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Entries in Australia (2)

Monday
Jun162014

Australia's Gold Coast: Andrew Ministers Down Under 

The seaside skyline in Gold Coast, Australia.
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In October 2013, Andrew headed Down Under for a series of meetings that kicked off in Victor Harbor and culminated in the Gold Coast. In both Victor Harbor and Melbourne, Andrew preached to packed-out churches where people had flown in from across Australia, New Zealand, India, Indonesia, and the South Sea Islands, in expectancy of the miraculous. God did not disappoint, as many were baptized in the Holy Spirit and healed both emotionally and physically.

Andrew was encouraged as he met with Pastor Chad Mansbridge of Bayside Church International in Victor Harbor, who launched the first Charis Bible College (CBC) Co-op school in Australia in February 2014. This program will enable like-faith churches across Australia to host the first-year CBC program for local correspondence students and to open up the DVD instruction to other Christians, church members, and leaders. Pastor Andrew MaGrath of Hope City Church hosted the Melbourne meetings and will soon be incorporating various CBC correspondence courses into his church’s School of Ministry.

Andrew speaking at the Glorious Grace Conference in Victor Harbor, Australia.
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After leaving Melbourne, Andrew headed to the Gold Coast to hold the first-ever Gospel Truth Seminar (GTS) in this magnificent area of Australia. The CBC Gold Coast team, Byron and Leesa Hamilton, David Carter, and Jessica Sharp, hosted the GTS at the Dream Centre, October 31-November 2. The team was concurrently in preparations to launch Australia’s first CBC, which opened its doors in February 2014.

CBC Gold Coast became a reality when the prayers of one man, Rod Smith, met with the faithful obedience of one couple, the Hamiltons, during the summer of 2010. It was then that Smith prayed fervently for God to bring a CBC to the Gold Coast area. Simultaneously, the Hamiltons were responding to the Lord’s call to move from Springfield, Missouri, to Colorado Springs to attend CBC Colorado. Little did they Andrew ministering to a packed house at Hope City Church in Melbourne. (Click to enlarge)know that God was preparing them to be the answer to Smith’s prayer.

After graduating from CBC in 2012, the Hamiltons flew to Australia, Byron’s homeland, to visit his relatives along with Andrew Wommack Ministries (AWM) partners throughout the continent. When they arrived in the Gold Coast, they met Rod and Lisa Smith. The Hamiltons informed the Smiths that they were scouting the land for a good place for “someone” to develop a CBC in Australia—never thinking that “someone” was them!

Upon arriving back in Colorado to begin their third year at CBC, Leesa shared with classmates about her trip to Australia and the wonderful people of the Gold Coast. As she did, the Holy Andrew and CBC Colorado Director, Gary Lueke, stand with AWM Australia/CBC Gold Coast team: Byron and Leesa Hamilton (center), CBC Colorado graduates, David Carter (far left) and Jessica Sharp (right). (Click to enlarge)Spirit spoke to her heart about God’s plan for her and her husband to be that “someone.” Once it was settled in the Hamiltons’ hearts that they would be returning to the Gold Coast to launch a CBC, they shared their news with the Smiths. But Rod already had some “inside” information about the new school. Two days before Rod received their phone call, God had told him to stop praying for a CBC Gold Coast because his prayer had already been answered.

GTS Makes Its Way to the Gold Coast

Andrew arrived early on opening night in order to personally thank the thirty-five prayer ministers who had generously volunteered to serve during the conference. The volunteer team consisted of local pastors, AWM partners, and ministry leaders with their Andrew greeting guests at the Gospel Truth Seminar in Gold Coast. (Click to enlarge)teams. After spending time with the volunteers, Andrew was welcomed by a line of people that had already formed in anticipation of receiving prayer and ministry. After sharing stories of how AWM had changed their lives through radio and television, CDs and DVDs, books, and other resources, the crowd thanked Andrew for coming, letting him know they had waited many years for him to make his way to their area.

To Andrew’s pleasant surprise, nearly 600 people were on hand for each of the five sessions to hear the life-changing message of the Gospel. At the end of the services, people flooded to the altar to receive salvation, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and miraculous healings. Eighty-seven people in all received the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues, including ex-pastors and new Prayer ministry at the Gold Coast GTS.
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believers alike. One woman, who had been trying to pray in tongues for twenty-two years, finally received her prayer language after hearing what the Bible teaches about the baptism in the Holy Spirit. She couldn’t believe how easy it really was to receive.

Receiving the message of grace and faith was a huge step for the Australian people, many of whom come from denominational and legalistic backgrounds. It was a fresh wind to many in attendance who had never heard God’s Word taught the way Andrew teaches it. One man admitted, “My wife didn’t want to come to the conference; she only came to spend time with me. After listening to the nearly-too-good-to-be-true news of grace, she was so excited that she went to the bookstore and bought books, CDs, and workbooks. She could hardly wait to get home to start studying. It was already changing her life.”

Even before the meetings ended, reports began streaming in from the prayer team of all sorts of healings, including an elderly woman’s hearing that was restored and a person incapacitated by fear who was delivered and set free. Many others were set free from depression and religious bondages as they heard the Good News for the very first time. And now, well after the meetings have concluded, Byron and Leesa Hamilton continue to receive reports from those who discovered they were healed of chronic conditions, such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, allergies, and more.

Charis Bible College Gold Coast.
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The hunger for God’s Word at the Gold Coast GTS didn’t end with the meetings. Over 200 people attended an informational session regarding CBC Gold Coast, resulting in preregistrations and interest cards being completed for possible attendance at the new Bible college.

