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Thursday
Apr152010

Are You Waiting on God?

Yvonne and Grady O'Brien, Directors of Charis Bible College Belfast, Ireland.
(Click to enlarge)
What do you get when you cross a restaurateur from South Bend, Indiana with a professional stylist from Dublin, Ireland? A grand opportunity to watch God's plan unfold...

Grady O'Brien, born in South Bend, was operating a restaurant in Dallas, Texas when he met Yvonne, who was working as an Art Director for Toni & Guy Salons in the same city. The two were married and began their family in the early nineties.

In November of 2000, friends of the O'Briens invited them to a church in Oak Cliff, a community in Dallas, to hear Andrew teach. After Andrew shared his message, the O'Briens had the opportunity to speak with him. During their conversation, Yvonne's Irish roots were mentioned and Andrew recalled seeing amazing signs and wonders during a visit to Dublin. The O'Briens went on to share that they had a desire to minister to the people of Ireland. Andrew's response to their statement radically changed the O'Brien's lives. Andrew looked at them and asked, "Are you waiting on God?" Grady replied, "Yes." Andrew said, "Maybe God is waiting on you." Grady described the moment as if an arrow had pierced his heart, and in that moment he knew that through Andrew's words, God was confirming to him a call to
the ministry.

CBC Belfast, one of Grady's classes (Click to enlarge) Over the course of the following year the family left Dallas, and by faith relocated to Colorado Springs, where the pair enrolled in Charis Bible College (CBC). Grady attended on a full-time basis, while Yvonne home-schooled their three children, and completed the CBC first year Correspondence curriculum.

After Grady completed the two year program the couple met with Andrew to discuss their next step. With the goal of ministering to the people of Ireland still in mind, Andrew suggested that they move to England where Grady could further prepare for his role as a minister by completing a third year apprenticeship through CBC in Coventry, England. Yvonne graduated from CBC and Grady completed his apprentice program in 2004. They were ready to impact
the world!

Part of the experience at any CBC is the required foreign missions trip. Here, Yvonne and several students pray for a woman in a market in Malinalco, Mexico.Intending to open a CBC extension school, the O'Briens, and their four children moved to Galway, located on the western coast of Ireland. They made the most of every ministry opportunity; however, after a year's time they had not seen the response they were looking for as they sought to position the school. Another move was eminent.

In the Spring of 2005 Andrew visited Ireland and held meetings in both Dublin and Belfast. After attending both, it was clear to the O'Briens, that Belfast would be a much better location from which to launch the college. While at the Belfast meeting, Andrew asked Grady and Yvonne if they were sure they wanted to launch a school. After assuring him of their commitment to do so, Andrew announced their intent to open the CBC extension. Two months later the O'Briens moved to Antrim, just north of Belfast and began holding classes. In 2006 they moved into the school's current location within the city limits of Belfast.

Yvonne and students minister to a young boy in Mexico. (Click to enlarge)Now, after answering the Lord's call to ministry, and five years after the launch of CBC Belfast, the O'Briens are beginning to see the fruits of their efforts multiplied. They recently performed their first ordination ceremonies for several of their past graduates (2 Timothy 2:2).

Understanding from first-hand experience how powerful the message of God's unconditional love is, it is exciting for Grady and Yvonne to see the school growing. The college is filling up with students of varying ages and backgrounds, all coming together with a hunger for God's word. There are 19 students currently enrolled in CBC Belfast, and the O'Briens are anticipating that number will double over the course of the coming months.

Not everyone is called to full-time ministry or to open a Bible college like the O'Briens did, but if you find yourself waiting on the Lord, it could be that HE is waiting on you.

To learn more about the O'Briens and their ministry to the people of Ireland, visit the Charis Bible College-Belfast website.

