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Monday
Mar072011

CBC Colorado Sends Team to Costa Rica

Charis Bible College Colorado sent a student mission team to minister in Costa Rica. (Click to enlarge)Costa Rica was the destination of a recent mission trip for a team of students from Charis Bible College (CBC) in Colorado Springs. The group from Colorado was hosted by, and ministered alongside a team from Kingdom Transitions Ministries of San Jose, Costa Rica which was founded by CBC graduate, Jim McHood. CBC Instructors Dr. Delron and Peggy Shirley and Intern Eric Williams, led the Colorado team. The following is Delron’s summary of the team's ministry highlights while on the mission field.

The mission actually began before we arrived in Costa Rica as a couple of the students led their seatmate on the plane to salvation and the baptism in the Holy Spirit while still airborne. CBC students ministered to school children and their families.
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On Friday, we visited a school and had a special assembly where the CBC students presented the gospel through skits, music, and testimonies to the elementary school children and their parents. Each child also received a special gift of a Spanish New Testament and some school supplies. On Saturday, we were back at the school for a full day of activities, including a high-energy rally with games, puppets, dramas, music, testimonies, teaching, and prayer, followed by a fun-filled time at the newly constructed obstacle course on the school grounds. The evening concluded with a free Christian movie and a time of ministry to the community living near the school.

Many had fun on the obstacle course, which was partially funded by the mission team.
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Sunday was a full day of ministry, beginning with a service at a local church complete with Spanish music, testimonies, and a skit. Almost the entire congregation came forward for prayer, and many received significant instantaneous answers. One man walked away from the altar carrying the cane that he had been dependent upon when he hobbled forward for prayer. Another lady came forward with knees so stiff that she could barely bend them, but was able to walk briskly across the stage after a simple prayer of faith by one of the students.

After a tearful goodbye at the front door of the church, the students boarded the bus to head to a remote village for a tour of a parcel of land where Kingdom Transitions Ministries is building a campground. The visit was highlighted by a refreshing time playing in a river on a rope swing. But even while we were having fun in the water, some of the students were busy on the shore sharing the gospel with a couple of local residents.The mission team stopped to watch Delron's antics on a riverbank rope swing. (Click to enlarge)

Next, we visited a rehab for men who were recovering from alcohol and drug addiction. Dramas, testimonies, and preaching were followed by a time of prayer and personal ministry to the men. All the men received prayer and at least one of them was baptized in the Holy Spirit.

On Monday, the team visited a rehab center for women, most of whom had been rescued from prostitution and drug addiction. All the ladies were touched by the dramas and victorious testimonies, and were blessed through the prayers and love of our team. Staff and students praying for men in a rehab facility. (Click to enlarge)Several of them were slain in the Spirit as the students laid hands on them and commanded that they be released from the bondages which held them captive.

Tuesday was our last full day in Costa Rica, and for many it was the most memorable. We started our day by loading the bus early in the morning to head for the Pacific coast. Once we reached the beach, we found a place where we could present our dramas and music to the passersby. The action really began once the first person came forward for prayer. As we prayed for him, others started gathering around to see what was happening. Soon, every member of the team was actively ministering to the people. Drivers stopped their cars right in the street causing a mini traffic jam, and called our team over to pray for them in their cars. One man who came to the Lord returned asking us to come with him to talk to a local shop owner up the street. What began with one man coming forward for prayer, led to wave after wave of seekers coming to the CBC team as they ministered on the beach. The desire for prayer even backed up traffic in the city street.
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Since he couldn’t leave his store to come to us, we went and ministered to him. Wave after wave of seekers kept rushing to the CBC students to ask for prayer. We saw a number of alcoholics delivered and several instant healings. One man came limping up with a bandage wrapped around his ankle and leg; after prayer, he pulled off the bandage and walked away without any haltering in his step.

After the bus trip back to San Jose, we gathered for one “last hurrah” before our early-morning flight back to Colorado—a farewell banquet of typical Costa Rican fare accompanied with traditional Latin music and dancing. As the students shared their final goodbyes with the interpreters and other team members, the constant theme was how much they had all been impacted by the love of the Costa Rican people. When asked to share some of the most impactful moments during the trip, one student told the story of how his heart had melted when a little girl had reached up to grab hold of him during the children’s program, and one lady described the moment that she “melted like butter” as one of the women at the church hugged her after the service.

