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All in the Family

As he saith also in Osee [Hosea], I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. [26] And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.

Romans 9:25-26, brackets added

Sarah Motevalli praying for physical healing at a rehab center
(Click to enlarge)
In general, the American church has embraced the message of adoption (see Eph. 1:3-6). But have we forgotten that God’s idea of adoption translates to every language and people on the planet? According to Barna Research, fewer American missionaries are being sent out every year and a decreasing amount of our churches’ incomes is set aside for missions work and/or outreach.

But Charis Bible College hasn’t forgotten God’s design. With over forty campuses worldwide and hundreds of students traveling for missions work every year, Charis is taking the message of God’s grace (the adoption of sons) to every tribe and tongue they can find.

After returning from a recent missions trip to Russia, several Charis students shared how the family of God is enlarging in every part of the world! Pat Koppel said, “While in Russia, I shared that we are the adopted children of Leaders of a church in a town outside of Yekaterinburg, including Pastor Vladimir second to the left (Click to enlarge)God. When someone adopts a child, they spend a precious amount of time and resources dreaming about, planning for, and searching after their child. No adopted child is unwanted. As God’s adopted children, we are wanted and pursued by Him in the same way. After my testimony, seven people approached me, and our translator sent word that one of the conference attendees had received a revelation about God as her Father and was so happy! It feels good to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ. God loves us more than we could ever know and has made plans for us beyond our expectations for good!”

Another team member shared about the church they visited near Siberia. Pastor Vladimir, the church’s pastor, encountered God in prison and, after serving his sentence, planted the church. Like many of his countrymen, Vladimir had a history with drugs and alcohol. Today he ministers “grace Emily Townsend and a pastor in Ichevks (Click to enlarge)through faith” to those in rehab centers and to anyone who comes through the doors of his church. Already this year, twenty-five people have gone through Andrew’s foundational teachings (which have been translated into Russian) Spirit, Soul & Body and The True Nature of God. Pastor Vladimir said, “Andrew is the best. He teaches in a way that a person who doesn’t know much about the Bible can understand and get to know the love and grace of God.” Currently, the church is building a new rehab center to increase its outreach to the community. “It was a miraculous testimony,” team member Cinnamon Bergeron recalled. “Eighty thousand dollars of extra income came into this small church within ten months. They’ve purchased the land and have started to build—all with fewer than 100 people! God is so good.”

Sarah Motevalli discovered that “you can go into any corner of the world, and wherever and in whomever the Spirit of Christ is, there you find your loving family!”


Leaving the Ninety-Nine

Then Jesus told them this parable: [4] “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? [5] And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders [6] and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ [7] I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

Luke 15:3-7 (New International Version)

Charis missions team heading out to minister to people on the streets of Russia (Click to enlarge)In February 2015, Austin Brown joined a team of Charis Bible College students on a missions trip to Russia. Feeding his spirit with the testimonies of other students involved in the missions program at Charis, Austin expected to see God do amazing things in Russia. But he was unprepared for the life-altering revelation he would receive about God’s unfailing love for people.

“I went to Russia expecting to see great miracles,” Austin recalled. “And I did see amazing instantaneous healings. A lady with a broken wrist came for prayer and left with her mobility. A Muslim man allowed us to pray for his sore knees while waiting for the train. The pain left, and he literally began jumping and dancing. Another man brought his child to us for prayer. He had been struggling to breathe with COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. We prayed, and the child was healed. But it wasn’t the physical healings that impacted me; it was the revelation of God’s love.”

Muslim man who got healed in the train station (Click to enlarge)When the team arrived in Izhevsk in central Russia, they were told to prepare to minister in a hospital for special-needs children. “I was really looking forward to the opportunity to minister to these kids, however, when we arrived at the hospital, it was under quarantine. We were not allowed in.”

While the hospital dealt with the flu outbreak, the team began ministering to the mother of one of the children. She’d been wrestling with the misunderstanding that she had done something wrong and that God was punishing her child because of it. “I told her that God does not hold our sins against us—that He is a good God. And the healing for her daughter was provided through Jesus.” The life in Austin’s words set the woman free from guilt. She surrendered her life to Christ and was baptized in the Holy Spirit at that moment!

Conference in Izhevsk, Russia (Click to enlarge)Later that night as Austin lay in bed reviewing his day, he found himself wishing he had been able to minister in the hospital. God spoke to his heart and said, “I sent you over 12,500 miles by plane to minister to that woman. And if she were the only woman you were able to personally touch, this trip was a success in My eyes!” At that moment, Austin realized what an unrelenting love God has for people. Not only has He given His Son, but as a Good Shepherd, He left the ninety-nine to find the one missing sheep from His pasture. “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost” (Matt. 18:11).


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)!