Monday
Apr122010

Building Hope & Saving Lives

SRM provides free meals to those in need through community outreach efforts in Colorado Springs.
(Click to enlarge)
Paul and Marilyn Vyzourek, graduates of Charis Bible College (CBC), founded Springs Rescue Mission (SRM) in 1996. The couple began by providing sandwiches to the homeless in parks and under bridges in Colorado Springs. Their heart to help the homeless however, didn’t stop at simply providing a meal; they wanted to transform lives with the hope of Jesus Christ.

With an increasing desire to help, the Vyzourek’s began taking in the homeless, providing refuge for them in their own home as they got back on their feet. In addition, they opened a food pantry in one of the rooms at CBC. Before long, much to their excitement, they began to see God supplying bigger and better ways to accommodate the needs of more people.

SRM Samaritan's Kitchen program serves approximately three thousand meals per week. (Click to enlarge)Springs Rescue Mission has been faithfully serving people in Colorado Springs for 14 years, and is currently under the direction of Rev. Joe Vazquez. He began volunteering at SRM as second year CBC student and was eventually hired. In July of 2003, he was appointed Executive Director by the SRM Board of Directors. Under his leadership, this organization now oversees the second largest emergency food distribution service in Colorado Springs.

Two of the many programs SRM uses to serve the Colorado Springs community are the Samaritan's Kitchen and the New Life Men's Program.

SRM has served more than 1.4 million meals since the ministry began in 1996. (Click to enlarge)Samaritan's Kitchen provides approximately 3000 meals per week. This program is open to the homeless, and anyone who needs a hot meal. Each evening, along with their meal, those who would like to do so can also listen to a Gospel message taught by someone from one of the local churches. Once a month struggling families are welcome to pick up a Food Box. These boxes, provided free of charge, are packed with the ingredients needed to prepare meals at home.

Samaritan's Kitchen also offers two Culinary Arts programs as a way for those in need to establish new job opportunities. The program is certified by the American Culinary Federation (ACF) and locally supervised by Pikes Peak Community College. ACF certificates of completion are awarded to participants upon graduation.

Other services supported by Samaritan’s Kitchen are, summer lunch programs for children in need, outreach meal events, brown bag meals, and catering for other non-profit ministries in need.

SRM's year-long New Life Men's program equips men with necessary and Biblically centered life skills.
(Click to enlarge)
The New Life Men's Program (NLP) is a one year residential program, which serves men who are homeless, drug addicted, and/or are having difficulty functioning in society due to a lack of life skills. The program is quite thorough in that it focuses on five key aspects of an individual's recovery, addressing the spiritual, educational, vocational, life skills and personal counseling needs of the person.

On average, Springs Rescue Mission helps 4,500 families per year with emergency food, clothing, and other assistance. Since the ministry began, SRM has provided more than 1,450,000 meals to the hungry and homeless. These meals very often provide a doorway to hope for a better life through recovery programs, emergency services, counseling, job training and other services provided by SRM.

SRM meets more than physical needs.
(Click to enlarge)
Andrew's teaching about the love of God stirred compassion in the hearts of two CBC students. The Vyzourek's took the revelation they received from Andrew and put it into action. Their desire to help those in need led to the simple act of providing sandwiches to the homeless. Their initial effort has been multiplied by the hand of God, and the ministry has become a multifaceted, citywide blessing to many struggling souls in the Colorado Springs area.

To learn more about the many vital programs offered to the homeless and hopeless of Colorado Springs, visit the Springs Rescue Mission website.

Thursday
Apr082010

Andrew's Father In The Faith

In 1967, at the age of 17, Andrew met Joe Nay. Joe's radical passion for Jesus made a profound and lasting impact on Andrew. It was Joe's fanaticism for the Lord that God used to draw Andrew closer to Himself. The two shared a lot of time together talking about the Lord and discussing the supernatural power of God. Ultimately it was Joe's influence that set Andrew on the path he has been running for forty plus years of ministry.

Joe is Andrew’s Father in the Faith. In the insightful video below the two reminisce about the impact Joe had on Andrew as a teenager and some of the early ministry they did together. The time spent watching is sure to be
a blessing.