The Costa Rica mission was a powerful time of ministry to the locals, but just as impactful to the students who made up the team—the exact reasons we love to lead mission teams to foreign countries!

Thursday
Mar032011

No More Fear

April Parker and her three children, L-R: Logan, Rylee and Noah. (Click to enlarge)April Parker lives a full, blessed life with her husband of thirteen years, and three children ages 10, 8, and 5. The Parker family resides in Georgia, where April runs her own business called Creative Artists. Looking at April now, it’s difficult to believe that she was once crippled by the spirit of fear.

When April looks back over her life, she thinks her struggle with fear was always present, but she recognizes that after she had her first child the fear rose to new levels. “I believe a mother’s protective nature is from the Lord, but can be perverted when laid on a foundation of fear,” April explained.

At first, April recalls just having subtle fears of her son becoming sick, The Parker family. (Click to enlarge)but as time went on the thoughts became consuming images, that wouldn’t stop replaying in her head. April feared for her life as well. She loved the Lord, but thought maybe it was God’s will for her to die early and not be there to raise her children. Each time April got in the car, she would plead with God to protect her vehicle, but anxiety prevailed despite her prayers.

By the time April gave birth to her second child, she felt that she no longer had any control over her thoughts; they tormented her (1 John 4:18). She would have a thought and then the thought would become an image in her mind. She prayed that God would free her from the ever-escalating fear, but things only grew worse. April was afraid to tell her husband, Travis, just how out of control her struggle with fear had become. April and her husband Travis.
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“If I had gone to a doctor and told them what was going on in my head, there is no telling what I would have been diagnosed with. Not to mention the medication I would have been put on,” April said.

One of April's biggest “light bulb” moments came during a phone call from her mom. She said, “April, fear is sin, and more importantly, it’s not from God.” Then her mother began to quote scriptures such as, 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love and of a sound mind,” and Romans 8:15, “For you did not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba Father.’”

April and her mom, Paula.
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What April’s mother shared with her during their conversation that day, was the beginning of revelation and freedom from the bondage in her life. “In Hosea 4:6, God tells us that His people are destroyed for lack of knowledge, and that is where I’ve lived most of my life. But not anymore,” April declared.

This truth changed everything for April. She began to study what the Word had to say about the spirit of fear, how to overcome it, and why the Word tells us to “take every thought captive and to cast down imaginations” (2 Corinthians 10:5). April began to see that thoughts can come from one of three places: God and His Word, one's mind, or the enemy. As she continued to study, she started to understand that her battle was in the spiritual realm, and that her mind and emotions had been heavily affecting her escalating fear.

As April was gaining revelation of her unnecessary bondage to fear, she and her mother were introduced to Andrew’s ministry. The very first topic April heard Andrew teach was, We’re in a Spiritual War. A mom free from fear. (Click to enlarge)She listened to the teaching over and over, and each time, gained new revelation. One particular analogy Andrew used really spoke to April. “He gave a great analogy of a bird. He said you can’t stop a bird from flying over your head, but you can control whether or not it builds a nest there. In my own life, I had made a habit of entertaining thoughts of fear, allowing them to build a nest, so they played out in my life,” April explained.

Andrew encourages a literal application of James 4:7, “Submit yourself therefore to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.” So April would repeat that verse hundreds of times a day saying, “I submit myself to God, I resist you fear and you will flee from me.” It took April only a few days before April's freedom from fear allowed her to have ears to hear the Holy Spirit. (Click to enlarge)she had pushed out the consuming thoughts of fear and replaced them with the truth of God’s Word. April said, “Now that I knew God didn’t want me to fear, and he wanted me to have faith in Him, I wasn’t going to have a drop of fear. Sounds crazy to go from one extreme to another, but trust me, extreme faith beats extreme fear any day.”

