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Jumping From the Fire Into Ministry

Jim and Jessie Huthmaker. Jim is a Charis Bible College graduate, and the two have founded Freedom Christian Center in Columbia, South Carolina.
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Meet Jim. Jim was born again at an early age, and from the time he was a young boy, growing up in South Carolina, he knew that the Lord had called him to be a pastor. Almost from the moment he was aware of the calling, Jim pursued other avenues of fulfillment and security. In his twenties, Jim had chosen the security of being paid to skydive into burning wildfires over the thought of becoming a preacher.

Meet Jessie. Jessie was a highly successful personal trainer and co-owner of a booming fitness facility in South Carolina. In her mid-twenties she found that success had come at a price; she was stressed out, dissatisfied and lonely. In her 20's Jessie was part owner of a successful fitness facitlity, but her life was stressful. Turning her focus to Jesus radically changed her life. She still has a passion for fitness today and has operated a new gyms in Colorado and Columbia. This is Kettleball Konnection in Colorado.
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Jessie turned back to the Savior of her youth in search of fulfillment, and she began to rekindle her intimacy with Jesus.

Back to Jim... After attending college on the South Carolina coast, where he studied forestry, Jim was offered a position with the United States Forest Service, and eventually became a Smokejumper—a highly esteemed position in his profession. Jim spent more than a decade based in Oregon, avoiding God’s voice and his calling to ministry.

It was while fighting a wildfire in Alaska in early 2005 that Jim experienced a life changing moment. He was cutting a fire line at four in the morning when he heard the Lord speak very clearly. Jim had just had the satisfying thought, "This is the life," After earning a degree in Forestry, Jim spent 14 years employed by the U.S. Forest Service as part of an elite group of Smokejumpers. (Click to enlarge)cross his mind, when before he could relish the moment, he heard the Lord counter with, "I still have a bigger calling on your life, and you are still doing this." Jim was stunned.

Although Jim continued living the life of a Smokejumper, the Lord's words stayed with him, and he wrestled with the thought of giving up his "cool" lifestyle. In late 2005, Jim broke his foot during a jump. His injury sidelined him from active duty, and he returned to South Carolina to work in a Forest Service office in Charleston. He calls this time in his life, "the season of great debates." His injury kept him out of the following fire season as well, which gave him ample time with the Lord. Jim's debates with God left him with a growing desire to attend Jim and Jessie stunned their friends and coworkers by dropping everything to go to Bible school. (Click to enlarge) Bible college.

While Jim was reevaluating his life, Jessie was in Columbia being radically changed by the Word. She had joined a Bible study group where she met a woman named, Ruby. Ruby spent a handful of years discipling Jessie. As she mentored Jessie, the two would often pray for Ruby's son, a wild young man named Jim, who jumped out of airplanes to fight fires for the Forest Service...

Through a long series of God-ordained events, Jim and Jessie's paths eventually crossed in 2006, and the two Jim and his mother Ruby at Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.
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connected instantly. Over the course of the next year, the Lord brought Jim and Jessie together and completely changed their lives. As they grew together they also realized their mutual call to ministry and shared desire to go to bible school. In a whirlwind, Jim resigned from the Forest Service, Jessie sold her share of the fitness center and her home, the two were married and they decided to make plans to attend bible school.

In 2008, Jim and Jessie found Andrew on television. The two began to watch the Gospel Truth program everyday at lunchtime; Jessie, Jim and their miracle babies, Aspen Joy and Elijah. Before meeting Jim, doctors told Jessie she would never have children because of sickness in her body. After deciding to have children, Jim and Jessie stood on the Word and Jessie was healed.
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both were captivated by how clearly and understandably Andrew shared the message of Grace. After watching for several weeks they became aware of Andrew's Charis Bible College and the ministry's Summer Family Bible Conference. Excited by the opportunity, the two jumped at the chance to attend the conference in Colorado Springs. While visiting the campus they received solid confirmation from God that they were to attend CBC. Within a matter of months, Jim and Jessie had walked away from everything they had known and moved to Colorado.

"We just dropped it all—joyfully and with great anticipation for Jesus! Everyone around us was basically stunned. They knew we were excited about Jesus, but I don’t think anyone thought we would be crazy enough to drop such successful lives and move across the country After returning to South Carolina, this garage became the home of Jessie's Kettleball Konnection and the temporary home of the Huthmaker's church, Freedom Christian Center.
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to go to Bible College," Jessie said excitedly.

Jim said, "People could not understand why, after 14 years, after all the hard work and training, I would just up and leave a fruitful career in the prime of my life. To the natural mind it made no sense, but stepping out in faith and believing God, above our selves, makes a lot of sense—spiritually."

Through CBC, the Huthmaker's understanding of the Word soared to new levels. The couple gained a deeper understanding of the believer's authority and the power of receiving what we have already been given in Christ. Through their new revelation, they were healed and blessed in many ways.

Freedom Christian Center's sign... a gift to the church worth more than $5000 with installation. (Click to enlarge)Jim was ever-conscious of his call to pastoral ministry, but he never spoke of it—not even to Jessie. But throughout Jim's second year at CBC, particularly during his mission trip to Nicaragua, people began to prophecy his pastoral calling over Jim, and some, without knowing who he was, would address him as "Pastor." As their time at CBC drew to a close, Jim and Jessie sought the Lord for their next step. The two felt a strong conviction to move back to South Carolina, back to the “Bible belt” to combat religion with the message of Grace. They knew they were to go back and pioneer a church plant.

