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Monday
Apr192010

Called to the Mission Field

Sean and Lisa Michaud founders of Kingdom Equippers Ministries International. (Click to enlarge)Sean and Lisa met at a church in Mobile, Alabama. During their very first conversation, they shared with each other their individual calls to the mission field. The two quickly realized that the Lord had a plan for their lives—together. Before stepping into missionary work however, they both sensed God leading them to saturate themselves in His Word. Not knowing what to do next, they made an appointment with their pastor to inquire about how best to prepare for the ministry. Their pastor mentioned a new school that his friend, Andrew Wommack, was starting in Colorado Springs. Despite the fact that neither Sean nor Lisa had ever been to the Springs, or heard of Andrew, excitement stirred in their spirits about attending Bible college, and they knew that this was God’s plan. The first time Sean and Lisa heard Andrew minister was at the opening rally the day before school started, and both were blessed.

Sean and Lisa became Mr. and Mrs. Michaud in 1996, while attending Colorado Bible College (later renamed Charis Bible College). After graduation in 1997, the Michauds, now united in marriage and preparation, answered the call to the mission field—in Russia. A pastor in Ufa, Russia had contacted CBC because he wanted to have a Bible college in his city. CBC-Ufa was opened a short time later, and over 100 students graduated from first year classes the following Spring.

Sean and Lisa opened CBC-Ufa in 1999, and more than 100 students graduated from first year classes the following Spring. (Click to enlarge)Since the establishment of the school in Ufa, the Michauds have moved around ministering in various countries including Lisa's former home, the Caribbean Island of Trinidad. There they helped Lisa’s parents pastor a church for several years. In 2005, Sean and Lisa returned to Russia and not only directed CBC-Ufa, but also began taking students on missionary trips to other Russian villages and cities. Some of these places were without a single church or pastor, so their outreach to other Russian communities was particularly vital. It was during this time that the Michauds founded Kingdom Equippers Ministries International, a ministry whose goal is to train laborers throughout the world to carry out the Great Commission.

Sean (above right) leads a discipleship class in Venezuela. (Click to enlarge)Unfortunately, in 2008, Russia changed their visa laws. Regulations now stipulate that visitors may only stay in Russia for three months at a time, and then they must leave for three months—without exception. Sean and Lisa’s three children, Rachel, Abigail and Jeremiah, were attending Russian schools, and uprooting them every three months would have been very difficult for them. The Michauds knew it was time to leave. Sean recalled asking God to show Him where they would go next. “I sensed the Lord say, 'Africa,'”
Sean said.

However, Africa wasn’t in the Michaud’s immediate future. They returned to Colorado in 2008 for the annual CBC Director’s Meeting. Sean explained to Andrew about having to leave Russia, which led to two opportunities. Andrew suggested that Sean and Lisa move back to the Springs and work for Andrew Wommack Ministries World Outreach and teach at CBC. Andrew also extended an invitation to Sean to travel with him to South Africa in July. After this trip with Andrew, Sean decided it wasn’t yet time to move to Africa, so he took the position with AWM World Outreach and CBC.

Durban, South Africa (above right) is located on the eastern side of the the southern tip of Africa. (Click to enlarge)Again in the summer of 2009, Sean and Lisa traveled with Andrew to Africa where they connected with some ministers from Durban. Sean and Lisa sensed that Durban might be exactly where God was calling them, and one more visit in November confirmed it. “I was able to travel to Durban in November 2009 and was able to minister in quite a few churches. Upon returning to the United States, Lisa and I knew that the Lord was directing us to Durban,” Sean explained.

With their family now settled in Durban, the Michauds have begun leading a Discipleship Evangelism class, and plans are in motion to possibly open a Bible school in June of 2010. As Sean and Lisa faithfully respond to God’s leading, He continues to use them to bring His good news to the world.

The Michaud family, Sean, Lisa, Rachel, Abigail and Jeremiah, missionaries to Durban, South Africa. (Click to enlarge)The Michaud’s have seen God work in amazing and miraculous ways over the years; however, they have also faced many challenges as missionaries. Sean encourages others being called to the mission field with this, “Fear of the unknown causes many people to do nothing. 'Where's the money going to come from?' 'Where am I going to live?' 'How are things going to pan out?' Abraham went out not knowing where he was going (Hebrews 11:8). Abraham went even though he had many unanswered questions. The answers to many questions are on the other side of obedience. We have discovered that God never leads by fear. We had to make the decision not to camp out on our fears and unanswered questions, but camp out on who God is, His faithfulness and what He's put in our heart.”

Ministry pioneers Sean and Lisa Michaud were called to the mission field, and He who calls is faithful (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

Visit the Kingdom Equippers Ministries International website to learn more about the impact the Michaud's ministry is having in Durban, South Africa.

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.
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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.