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Monday
Mar102014

The Fruit of CBC's Business School

In this episode of The Inside Story, Andrew interviews his good friend and board member, Paul Milligan. Paul also serves as the Director of Charis Bible College's third-year Business School. During their time together the two share a behind the scenes look at the development of CBC's business track and how the Lord brought Paul and Andrew together. Paul also shares some exciting news about the fruit coming out of the Business School and the world-wide impact of products being developed by CBC-Colorado's third-year students.

Monday
Mar032014

CBC Mission Team Becomes The Word

CBC-Colorado student missionary, Lori Caldwell, spends a little time playing with a young girl prior to an outdoor meeting the team held in a small village. (Click to enlarge)Earlier this year, a 10 person mission team from Charis Bible College in Colorado traveled to India to minister to, and alongside, the staff and students at the CBC extension school in Chennai. The American team led by CBC-Colorado's Mission Coordinator, Michelle Patterson, and CBC Intern, John Bullock, arrived on January 10 and began their power-packed adventure sharing the gospel with the Indian people.

Bethany Sather ministering to a woman at Little Drops. (Click to enlarge)The team moved around the region ministering in village churches, local orphanages and elderly homes where there were endless opportunities for prayer, healings and salvations. For Colorado team member, Bethany Sather, the experience overseas brought her to a new place in her relationship with the Lord. Before going to India, Bethany had never led anyone to Christ and she was timid when it came to laying hands on anyone. Her time in India changed her life. She knew the trip would put her in uncomfortable situations, but she determined in her heart before leaving to trust God and to try to flow with whatever she sensed the Lord wanted her to do. As a result of making that determination, Bethany had the privilege of leading a 94-year-old woman named, Pashmina, to the Lord. She CBC-Colorado student, Kati Herr, hanging out with her new friends at an orphanage called, "The Shelter." The facility is a home for orphaned children with AIDS.
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rejoices knowing that she will spend eternity with Pashmina. Bethany said, "I saw several people healed and baptized in the Holy Spirit. It was awesome to step outside my comfort zone and watch God work!"

For Kati Herr the trip was a fulfillment of the desire of her heart. She had longed to go to India since early in her first year at CBC. Because the Lord had placed India on her heart, and the desire to minister was already there, the cultural differences did not hinder her in any way. Kati said she was fascinated simply riding down the street, enjoying sights and sounds, the scenes being so different from America. The hospitality and kindness of the Indian people made a significant impact on her as well. "Meeting our brothers and sisters at CBC-Chennai CBC-Colorado third-year intern, John Bullock, ministering to an elderly man in the Little Drops home for the indigent. Like Jesus, John was sure to incorporate the power of touch in his ministry. (Click to enlarge)was a highlight for me. We connected instantly and had so much fun ministering together on our outreaches. It was so fulfilling to minister at the orphanages and old age homes. I really felt the love of Jesus flowing through me as I touched and prayed with the people there," she said.

Each of the Colorado team members had their own personal experiences, including the team's intern, John. While the team was ministering in a small village church, a man walked in and asked for prayer for healing. John prayed for him and the man's pain left. What impacted John more than the instantaneous healing, was that the man looked up at him afterwards and said, “You are like God! I have never met people like you.” As he The gentle eyes of one of the Little Drops residents. (Click to enlarge)reflected on the trip John said, "That is what we wanted to be. We wanted people to see Jesus, not us, wherever we went."

John also shared a story about when they visited a home for the indigent elderly, a place called, “Little Drops.” Before the team went in to minister to the people, they met the founder of the home, a man named Paul. He told the team how important just visiting and talking and touching was to the people. Paul told the CBC team that he was tired of church people who came to have a religious service or read the Bible but never really touched the needy. Paul's challenge to John and the team was, “Don’t focus on converting them. Focus on them personally. Don’t just read the Word—BE the Word!”

"That was our team and that was our ministry, as we trusted God for the ability, the compassion and the results," John said.

Herbert, a CBC-Colorado student, chats with a resident of Little Drops. (Click to enlarge) Hands-on ministry with John Bullock and several other CBC students. (Click to enlarge)

Clay Caldwell praying for a Little Drops resident. (Click to enlarge) The team praying with a man after a village church service. (Click to enlarge)

The CBC-Colorado team with the staff and students from CBC-India. As CBC-Colorado student, Clay Caldwell (circled in red) ovserved, "Charis Bible College is so much bigger than just Woodland Park, CO. We are part of something that is changing the world!" (Click to enlarge)

Monday
Feb242014

Ministering Identity to the Fatherless

CBC-Colorado graduate, Joe Chris and his wife, Karen, are the founders of a ministry called, Mission Fatherless. Their mission is to help orphans all over the world experience the Father's heart. (Click to enlarge)Joe Chris and Karen Sparks both grew up in Texas. The two spirit-filled Christians met in 1997 and were married in 1998. Around the same time that the couple met, Joe Chris also found Andrew’s Gospel Truth radio program. Andrew’s ministry significantly impacted the Sparks. Neither of them, however, could have anticipated how significant Andrew's teachings would be in their lives, or the way the Lord would fulfill the desires of their hearts.

The Sparks had been married for almost two years when they began feeling led to move to Colorado. At the time, Joe Chris owned a successful auto glass business, where he employed Karen and several other family members. Joe Chris and Karen were enjoying their entrepreneurial prosperity, but the couple’s marriage was not going as smoothly as their business. “While business was good, we were failing miserably at marriage,” Karen shared. The two knew they needed some help.

The couple decided that moving to Colorado Springs, to sit under Andrew’s teaching at Charis Bible College, It has always been a desire of the Sparks' hearts to have a large family. For Karen, the desire to be a mother had been rooted firmly in her core since she was a little girl. Unfortunately, the couple struggled for years to start their family.
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was just what their marriage needed. In 1999, they gave their business away to family members, sold their home, downsized their vehicles and moved to Colorado Springs. Trusting God for the provision they would need to live and attend CBC, they left Texas without any job prospects.

