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Meet Jessica: AWM's New Blog Writer

Jessica capturing the moments in the villages of central Russia (Click to enlarge)Brewing coffee, bright lanyards, and the sound of Bible pages turning—the new Charis Bible College (CBC) school year had officially begun. I was a third-year intern filled with optimism, opinions, and perhaps a little too much caffeine. As I prepared for classes, I did what any well-meaning intern would do when they’re a little unsure of the next step—I enrolled in the School of Ministry. Who could go wrong with that, right?

As the days turned into weeks, my uneasy conscience slowly started to distract my mind from the classes I was in. There was a restlessness in my heart that I felt like no one around me fully understood. The classes were thought provoking, and the instructors were intelligent and insightful; however, there was a still, small voice on the inside of me, saying, “I wonder what they’re doing in Media School right now.” Thankfully, it didn’t take long for me to realize this was indeed the Holy Spirit guiding me, through the desires of my heart, down the path He had in place for me. I’m so grateful God continually pursues each one of us, even when we overthink the simplest things.

After setting up a meeting with the instructorsGathering footage in Cologne for the 2013 Germany Missions video (Click to enlarge) of the School of Media, Jeff and Autumn Nakkula, I began to share with them my heart and the experiences I had already had in the field. By the end of our conversation, they seemed bewildered and amazed that I wasn’t already in the Media program.

I repented.

On my first day of Media classes, I walked in with my MacBook in hand and my heart full of anticipation. I could hardly sit still. The first item on the agenda was logo design, and my mind took off at full speed from there. Suddenly, I became excited for each new day and for a chance to learn something that would help me become better at what I love to do. Although I don’t ever remember hearing a distinct voice saying, “Go to Media School,” I never thought of doing anything else once I Tracking the story in the outskirts of Boulder, Colorado (Click to enlarge)started. The Holy Spirit lives on the inside of me, and I don’t have to go looking for answers outside of my relationship with Him. As we grow closer, His thoughts become my thoughts, His desires become my desires, and His plan becomes my plan.

Since graduation, I’ve had the incredible honor of traveling around the United States and the world, shooting and producing videos. Recently, I returned from a six-month-long stay in Saint Petersburg, Russia. I assisted CBC directors Mike and Carrie Pickett there in multiplePrepping for interviews in Ijevsk, Russia for the 2014 Russia Mission Trip video
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 media projects, capturing the most amazing stories in the largest country on earth. Today I spend my days as a writer for Andrew Wommack Ministries, developing my skills even further, and looking forward to all of the beautiful things God has in store.

Now, I know I don’t have it all figured out quite yet. But I know what my passion is, and I know who is leading me. It’s because of this that I know I will accomplish with excellence what I need to do, no matter what the situation. This isn’t because I know it all. I don’t have to. I’ve got connections.


Times of Refreshing for Karamoja

Village life in the Karamoja region of Uganda. (Click to enlarge)“No water” is heard far too often across the land of Karamoja. A spine of extinct volcanoes makes up this subregion of Uganda—an area lacking basic necessities that most people will never have to go without. Any existing water is often undrinkable and accounts for half of all deaths. Years of war and rebellion have divided the people into two groups: those who have chosen to settle in the growing towns, and the more traditional tribesmen, who seek to maintain a lifestyle where cattle are the main currency.

A day in the life of a Karamojong woman is more difficult than most can even imagine. She’s up at sunrise, kisses her sleeping children, and starts out to begin the tedious job of collecting as many sticks as she can carry. As the heat soaks into her skin, she wipes the sweat from her brow, bundles the sticks together, and carries them on her head to the nearest market. A decision must now be made. Karamojong women, hauling bundles of sticks to market. (Click to enlarge)Does she use the sticks as firewood to boil and sanitize water for her family, or does she sell the sticks to buy food instead? Visions of her children start to appear in her tired mind, and she does what she knows will keep her family alive one more day.

Two years ago, Andrew traveled to a church in the city of Moroto, Uganda, where he was touched by the shocking reality of the Karamojong people, by far the poorest of the poor. He determined then that he wanted to do something to help change things for the people in these areas. Before Jesus left earth, He commanded His followers to go and make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19-20 [New King James Version], see also Mark 16:15-20). Andrew has taken this command to heart in that he desires to reach as far and as deep as possible with the Gospel. No geographical area or people group is excluded from Jesus’ command.

Today hundreds of people are being discipled in Karamoja through the Discipleship Evangelism course—primarily in larger towns but it’s steadily moving out to reach the more traditional tribes. Mark Rowe, the director of international operations for Andrew Wommack Ministries (AWM), has been boots-on-the-ground and was charged with the task of evaluating the effectiveness of the discipleship training (L-R) Mark Rowe, the International Director of AWM, and his traveling companion, CBC Business School graduate, Travis VanMater, visit with Pastor Francis Tumusiime in Uganda. (Click to enlarge)programs. He also researched ways the AWM team could dig even deeper to help turn things around in one of the world’s most impoverished regions. Arid, inhospitable, hard to reach, and void of sufficient water are just a few words that describe the harsh realities facing the Karamojong people every day.

