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Mission to England: A Secret Revealed

Opening night worship (Click to enlarge)The first meeting of the Grace and Faith Family Camp went late into the night.  Ministry partners, you have much to rejoice about! I’ll get to that in a minute, but first…

As I write, I have just finished an English style breakfast of baked beans, bacon, sausage, eggs, baked parmesan tomatoes, toast, and grapefruit. (Yes, I sampled the whole menu.) Eating at a table with ministry COO, David Hardesty, I noticed that he doesn’t do the English breakfast. He had a bowl of raisin bran flakes like a good American boy from Idaho. 

An English breakfast (Click to enlarge)Andrew passed our table and dropped an intriguing secret in my ear—a piece of ministry history, if-you-will. It happened in nearby Warwick Castle around 1990. Andrew and Jamie had come to England seeking to establish a first ministry headquarters. On that occasion, they gathered with Ian Stewart and his wife on the rubble mound of the original castle, destroyed in one of England’s medieval  wars, and prayed that God would establish the message of Grace and Faith in this land dominated by performance religion. Furthermore, Jamie revealed that she still has a videotape of that meeting at home. It was shot by Don Krow on VHS format! She promised to make it available for a special news post when we return. (We’ll have to update it for digital playback.)

Opening night crowd (Click to enlarge)Last night saw 800 in attendance. An unofficial poll found that the vast majority had come after seeing Andrew on TV, or on the internet. Andrew preached until 9:30pm, then began ministering. Hundreds came to receive Salvation and the baptism with the Holy Spirit—so many that Will Graham had to rush in more New You & Holy Spirit books from the back room. Many stayed until midnight as Andrew continued ministering to those seeking the Lord.

Andrew ministers into the night
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This opening night crowd seemed to indicate that a new group of British citizens have been exposed to the Grace and Faith message through TV and the website. This is exciting news indeed and proof that the investment our partners make in this ministry is bearing great fruit around the world.

Filed Saturday, May 29, 2010, 9:40am, Stoneleigh Park time, AWMI Media Manager, Stephen Bransford


Mission To England: Arrival At Stoneleigh Park

Entrance to the auditorium (Click to enlarge)Traveling for nearly 18 hours by car, plane, and finally—missing turns on “roundabouts” while driving an automobile with the steering wheel on the wrong side of the car—Andrew and Jamie, David and Gayle, and me, Stephen Bransford, arrived at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, England. We made the journey for The Grace and Faith Family Camp 2010.

Andrew & Will inspect the youth zone
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The sunset was warm and colorful, and the temperature suitable for shirtsleeves. Even though weary from the road, Andrew was not too tired to take a quick tour of the facilities with European Director, Will Graham.  They viewed the main auditorium capable of seating several thousand adults, an adjacent building decorated as the Youth Zone for teens, and another called Messy Church, where younger children will receive ministry tailored to their specific needs.

Entrance to the youth zone (Click to enlarge)“This meeting is a revival of an event Will and I used to hold in the ‘90s,” Andrew said.

“That’s right,” Will added, “we started with about 600 people and grew those crowds to 2,500, even before you were on TV.”

“I remember. I’m hoping a lot of other people will remember and join again this year.”

Will Graham explained, “Think of the Grace and Faith meetings as similar to Colorado’s  Summer Family Bible Conference—only European style.”

Warwick Castle (Click to enlarge) And what a wonderful style that is! Stoneleigh Park  contains comfortable meeting halls, a hotel, camping for tents and campers, with nearby activities such as 4X4 riding, fishing, archery, skeet shooting, boating, kayaking, and a Top Gear British motoring museum. Stratford-Upon-Avon provides world class shopping and restaurants. This ancient village is the celebrated birthplace of William Shakespeare. Britain’s ultimate castle, Warwick Castle is a mere 6 miles distant. The local Stoneleigh Abbey is a great family destination, surrounded by 620 acres of parkland. Other sites include the Redwings Horse Sanctuary, the Butterfly Farm and many other attractions. Each destination is linked by picture-postcard English country roads, which many visitors consider a destination in themselves. Stoneleigh Park is truly a wonderful place to plan a vacation around the Word of God.  

