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Monday
Apr132015

The Gospel in Brazil

Brazil Charis missions team (Click to enlarge)After laying the foundation of the Gospel in their students, Charis Bible College prepares them for practical ministry during the second-year program. Not only do students clock volunteer hours at local churches and ministries, but they also plan and participate in missions trips at home and abroad. It’s amazing to hear their testimonies. They always return with wonderful ministry testimonies of salvation and healing, with personal growth testimonies as well.

Recently a group of second-year students returned from their missions trip in Brazil, excited about the revelations God had given them while outside their comfort zone. “This trip became an empowering, equipping encounter with the Holy Spirit,” student Christian Estrella said. “It brought clarity and definition in my life and ministry. I learned to minister in the power of the Holy Spirit, to discern people’s needs, and to allow the gifts of the Spirit to move through me more freely.”

At one of the local churches where students were ministering, a baby was brought forward who appeared to have a neurological defect. The eight-month-old could not move under her own power or sustain the weight of her head. Stirred with compassion, students Christian and Flor stepped forward to pray. “My wife and I held that child in our arms and began to declare the Word of God over her. We commanded the spirits of sickness and infirmity to leave her body in the name of Jesus, and within moments, she began wiggling!”

Man with a shattered leg (Click to enlarge)Another student reported praying for a man with a shattered leg. Four surgical pins stuck out of his right leg, and he felt constant pain. “With an authority I never thought I would have, I spoke to his leg and commanded pain to go,” Diana Netotea recalled. “I spoke life and healing over him and watched as he walked away without limping. The next day, the man was in church jumping on his pinned leg, shouting, ‘Look! I have no pain!’ I’ll never forget the miracle I witnessed that day—in his life and mine.”

Every member of the Charis team returned to the States with similar testimonies. “My time in Brazil was too amazing to put into words. God moved mightily in and through the entire team,” Kris Turner said.

Another student experienced God’s supernatural protection. “My first morning in Brazil, I stepped onto what I thought was a rug. Apparently it was not, for the next thing I saw was the ceiling and a steel pipe sticking out of the ground next to me.” Falling through the floor into a three-foot hole, Chris Sheya wasn’t sure if he could stand. “My roommate grabbed my hand and pulled me up saying, ‘You’re healed in the name of Jesus. Walk!’” Still in shock, Chris maneuvered outside, speaking in tongues and stretching his ankle for the next hour. “My calf and ankle swelled grotesquely, and I limped for the next thirteen days—but I walked!”

These students and the many others who have taken the Gospel of grace all over the world because of the impact of Charis Bible College can testify that God watches over His Word to perform it (Jer. 1:12)!

Monday
Apr062015

Let Us Reason Together

Hungary-Croatia missions team in Croatia (Click to enlarge)“God withheld nothing to show His love to me, and I knew I could not withhold my life from these men,” Charis Bible College student Matthew Brown said after returning from his missions trip to Croatia. Having never before been out of the country or ever really sharing the Gospel with anyone, Matthew left the States a bit apprehensive about this new experience. “I didn’t feel like I had the knowledge or skills to share the Gospel and be a blessing, but I was excited to try.”

Lisa Nakkula and Matthew Brown ministering the love of Jesus to kids at a childrens' hospital in Croatia (Click to enlarge)During part of the street-ministry time in Croatia, Matthew had his first opportunity to try. Approaching two guys to see if they knew Christ or were open for ministry, Matthew heard, “Jesus isn’t real.” Not knowing how to respond to that, Matthew began telling them his healing testimony. “Do you have a video of it?” they asked.

Matthew didn’t, but he did have other proof: “Why would I spend money to fly across the world and lie to people I don’t know? Why don’t you believe in God?”

Their responses varied from “The church ruined God” to “America ruined God.” But they didn’t say that America made God up or that there was no evidence for Him.

So, Matthew kept talking. “God was before the start of time, the church, or America. And none of those things define Him. You should figure out for yourself if God is real.”

Josh McFall ministering to a man in Zagreb, Croatia
(Click to enlarge)
As the Holy Spirit began working on their hearts, the two men began fidgeting. Matthew said, “When I saw them doing everything they could to find a way out of our conversation, the compassion of Christ overwhelmed me. I’ve never felt that for anyone before. I knew that God loved them and that He wanted to extend His grace to them. I felt compelled to share the whole of my testimony, but I didn’t want to. It wasn’t something I told many people.”

But the Lord moved on Matthew’s heart, and he began to share with the men how Jesus set him free from pornography. “You can’t be set free by someone who doesn’t exist,” he said. At that, the men opened their hearts to the full Gospel and allowed Matthew to pray with them. “They said they weren’t yet ready to make Jesus their Lord, but they allowed me to pray for them. I simply asked God to reveal His love to them in a tangible way. We then kept talking for another ten minutes. When I finally see Jesus face-to-face, I fully expect to see them too.”

“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.”

Isaiah 1:18 (New King James Version)

Monday
Mar302015

Don’t Be Anxious

Charis missions team on a plane to Russia
(Click to enlarge)
“O God, what did I just do?” Charis Bible College student Georgiann Melton exclaimed to herself after signing up for her second-year missions trip. “I can’t go to Russia!”

As the weeks passed and everyone around her began gearing up for ministry and making plans to be out of the country, Georgiann couldn’t shake the feelings of anxiety that promised to swallow her every time she thought about Russia. “I can’t do it, Lord…I really can’t do it. Maybe I could switch teams and go somewhere else.” But all of the other teams were full. “Maybe I can go during next year’s trips.” But tickets had already been purchased. “Maybe I should just drop out.”

Unable to pinpoint the reason for her feelings of desperation, Georgiann knew to Whom she could run. “O God, help me!” Slowly, the Lord began to unearth memories from Georgiann’s Colorado team and the St. Petersburg team with Mike and Carrie (Click to enlarge)childhood: “I remember being threatened to control my behavior when I was sixteen. I was told that I could be disowned and taken to a home for girls. In my mind, that meant no one would ever come for me—no one would ever find me. I would live and die completely alone.”

During Georgiann’s teen years, another undercurrent of fear was being played out on a global scale. The Cold War between the United States and the then Soviet Union was rushing toward its climax. “When I was growing up, Russia was not a place Americans went. It was entirely possible that Americans would go, disappear, and never come back.” For a sixteen-year-old who was being dominated by fear, both in and out of her house, the two scenarios quickly intertwined in her mind: “It hit me that I was worried about this trip because somehow… I had linked what my family member said about Russia.”

Georgiann ministering (Click to enlarge)Although she now knew the Enemy she was facing, Georgiann struggled to stand against him alone. She requested a meeting with Michelle Patterson, Charis’s missions coordinator. “Michelle listened as I cried and shared and cried some more. She was very understanding and took the time to reassure and pray with me. I finally began to feel a measure of peace, but the next day, I knew I still had to win this battle.”

Standing on scriptures like 1 Peter 5:7 and Deuteronomy 31:8 that promised God would always be with her and help her, Georgiann felt the Lord say, “Do not think about it anymore. When the time comes, just get up and do it.”

Georgiann and Charis team during prayer ministry
(Click to enlarge)
And as Georgiann began to purposefully “take captive every thought” (2 Cor. 10:5), she noticed that the grace of God was with her to accomplish what He’d called her to do: “When it was time to come home, I found myself crying over leaving my new brothers and sisters in Christ—my new Russian friends. I realized that God would always be faithful to me and His Word. He promised to never leave me nor forsake me—and He didn’t!”

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. [7] And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7 (New International Version)