The people of Karamoja are soon to experience times of refreshing, there can be no doubt about that. That includes more than just water. Mark and his team are ambassadors for God so the Karamojong might drink of the living water—Jesus—so they’ll never thirst again. This is only the beginning; the best is yet to come.


Unraveling the Bonds of Fear

Amanda Bassett was healed from epilepsy and set free from the grip fear had on her life. (Click to enlarge)“Fear in general, fear of being alone, fear of losing control…any horrible thing I could imagine, I was terrified it was going to happen to me or I was going to do it.” Amanda Bassett accepted Jesus as a child, but for more than two decades, fear dominated her life and, eventually, manifested into something much worse.

“I started noticing symptoms of the seizures when I was about nine years old. I had panic attacks where my mom would hold me down on my bed and I would be shaking. I couldn’t stop because I was so terrified—terrified that I would kill someone, kill myself, or any other horrible thing I could imagine. I was terrified it was going to happen to me.”

The fear of a seizure was always in the back of her mind. (Click to enlarge)By age fifteen, the small seizures became a way of life and the relentless cycle drove Amanda into seclusion. The fear of a seizure was always in the back of her mind. She had trouble thinking clearly and even completing sentences. It may have appeared as though she only had 5 little seizures in a day, but in reality, it was more like 100 or 200.

In high school, Amanda began to isolate herself even more than before, spending most of her teen years in a pitch-black room, fast asleep. Being around other people became awkward and troublesome, and planning for college became a luxury she physically could not afford. “I didn’t think I had a hope or a future. I thought, I’m going to sleep my life away and just hope it ends—get it over with.”

In a state of total misery, Amanda turned to God for answers, knowing that something had to be missing in her relationship with Christ. Her mom started watching Andrew Wommack in 2010. At first, Amanda didn’t really care what he had to say—he was just another televangelist. But then, she started to feel God drawing her into something more. He began to reveal that something was there that she wasn’t getting.

As Amanda turned to God, she felt him drawing her into something more. (Click to enlarge)Amanda began listening to Andrew for herself on the Gospel Truth program online and was shocked by what she was hearing. Her mom began encouraging her to pray for her healing from epilepsy, and one day, on the floor of her living room, Amanda’s life changed forever. “The 700 Club was on, and I saw people getting healed. I began to imagine how I could be one of those people.” Amanda knelt down by the television and completely put her faith in God. “I prayed something to the effect of, ‘God, please heal me of epilepsy now,’ and before I’d finished my sentence, the host said, ‘There’s someone with epilepsy who’s being healed right now. Put your hand on your head and be healed in Jesus’ name.’

“From listening to Andrew, I knew that healing doesn’t happen just because you feel something. When I put my hand on my head, honestly, I didn’t feel anything, but I knew better than to go merely by what I feel. I said to myself, ‘I’m healed!’

Amanda began to understand that healing is in God’s Word , and it’s by relying on His Word, and not on our feelings, that we see His promises manifest in our lives. “By the seventh day, all my headaches were gone, I felt so much clarity, and I could even have a conversation without doing anything weird. I didn’t feel fear—fear was gone.”

Amanda began to understand that healing is in God’s Word.
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Grateful for her healing and growing relationship with God, Amanda decided to take it one step further and go to Charis Bible College (CBC) because it was Andrew’s school. She knew the teaching, but she wanted to be around other people who were believing God for themselves. She had a desire to absorb that atmosphere.

Growing up, Amanda always thought that God only had a plan and a will for a select few people, not everyone. “So, when Andrew taught that God has a purpose for every single person on this planet, I got so excited. At that point, the only thing I cared about was what God had for me. Now that I’m not bound, I can do whatever He wants me to!

Amanda soon discovered that CBC offered more than just teaching on God’s Word. She entered the Third Year Media School and discovered her passion in life: “I really discovered a love for video making. I want to make videos that touch people’s lives and inspire them.”

Amanda and Jeff Nakkula, Co-Director of CBC's Media School reviewing Amanda's work as a third-year student.
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Now Amanda has that hope and future she thought she’d never have:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11, New International Version, emphasis added

“Jesus is my Savior, but He is also my Comforter. So, anywhere I go, I know He’s with me, doors will open, and He has a plan for me. He has somewhere He wants me to be,” Amanda declares. She goes on to say, “CBC has made me feel more established in my identity, more confident with opportunities in life, and more emotionally stable within myself. Now I feel like it’s an automatic reflex to turn to God when fear or discouragement comes up. I feel equipped for life.”

The partners and friends of Andrew Wommack Ministries have provided a place where people like Amanda can become deeply established in God’s Word. With a story in her heart and a camera in her hand, Amanda is free to tell not only her own story but also the stories of thousands more to come. There’s no limit to what God can do with a life fully surrendered to Him!