The Grace and Faith meetings will begin Friday night with Andrew speaking at 7pm. We will continue to report on the progress of the meetings as they continue. Andrew will speak a total of five times through a final meeting, which ends on Monday at noon.

Then we will begin our journey to Africa.

Filed Friday, May 28, 2010, 5:45pm, Stoneleigh Park time, AWMI Media Manager, Stephen Bransford


CBC Prison Ministry: Changing Lives

The Prison Ministry team from Charis Bible College, Jerry Cherian, Charlene Heatley, Caroline Walton, Darla Livingston, Garrett Ericksen, Mark Jones, Larry Hoover, Carl Reichart, Robert Smith, Sandy Upton and Johnathan Clark.
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In 2005 Don Krow, a former Charis Bible College (CBC) instructor and coauthor of the Discipleship Evangelism (DE) program, launched a correspondence-based prison ministry as part of an overseas outreach project. In an effort to establish a similar program to touch the lives of local inmates, Don and former CBC students, Vinnie and Becky Rose, tailored the outreach specifically to meet the mail restrictions for prisoners in Colorado.

Two years after the program's inception, first year CBC-Colorado student, Charlene Heatley signed up to be a part of the prison ministry effort. At that time the project involved writing encouraging letters to local prison inmates, and sending lessons from the Discipleship Evangelism (DE) course to those prisoners who expressed interest.

An inmate's handwritten testimony
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Through her participation in the letter exchange, Charlene developed a true heart for the ministry to the inmates, and wanted to see the prison ministry grow and become more effective. It was of utmost concern to her that the inmate’s questions were answered correctly, and that they understood what they were studying through the DE lessons. She began to write letters that were more intentional and focused on sharing the good news of
Jesus Christ.

Although the program had been established with good intentions, and was passed down through capable hands, by 2008 participation in the prison ministry had dwindled. Determined to see the program succeed, Charlene continued writing letters to minister to the inmates over the course of her summer break. She would stop by her campus mailbox once a week to check for letters from the prisoners and correspond accordingly.

Charlene composing a letter in response to an inmate submission. (Click to enlarge)When classes resumed for her second year, Charlene began the process of expanding the outreach efforts to include in-prison visitation. In order to gain the security clearance needed to enter and minister in a Colorado prison, she had to go through an application process with the Department of Corrections. This time consuming process required her to file extensive paperwork and attend special classes. Charlene kept the ministry active and moving forward, through the continued exchange of letters and lessons, while she completed the State requirements to enter the
prison facilities.

In 2009, at the beginning of Charlene's apprenticeship year, she was ready to hold a meeting for first year students interested in volunteering for the CBC Prison Ministry program. Charlene found ten students who had a heart to minister to those behind bars, and assigned one inmate to each of them. The requests for ministers from more inmates came quickly however, and soon, her student volunteers were ministering to an average of three inmates each. In addition, Charlene was writing to five inmates and making the in-prison visits. It became obvious to her that she had more responsibility than she could handle on her own. In an effort to manage the rapid growth of the ministry, she began recruiting new people to share some of the responsibility. CBC students Caroline Watson and Darla Livingston are now actively involved in the management of CBC Prison Ministry program.

Darla Livingston choosing the appropriate DE lesson to mail to one of her inmates.
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The inmates are responding to God's unconditional love, and the message of grace shared by the prison ministry volunteers. Charlene said that it is easy to recognize when the inmate's hearts have been touched by the Word through the varied and creative ways in which they express their appreciation. Charlene said some inmates have even written songs
of thanks.

The fruit Charlene sees from this ministry fills her with joy, and she has plans in the works for the expansion of the program. As a result of the outreach, several inmates now lead their own Bible studies, and Charlene knows of one prisoner who actually held a baptismal service in the prison. “I really have a heart for this. This is a ministry of love and forgiveness.”

Charlene has submitted a request to the Colorado Department of Corrections for permission to mail Andrew’s books to the prisons in Colorado on a monthly basis. She also has plans to acquire the necessary security clearance to enable more volunteers to participate in the in-prison ministry visits. Charlene believes that the program will eventually expand to prisons across the country and internationally as well. With her determination and her heart to reach the imprisoned, Charlene will see this vision, which the Lord has given her, come to pass.