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Signs Following in Mexico

Charis missions team to Mexico (Click to enlarge)The mission of Charis Bible College is to—

“equip faithful men and women for the work of the ministry by teaching spiritual truths, imparting biblical knowledge, providing practical ministry opportunities, and grounding students in the message of God’s unconditional love and grace.”

To that aim, every year Charis sends its second-year students on missions trips throughout the world to give them hands-on ministry experience in a variety of settings. Recently a team of students, led by Joyce Ball, returned from Mexico with an amazing testimony!

During a prayer meeting two days before the students were to fly out, a prophecy was given to the team: “You are being sent as an encouragement—especially to ‘Margarita’… You will reap a harvest that someone else has sown.”

When Joyce’s team landed in Mexico, they partnered with a group of Charis Mexico students to discuss their upcoming outreach in a nearby mountain village. Pastor Martin, a local Charis student, had been spending a lot of time shepherding a church there but was discouraged by their lack of fruit. Apparently, his mother—Margarita—had spent the last years of her life sowing into that body of believers with nothing to show for it. After encouraging one another in the Word, the team members went to bed eager for their coming day of ministry.

Adam and Margaret prayed for a sick lady named Juanita (Click to enlarge)In the village the next morning, the Charis teams delivered personal invitations for the upcoming ministry events and prayed for every person who would grant them permission. Mick, a team member from Colorado, remembers, “We prayed for many people, but one old woman named Juanita changed the atmosphere of our trip. Adam and Margaret laid hands on her and prayed in faith. They didn’t notice any changes, but left her home believing she was healed.”

The next day dawned bright and sunny. The missions team left early to set up for their evangelistic event in the village. Their plans included activities for the children, skits, and a short salvation message that emphasized Jesus’ work to set us free from the power of sin and give us brand-new hearts. Nearly 300 people attended! It was the largest event the village had ever experienced. “After the message, we gave a salvation invitation, to which 150 people responded!” Mick recalls.

Juanita gave her healing testimony (Click to enlarge)Eager to use what they had been receiving in class, the Charis students opened the altars for healing ministry. Very few people responded, until one little old lady came out of the crowd to share her testimony of healing—a lady named Juanita. The floodgates opened and hundreds were ministered to in prayer! “It was a powerful time,” a team member recalls.

Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

Mark 16:20
(New International Version)


What God Made Clean

Sydney Stamy - Charis Bible College student (Click to enlarge)Recently a team of Charis Bible College students partnered with the European Initiative to bring the light of the Gospel into the darkest reaches of Eastern Europe.

There, they ministered throughout major cities, small villages, in a children’s hospital, and at three Budapest public schools. Two hundred and forty-five people made decisions for Christ during their two week stay! But it seems that the students were most affected.

“The verse in Acts kept rattling through my memory as our bus bounced and tumbled down the dirt roads on our journey to the Roma villages: ‘Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean’ (Acts 10:15, New Living Translation). We had met the children from this particular village the evening before, and their bright eyes and radiant smiles flashed across my mind as I prepared my heart to experience the reality of their lives. Once I stepped off the bus, the children embraced me and clung to my arms and waist.”

Some of the kids (Click to enlarge)Bible college student and missions team member Sydney Stamy couldn’t fathom why these children would display such love to a complete stranger—especially to one who could not speak their language. “God reminded me that it was not about me; they were drawn to the Jesus inside me.”

The light of true Love drew people like magnets everywhere the missions team went. In the subways, crowds of twenty-five to fifty would gather as students portrayed that love through skits and music. In the schools, hundreds of eyes looked to their small group leaders to confirm the love and acceptance portrayed through those same skits.

“Words cannot capture the extravagance of God’s love that I felt on that [trip]. His love is deep and wide. God highly esteems His children and has constant thoughts about them. His love stretches beyond borders, across oceans, across the universe to reach them. He is near His children and pursues their hearts passionately. During my time in [Europe], I experienced a mere glimpse of God’s compassion for His people and recognized that, more than ever, there is a battle waging for the hearts of [people],” Sydney recalls.

A Charis student showing the love of Jesus (Click to enlarge)As believers, we must continue to search out the lost and fight for the wounded souls of God’s children so they can gaze in wonder with childlike faith at His goodness—so they, too, have the opportunity to cling to Love the way the children clung to Sydney Stamy.

Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. [14] But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. [15] Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” [16] And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.

Mark 10:13-16 (New King James Version)


Redeeming the Arts

Nathaniel Carter (Click to enlarge)Talk to someone even remotely engaged in today’s culture, and you’ll likely find a person well-versed in the music, movies, and accompanying gossip of our time. In many instances, the arts have become a cesspool for immorality and hopelessness. But for one man, this fact sparked a life-purpose to see the church rise up and use her God-given talents to honor Him and bring hope to a lost world.

“I have always looked at the artistic excellence of the world and seen how people’s God-given gifts are twisted to proliferate Satan’s influence in our culture,” Charis Bible College student Nathaniel Carter shared in a recent interview. “Recently I started asking myself why the church hasn’t recognized this powerful tool that’s been left on the shelf.”

Nate grew up in a Christian home surrounded by godly examples of people using their talents to honor the Giver, but much of what he saw seemed tied to religious dos and don’ts. “I grew up knowing the Word of God but rarely experiencing it. I knew the expectations of the religion I grew up in, but I had never seen the love of God displayed to me in the way I now understand it. I didn’t really know the God of the Bible—and the Holy Spirit kept confirming to me that I would find what I needed at Charis.”

Even though he had a steady job, a fine arts degree from a respected university, and a portfolio that qualified him as a professional musician and actor, Nate took Philippians 3:13-14 to heart. He decided to “forget those things which are behind and press on toward the goal” of God’s high calling for his life.

Nate worked behind the scenes to produce the Christmas at Charis productions
(Click to enlarge)
“At Charis, I discovered that nothing can trump the satisfaction of true relationship with God. It is something I can’t logically process—but I have experienced it! In my secular arts education, the concept of experiencing what you have theoretically understood is the cornerstone of the learning process, and praise God, it has become my spiritual cornerstone here.”

Jesus and His disciples (Click to enlarge)After Nate started attending Charis, he began recognizing needs that his previous education and experience gave him the ability to fill: “I started volunteering with the praise and worship team and the Audiovisual Department. After eight months, I was offered a part-time job. I worked faithfully with the AV department and, last October was offered a full-time position.” One of Nate’s first assignments was the month-long Christmas at Charis extravaganza. He became an integral part of the set design, production, and technical direction for each showcase. “The event really created a community within the college that gave students an avenue to use their giftings in ways many of them had never considered.” That’s what Charis is about: stirring the hearts of people to discover and use their God-given gifting to change the world.

Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Click to enlarge)“I’m so excited to be stepping into what God has planned for my life. I want to use my gifts to paint a picture of God from a perspective that most have never seen. We, the church, have a message worth sharing—we need to learn to do it with excellence and use every avenue God has given us to accomplish it. For me, that’s by redeeming the arts.”