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Monday
Aug252014

Trading Shame for Redemption

Ottilia with CBC Zimbabwe (Click to enlarge)“I was in darkness for thirty-six years. I knew all about God, yet I was lost.” Life circumstances had taken a toll on Ottilia Nyagura, and although she sought refuge in the comfort of her church, the religious nature of her denomination actually compounded her suffering.

Ottilia is a single mother of three children, and her cultural surroundings, in Zimbabwe as well as within the walls of her church, never let her forget it. She lived under the burdensome weight of shame, condemnation, and rejection by society—until she heard one of Andrew's teachings. “Listening to ‘No More Sin-Consciousness’ completely changed the way I perceived my relationship with God,” remarks Ottilia. “I know that Jesus Christ has already paid for my sins—past, present, and future—and that my righteousness is in Him. It’s a done deal. I don’t have to fall apart like a two-dollar suitcase.”

After having tasted the sweetness of theA time of fellowship (Click to enlarge) Word of God, Ottilia moved to Walsall in West Midlands, England, to attend Charis Bible College. “I heard a voice say, ‘Come and learn My Word. I have called you to be My servant.’ How could I do the Lord’s work when I did not know Him?” she says. Fulfilling the responsibility of being a parent, Ottilia attended her studies during the day, while working part time at night, sending money back to Zimbabwe for her mother and three children. It’s said that a mother’s work is never truly done. Ottilia knew just how true that was, even thousands of miles removed from her children.

However, Ottilia stayed the course to finish what God had told her to do. She went on to graduate from Charis West Midlands, complete her third-year apprenticeship, and was ordained into the ministry in October 2009. “Feeling as though the brook had dried up in England, I traveled to South Africa in January of 2010. I was inspired by the opening of a Charis there and had this zeal to start one in Zimbabwe. I was then connected with Keith Chigondo, a graduate from Charis St. Petersburg, Russia, who was already located in Zimbabwe. We discussed the visions we both had to start a school in our mother country. A few months later, we received the tremendous blessing of materials from Charis West Midlands and were able to watch our visions come true, as the planting of Charis Zimbabwe commenced.”

Ottilia being ordained into the ministry
(Click to enlarge)
Life on the mission field isn’t always easy, but the goodness of God proved to be Ottilia’s strength when she didn’t have any strength of her own. “It was tough for me, leaving my children and mother for the sake of the Word, but the words spoken by Paul Flanagan at my ordination kept me going: ‘It is a great honor to be able to send a mighty woman of God to the frontlines, fully equipped, fully trained, and fully armed. She is a devastating weapon to the Enemy. Faithful. Faithful. Faithful.’ I knew that God had called me for this message to reach out in His goodness.”

Today Ottilia serves as the assistant director for Charis Zimbabwe, alongside Keith Chigondo, and is fulfilling the call of God on her life to be a missionary in her own country. You, too, can experience the surety of living in God’s perfect will for your life. Visit Charis Bible College online to find a school nearest you. God only knows the adventures awaiting those who take the first step.

Thursday
Aug212014

Meet Jessica: AWM's New Blog Writer

Jessica capturing the moments in the villages of central Russia (Click to enlarge)Brewing coffee, bright lanyards, and the sound of Bible pages turning—the new Charis Bible College (CBC) school year had officially begun. I was a third-year intern filled with optimism, opinions, and perhaps a little too much caffeine. As I prepared for classes, I did what any well-meaning intern would do when they’re a little unsure of the next step—I enrolled in the School of Ministry. Who could go wrong with that, right?

As the days turned into weeks, my uneasy conscience slowly started to distract my mind from the classes I was in. There was a restlessness in my heart that I felt like no one around me fully understood. The classes were thought provoking, and the instructors were intelligent and insightful; however, there was a still, small voice on the inside of me, saying, “I wonder what they’re doing in Media School right now.” Thankfully, it didn’t take long for me to realize this was indeed the Holy Spirit guiding me, through the desires of my heart, down the path He had in place for me. I’m so grateful God continually pursues each one of us, even when we overthink the simplest things.

After setting up a meeting with the instructorsGathering footage in Cologne for the 2013 Germany Missions video (Click to enlarge) of the School of Media, Jeff and Autumn Nakkula, I began to share with them my heart and the experiences I had already had in the field. By the end of our conversation, they seemed bewildered and amazed that I wasn’t already in the Media program.

