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Don’t Be Anxious

Charis missions team on a plane to Russia
(Click to enlarge)
“O God, what did I just do?” Charis Bible College student Georgiann Melton exclaimed to herself after signing up for her second-year missions trip. “I can’t go to Russia!”

As the weeks passed and everyone around her began gearing up for ministry and making plans to be out of the country, Georgiann couldn’t shake the feelings of anxiety that promised to swallow her every time she thought about Russia. “I can’t do it, Lord…I really can’t do it. Maybe I could switch teams and go somewhere else.” But all of the other teams were full. “Maybe I can go during next year’s trips.” But tickets had already been purchased. “Maybe I should just drop out.”

Unable to pinpoint the reason for her feelings of desperation, Georgiann knew to Whom she could run. “O God, help me!” Slowly, the Lord began to unearth memories from Georgiann’s Colorado team and the St. Petersburg team with Mike and Carrie (Click to enlarge)childhood: “I remember being threatened to control my behavior when I was sixteen. I was told that I could be disowned and taken to a home for girls. In my mind, that meant no one would ever come for me—no one would ever find me. I would live and die completely alone.”

During Georgiann’s teen years, another undercurrent of fear was being played out on a global scale. The Cold War between the United States and the then Soviet Union was rushing toward its climax. “When I was growing up, Russia was not a place Americans went. It was entirely possible that Americans would go, disappear, and never come back.” For a sixteen-year-old who was being dominated by fear, both in and out of her house, the two scenarios quickly intertwined in her mind: “It hit me that I was worried about this trip because somehow… I had linked what my family member said about Russia.”

Georgiann ministering (Click to enlarge)Although she now knew the Enemy she was facing, Georgiann struggled to stand against him alone. She requested a meeting with Michelle Patterson, Charis’s missions coordinator. “Michelle listened as I cried and shared and cried some more. She was very understanding and took the time to reassure and pray with me. I finally began to feel a measure of peace, but the next day, I knew I still had to win this battle.”

Standing on scriptures like 1 Peter 5:7 and Deuteronomy 31:8 that promised God would always be with her and help her, Georgiann felt the Lord say, “Do not think about it anymore. When the time comes, just get up and do it.”

Georgiann and Charis team during prayer ministry
(Click to enlarge)
And as Georgiann began to purposefully “take captive every thought” (2 Cor. 10:5), she noticed that the grace of God was with her to accomplish what He’d called her to do: “When it was time to come home, I found myself crying over leaving my new brothers and sisters in Christ—my new Russian friends. I realized that God would always be faithful to me and His Word. He promised to never leave me nor forsake me—and He didn’t!”

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. [7] And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7 (New International Version)


Signs Following in Mexico

Charis missions team to Mexico (Click to enlarge)The mission of Charis Bible College is to—

“equip faithful men and women for the work of the ministry by teaching spiritual truths, imparting biblical knowledge, providing practical ministry opportunities, and grounding students in the message of God’s unconditional love and grace.”

To that aim, every year Charis sends its second-year students on missions trips throughout the world to give them hands-on ministry experience in a variety of settings. Recently a team of students, led by Joyce Ball, returned from Mexico with an amazing testimony!

During a prayer meeting two days before the students were to fly out, a prophecy was given to the team: “You are being sent as an encouragement—especially to ‘Margarita’… You will reap a harvest that someone else has sown.”

When Joyce’s team landed in Mexico, they partnered with a group of Charis Mexico students to discuss their upcoming outreach in a nearby mountain village. Pastor Martin, a local Charis student, had been spending a lot of time shepherding a church there but was discouraged by their lack of fruit. Apparently, his mother—Margarita—had spent the last years of her life sowing into that body of believers with nothing to show for it. After encouraging one another in the Word, the team members went to bed eager for their coming day of ministry.

Adam and Margaret prayed for a sick lady named Juanita (Click to enlarge)In the village the next morning, the Charis teams delivered personal invitations for the upcoming ministry events and prayed for every person who would grant them permission. Mick, a team member from Colorado, remembers, “We prayed for many people, but one old woman named Juanita changed the atmosphere of our trip. Adam and Margaret laid hands on her and prayed in faith. They didn’t notice any changes, but left her home believing she was healed.”

The next day dawned bright and sunny. The missions team left early to set up for their evangelistic event in the village. Their plans included activities for the children, skits, and a short salvation message that emphasized Jesus’ work to set us free from the power of sin and give us brand-new hearts. Nearly 300 people attended! It was the largest event the village had ever experienced. “After the message, we gave a salvation invitation, to which 150 people responded!” Mick recalls.

Juanita gave her healing testimony (Click to enlarge)Eager to use what they had been receiving in class, the Charis students opened the altars for healing ministry. Very few people responded, until one little old lady came out of the crowd to share her testimony of healing—a lady named Juanita. The floodgates opened and hundreds were ministered to in prayer! “It was a powerful time,” a team member recalls.

Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

Mark 16:20
(New International Version)


What God Made Clean

Sydney Stamy - Charis Bible College student (Click to enlarge)Recently a team of Charis Bible College students partnered with the European Initiative to bring the light of the Gospel into the darkest reaches of Eastern Europe.

There, they ministered throughout major cities, small villages, in a children’s hospital, and at three Budapest public schools. Two hundred and forty-five people made decisions for Christ during their two week stay! But it seems that the students were most affected.

“The verse in Acts kept rattling through my memory as our bus bounced and tumbled down the dirt roads on our journey to the Roma villages: ‘Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean’ (Acts 10:15, New Living Translation). We had met the children from this particular village the evening before, and their bright eyes and radiant smiles flashed across my mind as I prepared my heart to experience the reality of their lives. Once I stepped off the bus, the children embraced me and clung to my arms and waist.”

Some of the kids (Click to enlarge)Bible college student and missions team member Sydney Stamy couldn’t fathom why these children would display such love to a complete stranger—especially to one who could not speak their language. “God reminded me that it was not about me; they were drawn to the Jesus inside me.”

The light of true Love drew people like magnets everywhere the missions team went. In the subways, crowds of twenty-five to fifty would gather as students portrayed that love through skits and music. In the schools, hundreds of eyes looked to their small group leaders to confirm the love and acceptance portrayed through those same skits.

“Words cannot capture the extravagance of God’s love that I felt on that [trip]. His love is deep and wide. God highly esteems His children and has constant thoughts about them. His love stretches beyond borders, across oceans, across the universe to reach them. He is near His children and pursues their hearts passionately. During my time in [Europe], I experienced a mere glimpse of God’s compassion for His people and recognized that, more than ever, there is a battle waging for the hearts of [people],” Sydney recalls.

A Charis student showing the love of Jesus (Click to enlarge)As believers, we must continue to search out the lost and fight for the wounded souls of God’s children so they can gaze in wonder with childlike faith at His goodness—so they, too, have the opportunity to cling to Love the way the children clung to Sydney Stamy.

Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. [14] But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. [15] Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” [16] And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.

Mark 10:13-16 (New King James Version)