Joseph's doubt had returned for the second time. Fortunately, Joseph and Ewa had agreed to meet friends at the morning session, so they In the Planning stages: The Sederstoms meeting with Andrew and AWM's World Outreach Director, Wendell Parr.
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pressed ahead with their plans. "Again, after the teaching, we were pumped! Then I remembered Andrew saying, 'The devil always overplays his hand.' And, I knew that our negativism and doubt was from the enemy," said Joseph.

The Sederstroms went on to graduate with the class of 2009. During their time at CBC, Joseph and Ewa received the Lord's direction to plant a CBC extension school in Poland. The two have special ties to the nation and received the call with gladness. Joseph's fondness for Poland was instilled in him by his Polish grandmother who immigrated to the USA before WWI, and his mother kept the traditions and connection to his Polish heritage alive in their home. Although Ewa has lived in the U.S. since 1975, her ties to Poland are deep; she was The Sederstroms have chosen to launch CBC-Poland in the central part of the country, in the city of Łódż.
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born and raised in Łódż, (pronounced: woodge) Poland. Through the years the Sederstroms have stayed connected with family and friends and visited Poland many times.

The couple attended CBC's optional third year as apprentices, spending their time developing plans for their ministry in Poland and preparing for the relocation. They moved to Łódż in September of 2010 to establish their new residence and organizational status. Their ministry, Sozo Life Ministries and the new school, CBC-Poland are now recognized under the law in Poland as a legitimate religious organizations, and the Sederstroms are free to minister legally.

Since their arrival, the Sederstroms have also been building relationships with pastors and churches throughout Poland. Joseph and Ewa have Ewa ministering to a group.
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introduced the Discipleship Evangelism materials in a small-group setting in their home and in a larger class setting at their church. Several pastors from other local churches are using the Polish-translated DE materials as well.

"This is a country that is traditionally Roman Catholic. Protestants are a small percentage of the population, probably less than 1%, but we are not here to convert people. We are here to open a Bible college and teach the Word of God to anyone with ears to hear. Period," said Joseph.

When asked to compare retired life before God's interruption to their current adventure, the Sederstroms The Sederstroms with local pastors and church leaders in Krakow, Poland.
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had this to say, "There is no comparison. Every day is exciting. We wake up anticipating what the Lord will show us and do that day. Every day begins with Kawa i Słowo (pronounced kah-vah ee swoh-vo, "coffee and the Word") for around two hours. Then, whatever we have to do. It is never boring and always amazing [to see] who the Lord has put in our place to continue what we need to do to get the school started in September 2012."