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Lessons Learned on the Mission Field in Russia

Charis Bible College second year students, Stan Mael and Donna Hanna from CBC Colorado and Boris Alekseev, from Charis Bible Training Center in St. Petersburg. February 2014 (Click to enlarge)While there is not enough space here to detail God's call on Stan Mael's life, we'll suffice it to say that it was his calling that prompted Stan to state on his Charis Bible College application that one of his goals in attending CBC was to come to the end of himself. According to Stan, the myriad of first year courses and new relationships he made at CBC, laid the groundwork for that transformation. As he continued through second year, however, Stan realized that coming to the end of himself was not something he could do on his own, and that he may not even know when or if it happened. Stan said, "We all have habits, hang-ups, and hoopla to deal with, and I certainly have my share of inadequacies, but it's like Andrew says, 'I may not have arrived yet, but at least I've left the station.'"

As a second year student at Charis, Stan was required to take a foreign missions trip. Of the destinations available to Stan, his preferred choice was Russia. And just as God had placed that desire in Stan's heart, He also made a way for Stan to go in February 2014.

For several weeks prior to the trip, God had showed Stan that his task on the mission was to be a blessing—not a show off. Stan understood that God was telling him that his experience was going to be different, that he would indeed come to the end of himself in Russia. Regardless of how many years Stan had been a team leader, department director, business owner, children's pastor, etc., God instructed him to let it all go, and just serve. In fact, the night before the trip, as Stan was lying in bed, the Lord showed him that he and the CBC-Colorado team were going to work in another man's field.

"Russia is Mike and Carrie's field. It is Victor and Natasha's field. It is Pastor Svetlana’s field. We were merely passing through, and our purpose was to sow seed, water, fertilize, and watch God reap the harvest," Stan said.

Amid the many salvations, baptisms, and healings, the CBC team saw during their stay in Russia, Stan also learned the following five things:

You teach the Word, but you minister love.
Not everyone is called to be a teacher, but each person is called to minister the love that God has shed abroad in their heart. We are ministers of reconciliation. Let God’s unconditional love for you spill over in all of your relationships.

You can rely on the Holy Spirit for inspiration and direction.
Going to a foreign country and not speaking the language, you’d better be relying on someone. We had a translator for most of the time, but when one was not available, we had to rely on the Holy Spirit to know what to do.

It doesn’t matter what the story is, God’s big enough to handle it. He doesn’t need your eloquence, He simply needs your trust.
One morning our hostess came in frantically waving her arms and trying to explain some crises to us. Our translator happened to be gone, so we just looked at each other and said, “Let’s pray anyway.” We gave it to God, who already knew the situation, and let Him handle it. Ten minutes later she came back in and everything was fine.

Leave your dictionary at home. The simple truth will do every time.
This shouldn’t take a lot of explanation, but I will say, that in conjunction with the rest of these, just let your heart be your guide. Trust the Holy Spirit and lean not to your own understanding.

Whatever happens, good or bad, you don’t need to commend yourself, defend yourself, or justify yourself. That’s God’s job.
Regardless of your chosen profession, you will have opportunity to be offended. What you do with that offence is more important than the offence itself, so my advice is to just give it to God and let Him deal with it. You will also have opportunity to be lifted up in pride. The same advice applies.

While the primary focus of CBC's mission trips is on serving and blessing the communities the students visit, it is often the students that learn the most from their adventures overseas. To learn more about the school or the missions program, visit the Charis Bible College website.


Unexpected Blessings in Ecuador 

Bubbles... Dr. Delron Shirley, the Director of CBC Colorado's School of Missions, breaks the ice with some children in Ecuador. (Click to enlarge)What do you get when you send a clown named, Bubbles to the banana capital of the world? Sounds like the opening to a very funny joke, doesn't it? Well, as funny as it may sound, it's not a joke; it's something that really happened as part of a short-term mission trip to South America. Earlier this year, Charis Bible College sent a team from Colorado to Machala, Ecuador. The 16-person group, led by CBC-Colorado's School of Missions Director, Dr. Delron Shirley and his wife, Peggy, were hosted by Charis alumni and full-time missionaries, Mickey and Suzan Cartagena.

Because schools in the region had just been released for summer break, the team spent a good deal of time ministering to the local children. Having a clown on the team was really a great way to reach the kids in a light-hearted manner. In one neighborhood, the CBC students shared the love of God with the children by hosting a three-day Vacation Bible School. In another area, the team ministered at a care facility for children that have been rescued from abusive situations. In both places the CBC students enjoyed spending time with their young audiences. They sang and played games with the kids, made balloon animals, served them a meal, and prayed for them.

The CBC Colorado team in Ecuador. (Click to enlarge)The Charis students were also given the opportunity to minister in churches and small home groups. These settings gave them time to teach the Word, perform Gospel-centered skits, and share personal testimonies. These opportunities opened the door for the people of Ecuador to experience God and his love in down-to-earth ways.

Team host, Suzan Cartagena said, "We watched the students connect with different people in Ecuador who didn’t know or had forgotten that God is pleased with them. People everywhere Dancing with God's stars. (Click to enlarge)are discouraged, lonely, abandoned, rejected, and filled with guilt and condemnation. They are angry with a God who does not seem to care."