The Sparks were blessed during their relocation, and they found what they were looking for in Colorado. With their lives centered on the Lord and their relationship with each other, their marriage received the attention it needed, and the couple grew stronger. After their arrival in the Springs and classes were underway at CBC, Joe Chris also started another auto glass business. Just as He had in the past, God prospered the Spark’s new endeavor. Joe Chris went on to graduate from CBC in 2001.

In the years immediately following graduation, neither of the Sparks had a burning desire to enter full-time ministry. They were content to work and raise their daughter, Kaitlyn, whom they were blessed to welcome in 2003, after five long years of trying (see captions). The couple also found fulfillment After five years of trying to have their first child, a surgery, and a miscarriage, the Sparks were blessed with the gift of a daughter they named, Kaitlyn. Six months after Kaitlyn was born, Karen lost another pregnancy. The tragic loss almost stole Karen's life as well. During the ordeal she lost two and a half liters of blood (the human body only has about four liters). Doctors told her to stop trying. (Click to enlarge)in supporting other ministries financially.

Eight years after graduation, the Lord stirred something new in the Sparks' hearts, and they began holding a bible study in their home, complete with worship and prayer ministry. In addition to hosting the home group, Joe Chris and his nieces, who also attended CBC, started knocking on doors and sharing Andrew’s Discipleship Evangelism program with anyone interested. Within a few months, Joe Chris and his nieces saw 90 people receive Jesus as their savior and many were meeting to study weekly discipleship lessons.

It was during this season of change that Karen and Joe Chris also felt compelled to open their home to foster children. The Sparks had always aspired to have a large family; Joe Chris was one of 10 children, and had his heart set on having 10 of his own, and Karen had always looked forward to mothering a large brood. But, after years of heartbreak, loss through miscarriage, and a near death experience with one of Karen's unsuccessful pregnancies, the idea of offering foster care was a welcome alternative. The couple's first placement was a group of five sibling boys, ranging in age from four months to eight years. The boys were with the Sparks for more than a year before they were reunited with their biological mother. “That nearly broke our hearts,” Karen said. Joe Chris and Karen continued opening their home to foster children for the next Karen and Joe Chris did not stop trying to have children. Why? Because Karen had a promise. The Lord had used several people to speak into Karen's life, women she did not know. They gave her words of encouragement and scriptures (Psalm 128:3, Galatians 6:9) to stand on. After nine unfruitful pregnancies, multiple miscarriages, and five surgeries that left her physically unable to bare children, Karen still believed God for the family she carried in her heart. Above: Karen on the mission field in Burundi, Africa.
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four years and took care of 25 children in that time.

During their foster care experience, the Sparks’ view of ministry broadened, and their ministry, Mission Fatherless, was birthed. In addition to caring for foster children, the couple began to travel to assist orphans on the mission field. In 2011, Karen started traveling twice a year to Burundi, Africa, where she serves in orphanages sponsored by an organization called, Youth For Christ. In addition to working with the orphans, Karen also helps construct homes for widows, provides food for the poorest in local villages, teaches pastor’s wives, and feeds the orphans on the streets of Burundi. Joe Chris too, began traveling to share the gospel. Last year he visited India where he ministered in the slums and preached in the crusades.

Today, the Sparks' mission is to eradicate what they call, "the orphan spirit" by revealing the heart of the Father. “Mission Fatherless was birthed out of a huge need we saw in the earth; God’s children, living Fatherless. Not only do we feel called to help the physical orphan, but also the spiritual orphan. We have encountered so many, even believers, who are living life as orphans. We call it the ‘orphan mentality.’ They are taking care of their own needs, living according to their own ability to provide, and serving God in their own efforts. Much of their Christian lives are being In 2009 Karen felt a call to live outside her own reasoning and abilities. The Sparks made a move toward foster care and adoption. Over time Karen began to see that what the enemy had tried to steal, her life's dream, was the very thing God would use to fulfill His promise on a much larger scale than she had ever envisioned. Through their experience, Mission Fatherless was born. Today the Sparks bring and share the Father's love with His children the world over. Above: Joe Chris surrounded by children in India.
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lived-out as one without the love of a Daddy. We feel called to share the Father's heart with all His kiddos, not just the physically orphaned,” explained Karen.

In late 2013, the Lord led Joe Chris and Karen to permanently expanded their family when they adopted five children. The kids, all siblings, have lived with the Sparks for a total of three years. “This was a huge step of faith for us in every area, especially financially,” said Karen. Since opening their home, Joe Chris downsized his business and began working from home in order to be more involved with the children. For the first time in the Sparks' lives, they were no longer the ones providing financial support, but were the ones in need of provision instead.

“We felt like this was of the Lord so we did it—without seeing where the money would come from. God has proven Himself faithful to us, and there has been provision for us every step of the way,” Karen shared.

Nearly fifteen years ago, the Sparks thought moving to Colorado Springs and attending CBC for the purpose of discipleship was just what they needed to heal their marriage. Turns out, they were right. But true to God’s abundant nature, He provided much more than a restored marriage. Between Mission Fatherless, their newly expanded family, serving as volunteer associate pastors at their church, and other outreach efforts, life is busy and overflowing with adventure and blessings for the Sparks family.

Visit the Mission Fatherless website to learn more about the Sparks' ministry and check them out on Facebook.

Today the Sparks family includes Karen, Joe Chris, Kaitlyn (11) and Victoria (17), Patricia (15), Joy (14), Vicente (10) and Antonio (7). Photo taken on the day of formal adoption. (Click to enlarge)