I repented.

On my first day of Media classes, I walked in with my MacBook in hand and my heart full of anticipation. I could hardly sit still. The first item on the agenda was logo design, and my mind took off at full speed from there. Suddenly, I became excited for each new day and for a chance to learn something that would help me become better at what I love to do. Although I don’t ever remember hearing a distinct voice saying, “Go to Media School,” I never thought of doing anything else once I Tracking the story in the outskirts of Boulder, Colorado (Click to enlarge)started. The Holy Spirit lives on the inside of me, and I don’t have to go looking for answers outside of my relationship with Him. As we grow closer, His thoughts become my thoughts, His desires become my desires, and His plan becomes my plan.

Since graduation, I’ve had the incredible honor of traveling around the United States and the world, shooting and producing videos. Recently, I returned from a six-month-long stay in Saint Petersburg, Russia. I assisted CBC directors Mike and Carrie Pickett there in multiplePrepping for interviews in Ijevsk, Russia for the 2014 Russia Mission Trip video
(Click to enlarge)
 media projects, capturing the most amazing stories in the largest country on earth. Today I spend my days as a writer for Andrew Wommack Ministries, developing my skills even further, and looking forward to all of the beautiful things God has in store.

Now, I know I don’t have it all figured out quite yet. But I know what my passion is, and I know who is leading me. It’s because of this that I know I will accomplish with excellence what I need to do, no matter what the situation. This isn’t because I know it all. I don’t have to. I’ve got connections.

Monday
Aug182014

Times of Refreshing for Karamoja

Village life in the Karamoja region of Uganda. (Click to enlarge)“No water” is heard far too often across the land of Karamoja. A spine of extinct volcanoes makes up this subregion of Uganda—an area lacking basic necessities that most people will never have to go without. Any existing water is often undrinkable and accounts for half of all deaths. Years of war and rebellion have divided the people into two groups: those who have chosen to settle in the growing towns, and the more traditional tribesmen, who seek to maintain a lifestyle where cattle are the main currency.

A day in the life of a Karamojong woman is more difficult than most can even imagine. She’s up at sunrise, kisses her sleeping children, and starts out to begin the tedious job of collecting as many sticks as she can carry. As the heat soaks into her skin, she wipes the sweat from her brow, bundles the sticks together, and carries them on her head to the nearest market. A decision must now be made. Karamojong women, hauling bundles of sticks to market. (Click to enlarge)Does she use the sticks as firewood to boil and sanitize water for her family, or does she sell the sticks to buy food instead? Visions of her children start to appear in her tired mind, and she does what she knows will keep her family alive one more day.

Two years ago, Andrew traveled to a church in the city of Moroto, Uganda, where he was touched by the shocking reality of the Karamojong people, by far the poorest of the poor. He determined then that he wanted to do something to help change things for the people in these areas. Before Jesus left earth, He commanded His followers to go and make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19-20 [New King James Version], see also Mark 16:15-20). Andrew has taken this command to heart in that he desires to reach as far and as deep as possible with the Gospel. No geographical area or people group is excluded from Jesus’ command.

Today hundreds of people are being discipled in Karamoja through the Discipleship Evangelism course—primarily in larger towns but it’s steadily moving out to reach the more traditional tribes. Mark Rowe, the director of international operations for Andrew Wommack Ministries (AWM), has been boots-on-the-ground and was charged with the task of evaluating the effectiveness of the discipleship training (L-R) Mark Rowe, the International Director of AWM, and his traveling companion, CBC Business School graduate, Travis VanMater, visit with Pastor Francis Tumusiime in Uganda. (Click to enlarge)programs. He also researched ways the AWM team could dig even deeper to help turn things around in one of the world’s most impoverished regions. Arid, inhospitable, hard to reach, and void of sufficient water are just a few words that describe the harsh realities facing the Karamojong people every day.

The people of Karamoja are soon to experience times of refreshing, there can be no doubt about that. That includes more than just water. Mark and his team are ambassadors for God so the Karamojong might drink of the living water—Jesus—so they’ll never thirst again. This is only the beginning; the best is yet to come.