During each outreach, the CBC students were able to introduce the people of Machala to a God who does indeed care—often connecting through the shared experience of their own testimonies. "It was amazing to see CBC students that have overcome rejection, naturally reach out to those that felt rejected; to see students that have experienced condemnation, reach out to those who walk in self condemnation, and to see students who have been angry with God or had given up on him, reach out to those who have searched for God and not yet found Him," said Suzan.

There were moments when the interaction between grown men, embracing battered children so perfectly mirrored God's heart for all His people that team leaders watched in awe as the children responded to the love that was being transmitted. "We heard students say, 'God just wants me to give you a hug,' and watched as the people on the receiving end instantly became connected to the love of God that they The princes and princesses of Ecuador. (Click to enlarge)had been so desperately longing for," Suzan shared.

"As the CBC team members prayed for the people, we saw them give their lives to Christ, receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and be healed," said Peggy Shirley. She also noted that the team saw several dramatic deliverances as people were set free from demonic oppression.

CBC's mission trips are always full of unique moments and special memories. One of the unexpected blessings on this trip was a request from a CBC student to be water baptized. When the team leaders made arrangements for her baptism, two others students joined her! All three were baptized in a pool by a local pastor named, Alfonso.

Three CBC students were baptized on the Ecuador trip.


Continuing to Bear Fruit: 30, 60, 100-fold

And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.

(Mark 16:20)

Charis Bible College (CBC) graduates are celebrating on nearly every continent. Six hundred students recently received diplomas as recognition of their completion of CBC’s training. Each of these newly licensed ministers, from forty worldwide campuses, are prepared to go forth, preach the Good News of Jesus Christ, and change the world.

Class of 2014 - CBC West Midlands (Click to enlarge)

Class of 2014 - CBC Uganda (Click to enlarge)Class of 2014 - CBC Heidelberg, SA (Click to enlarge)We are so grateful for our World Outreach Partners, who make it possible for our students in nineteen countries, to experience the Word coming alive for them. Their cups are literally overflowing with God’s love as a result of sitting under the anointed teaching of our CBC instructors. They can’t help but express how this nearly-too-good-to-be-true news has transformed their lives.

CBC San Jose graduate, Carol Moore (right). (Click to enlarge)Carol Moore, a CBC San Jose graduate, shared the following testimony regarding her two years at CBC:

Since attending CBC San Jose, my life has been changed forever. I am not the same person I was two years ago. My initial transformation began after salvation thirteen-and-a-half years ago as I began to study and meditate on God’s Word. During my time at CBC, this transformation process has ramped up so significantly that I want to continue this process of a deeper relationship with the Father forever. When you have tasted something so sweet, nothing else can compare. As Paul stated in Philippians 3:12-14,

Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. [13] Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, [14] I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

I am pressing on because I have life and I have a purpose greater than myself.

The teaching has revealed new truths and a deeper understanding regarding healing, grace, faith, and what Jesus has provided for me through His death, burial, and resurrection. I also know more about the true nature of God and my authority as a believer. My transformation has taken time through study, meditation, and the application of God’s Word. It’s so great to be in the “sweet spot,” knowing I’m doing what God has called me to do. The best is yet to come!

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, [21] Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21

Each graduate has a testimony similar to Carol’s. Their lives have been transformed by attending CBC. But it’s not just a single life that is being changed; these students are taking the revelation that they are receiving and impacting their communities.

Andrea, from CBC Mexico, was recently in a government-run hospital, helping a fellow student care for his father. While Andrea was there, she couldn’t help noticing a man in the bed next to her friend’s father. He was very ill and lying in a coma-like state. Andrea asked the woman who was sitting next to his bedside what had happened to him. The woman explained that the man was her brother, Martin, and she had been told that he was very close to death. Andrea asked for permission and then prayed for Martin. She exchanged cell phone numbers with his sister before leaving the hospital.

From left: Javier, Martin's parents, Martin and Andrea (Click to enlarge)About two weeks later, Andrea was in a hurry and got on the wrong bus. She looked around having realized her mistake, and to her surprise, there was Martin’s sister! Andrea asked about Martin and was told that he had remained in that coma-like state for about nine days, and then he just woke up! He had since been discharged from the hospital.

Andrea and her husband, Javier, made arrangements to visit Martin and his family. When they arrived at Martin’s house, they found nine family members gathered. Andrea and Javier talked to the group about how much the Lord loved them. All nine people received Jesus as their Savior.

Sharing the love of God is natural for CBC students. Testimonies like these are endless. We celebrate their accomplishments as graduates and as disciples. The multiplication process that is taking place throughout the world is extraordinary. Some of our graduates will choose to attend our third-year internship program, in order to further train for the calling God has placed on their lives. Others will begin new journeys by starting churches or launching new businesses. Many will visit their home cities, towns, and countries to share the same revelation of God’s unconditional love and grace that they have received and experienced at CBC.

Please join us in congratulating the 2014 CBC graduates and know that your partnership helped transform their lives, in addition to the many lives that will be touched as they go forth and preach the Good News. These students are changing the world.

If you have never partnered with World Outreach, we invite you to do so today. Your donations really do make a difference in the lives of innumerable individuals. With your help, we will continue to fulfill the Great Commission and make disciples of all nations.