Jim jumped into the fire of his calling on Easter Sunday of 2010. The Huthmaker's first service was held in Jessie's new fitness facility, a service station garage, and a dozen people showed up. "Our praise and worship was a boom box, the gym was literally a non-air conditioned garage, Freedom Christian Center's new sanctuary—with room for live praise & worship... (Click to enlarge)and we set up chairs amongst the weights. It was awesome," recalled Jim enthusiastically.

The Spirit of God has been on their endeavor from the beginning. They stayed in the garage for several months until they were able to rent an American Legion hall, and after one year of setting up and breaking down each week, the Lord blessed Freedom Christian Center with a building of its own. Today the Huthmaker's church is advancing the kingdom in grace, and Jim is working with the fire of the Holy Spirit instead of trying to fight against it. This is the Life...

Visit the Huthmaker's website for more information about Freedom Christian Center.


CBC Students Minister in Ecuador

Second-year students from Charis Bible College in Colorado recently served on the mission field in Machala, Ecuador. (Click to enlarge)Early in March, ten second-year students from Charis Bible College in Colorado were given a taste of life on the mission field in Ecuador. The team, led by CBC's Online Education Director, Greg Macy and his wife, Citlalli, were hosted by Charis alumni and full-time missionaries, CBC grad and missionary, Mickey Cartagena addresses men in a local drug rehab in Machala.
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Mickey and Suzan Cartagena in Machala and Huaquillas.

While looking at the cultural and regional diversity of the team, one student was prompted to ask God, "Why did you put this team together? How is this going to work, Lord?" The student's questions came while preparing for the trip as a team and evaluating the diverse make-up of the group. The student was concerned about the team being able to come together in unity to serve the Lord. "We were like an orchestra warming up, we sounded out of tune," the student said.

Jeremie Hill, with the assistance of the CBC team Co-leader and translator, Citlalli Macy, shared his testimony in the drug rehab. (Click to enlarge)An amazing thing happened by the time the team arrived in Ecuador, our Lord, The Conductor, began to lead His orchestra. The student remarked, "All the pieces fit together and sounded so beautiful. Everything we had prepared separately was exactly what was needed at the right time."

Not only did the Lord bring this team together, but He used them in mighty ways, so much so that the Cartagenas opened their recent ministry newsletter with the headline: "CBC Colorado brings 'Love in Any Language' to Machala & Huaquillas, Ecuador."

Jeremie (bottom right) extends his hand in blessing and prayer.
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Mickey said, "As the team ministered in the home groups, in the church services, and in a rehabilitation center, they all ministered with the power of God’s love. How awesome it was to see the countenance on the people’s faces change as they encountered God’s unconditional love."

CBC student, Jeremie Hill, won't soon forget his time in Ecuador. He was given the opportunity to share his real-life prodigal son story at a drug rehab facility for men. Jeremie gave his victorious testimony, an account of coming out of the drug and alcohol scene after spending nearly a decade running from God. After Jeremie and a Jeremie, John (center, hand on man's back) and the team during a powerful time of prayer with the men who responded to the altar call.
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classmate, John Leong, shared their stories of hope with the residents, they gave an altar call to accept the love and forgiveness that Jesus had for each them—the same love that had saved them. About a dozen men came forward to receive Jesus. Jeremie said, "I was ecstatic! Then, we gave an opportunity for them to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit...even more men came forward at that point!" Nearly 30 men went forward in all.

"We saw healings, salvations, and the Holy Spirit move everywhere we were allowed to teach—even in the park and especial at the drug rehab center. It blessed me to be a part of this Ecuador team," said CBC student, Jane Montague.

Jane (pink) and the CBC team performed a puppet show for kid's in a children's home. (Click to enlarge)Jane also shared that the one thing that touched her heart the most was when the team visited the children's home. The home named, La Casita de Mi Sueños (Little House of My Dreams) is a place for children from broken homes, homes where the parents are drug addicts and where the children had been severely abused. In the home Jane used a puppet show to teach a lesson about the Lost Sheep and how Jesus is like the shepherd. She made sure to point out how precious each person is to Jesus, including each one in the children's home. After the puppet show, 10 children came forward for salvation. Jane said, "I started crying to see God's plan come to life through that simple story. God sent me to Ecuador for that reason, and it was beautiful."

Mission: Bring the unconditional love of God to the people of Ecuador. Mission accomplished.


Pouring The Barn Floor

Construction crews at The Sanctuary continue to make noticeable progress between Andrew's video updates. This month's video, filmed in Woodland Park on March 7th, brings viewers a fresh look at the rapidly advancing project. As you watch Andrew in this installment, you will also see a flurry of activity in the background as workers prepare and pour the floor for the main level of the 90,000 square foot Barn.

For a recap of the project's advancement, be sure to check out Andrew's previous updates, which have included the arrival of the earth movers, the leveling of the land, the foundation excavation, the preparation for the basement walls, piping in the water, the completion of the basement support structure and the enclosure of the south-facing wall. Each of these videos documents the progress as Charis Bible College's new campus continues to take shape.

Workers prepare to lay the rebar floor support for the Barn floor. (Click to enlarge) Workers methodically lay the rebar across the entire span of the floor. (Click to enlarge)

Cement trucks provide a steady stream of cement for the pouring of the floor. (Click to enlarge) Many hands on deck working feverishly to spread the cement. (Click to enlarge)

One man guides the flow of cement as many others spread it evenly. (Click to enlarge) The floor is poured and leveled using a variety of tools. (Click to enlarge)

The pour continues as this worker guides the cement onto the rebar reinforced floor. (Click to enlarge) These machines are used to level and finish the floor's surface. (Click to enlarge)

This update was filmed on March 7th, to view the most recent video update visit the Sanctuary Construction Update page on the ministry's main website.