April’s next victory came through Andrew’s teaching on, “God Wants You Well.” She needed the revelation that God did not want her or her family sick. She had been under the misconception that everything that happened was God’s will. April thought God might want to teach her something by allowing her children to become ill. “I now know without a doubt that God forgave our iniquities and healed all our diseases. I now understand that His desire for me is to live and not die, and to declare the works of the Lord.”

April being sworn in to her elected position on the school board. (Click to enlarge)April now shares her testimony with anyone who will listen and has given away hundreds of Andrew's teachings. She tells people that if there is something going on in their life that doesn’t line up with the Word, they don’t have to yield to it. She encourages them to speak resistance to their stronghold and command it to leave.

In the fall of 2010 April fearlessly ran for an elected office based on a vision the Lord had given her. In November 2010, April became the first woman to hold a county-wide seat on the local School Board. “And it took a whole bunch of faith, not fear, to get there,” April said.

Monday
Feb282011

Making Disciples in Kenya

Pat and Mike Heiser, founders of NEEMA Bible College and Heart of God Fellowship Ministry-Kenya stand with NBC graduate and Kitale director, Victor. (Click to enlarge)Mike and Pat Heiser, the founders of NEEMA Bible College (NBC), Heart of God Fellowship Ministries and several other organizations in Kenya, are witnessing the results of God's faithfulness to the biblical principle of multiplication when it comes to making disciples. Since 2007, NEEMA, which means "grace" in Swahili, has graduated more than one hundred students from their eighteen-month program. As these graduates have taken what they have learned and shared God’s love and grace with their churches and communities, they have found that the people they come in contact with want to hear more. This has provided the Heisers opportunities to establish new classes in the villages surrounding their headquarters in Meru.

Pat teaching at their school in Makunga, Kenya near the border of Uganda.
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While NBC is based in Meru, and the school facilitates five classes in the surrounding area, Mike and Pat have also opened an office in Kitale, Kenya, which is 300 miles west of Meru. The Heisers have established classes in seven different villages in the Kitale area. Current enrollment between the various locations surrounding Meru and Kitale is close to 250 students. Mike and Pat oversee the Kitale office, and travel to teach at the seven locations one week per month, but the bulk of the classes in Kitale and Meru, are being directed by graduates from NBC. As the Word of God spreads through the area, the Heisers have plans to open more schools.

Graduation day in Kitale, July 2010 (Click to enlarge)To graduate, students must complete the year-and-a-half-long program, which covers thirty courses including surveys through all sixty-six books of the Bible, a Biblical Management Principles course, and a class called, Marriage and the Christian Home. These courses, many of which stem from Charis Bible College curriculum, provide the solid Biblical foundation necessary for effective ministry multiplication.

The Heisers estimate that as many as sixty percent of their students, the average age of which is thirty-two, Homegrown disciples—Over the past few years the Heisers have opened their home to Kenya's homeless children, and have raised them as their own. In July four of their 28 children graduated from NBC. (Click to enlarge) are already involved in full-time ministry; many serving as pastors of local churches. The changes in their students' lives also impact the churches the students lead. Student testimonies come in weekly, about how knowing the true nature of God is transforming lives, and as these testimonies continue to come in, so to do the invitations for the Heisers to open more schools.

"We have over 40 different denominations represented in our now 243 students; they include Catholics, Anglicans, Baptists, Methodists, Friends, Seventh Day Adventists, Pentecostals, and everything in between. We go into these students' churches to observe what they are doing, and we continue to build relationships with them and encourage them. Mike, Pat and other NBC staff performing an ordination service for one of their graduates. (Click to enlarge)We know that making disciples is what Jesus has called us to do, so we pursue that with our whole heart," said Mike.

The Lord has given the Heisers a vision of what is to come, and they admit that they will have to rely entirely on the Lord to see it come to pass. "We continue to have so many doors open to us to bring this message that Pat and I are really unable to meet the need ourselves, but we see God raising up new leaders through NEEMA," Mike said. The vision for the Heisers includes the expansion of NBC into six larger cities within Kenya, and then future growth into the Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel. Movement toward that end is already evident as NBC graduates and staff members, Hamsen and Nancy, prepare to launch a school in Lokichogio, Kenya, a city on the border of Sudan.

To find out more about Mike and Pat Heiser and their ministry visit the Kids in Kenya website.