As this article is being written, plans are already being made by the CBC Gold Coast team for another GTS Down Under. If the anticipation for a move of God is as great as it was at this GTS, it should be an exciting time!

This post has been adapted and reprinted from the article "On the Road with Andrew... Gold Coast Australia October 2013" written by Byron Hamilton, and originally printed in the Spring/Summer 2014 edition of Andrew Wommack Ministries' Gospel Truth magazine.

Thursday
Aug082013

Charis Bible College - Gold Coast

Charis Bible College graduates, Byron and Leesa Hamilton. The Directors of Andrew Wommack Ministries Australia and CBC-Gold Coast.
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Just three years ago, Byron and Leesa Hamilton were living in Springfield, Missouri, when Byron began to feel a stirring in his heart to serve Andrew Wommack, in whatever capacity Andrew and his ministry needed. The desire to take a leap of faith resonated with Leesa, so the two made the decision to move to Colorado Springs and attend Charis Bible College. Neither of the Hamiltons knew what God was calling them to, or that they would eventually be the answer to prayers being prayed on the other side of the world.

Both Byron and Leesa were raised in Christian homes. Byron was born in Queensland, Australia, and after completing a Bachelors degree in Education, he served with Operation Mobilization, an Evangelical Christian missionary training organization. He traveled and served with the organization in Asia, India, Africa and the Middle East. After returning to Australia, Byron took a position as the principal of Bayside Christian Academy in Wynnum-Manly, Queensland. Two years later, he moved to the United States to continue his education. He The Hamiltons celebrating Leesa's graduation. L-R: Jamie and Andrew, Leesa, daughter Kelsey, son Joshua, Byron, and son Jeremie.
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graduated in 1989 with a Master's degree in Theology at the Assemblies of God Seminary in Springfield, Missouri.

Leesa grew up in Arlington, Texas, where she attended a Baptist church. She accepted Jesus as her Savior when she was nineteen, and she was radically transformed. After attending Arlington Baptist College and Dallas Theological Seminary, she acted in and helped produce two short films as a member of the Master-Vision Christian Artists, and then she studied acting at Casa Manana Playhouse in Ft. Worth.

After Byron and Leesa met and married, they spent two decades in Missouri, established several businesses in Springfield, CBC graduates: Jeremie, Byron and Kelsey with Andrew and Leesa.
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raised their children, and served in various capacities within their local church body. In 2010, however, the couple stepped out of their comfort zone to pursue the stirring in Byron's heart—unaware that Colorado was just the starting point for a new faith adventure, and how their move would affect their whole family. Because of the exciting changes that took place in Byron and Leesa's lives through their studies at Charis, three of their adult children, Jeremie, Joshua, and Kelsey, moved to Colorado Springs in 2011 to join them at CBC.

Three weeks before Byron and Leesa graduated from CBC-Colorado, in May of 2012, Leesa began to feel a desire in her Byron and Leesa visiting with AWM supporters in Melbourne, Australia (Click to enlarge)heart about a particular place. As she pondered what the stirring meant, she was reminded of something God had asked her back in 2006 and again in 2008. “If I called you to Australia would you go?” Both times Leesa’s response was, “If you equip me and enable me Lord—I will go.

It was that summer, following graduation from CBC, that God led the Hamiltons to visit Australia. When partners of Andrew Wommack Ministries found out that the Hamiltons were planning a visit to Australia, the couple received multiple invitations to speak and minister in places such as Melbourne, Sydney, Newcastle and the Gold Coast.

Byron teaching in Sydney, Australia.
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While in Australia, Byron and Leesa kept their eyes open for a good location for someone to plant a Bible college. When they made their way to Australia's Gold Coast, the Hamiltons became keenly aware of God’s presence and peace. It was in the Gold Coast that they met a man named Rod Smith. Rod, an administrator at a local church, invited the Hamiltons to his home, and there was an instant unity in spirit between Byron and Leesa and Rod and his wife, Lisa. The Hamiltons soon found out that Rod had been praying specifically for a Charis Bible College to be planted in the Gold Coast/Brisbane area.

Leesa sharing the Hamilton's vision for Australia with students at CBC-Florida. (Click to enlarge)Once they had returned to Colorado Springs, the Hamiltons came to the conclusion that they were the someones God was calling to Australia, and they were the answer to Rod’s prayer. Pieces of the Hamilton's faith puzzle, beginning with the stirring in their hearts to attend CBC, to the question God asked Leesa about Australia, finally fit together for the couple. The Hamiltons set up a Skype date with Rod to let him know of their plans to open a CBC campus in Australia. Rod was amazed. A week before Byron and Leesa called him, God told Rod his prayers for a CBC extension school in Australia had been answered. “When you question why God is leading you in ways you don’t understand—remember this story and know—understanding Andrew and CBC-Colorado Director, Gary Lueke, stand with AWM/CBC team heading to Australia. The Hamiltons will be joined by CBC-Colorado graduates, David Carter (far left) and Jessica Sharp (right). (Click to enlarge)will come one day. You are the answer to someone’s prayers!” Leesa said.

Leesa completed a third year of ministry training in preparation to direct CBC-Gold Coast, which is set to open in February of 2014. Byron will be taking on the task of launching Andrew Wommack Ministries Australia. The Australia team, Byron and Leesa, along with CBC grads, David Carter and Jessica Sharp, left America for the Gold Coast at the beginning of August and they are filled with anticipation for what God has in store for Australia. The team looks forward to hosting the Gold Coast Gospel Truth Seminar with Andrew Wommack on October 31– November 2, 2013.

To learn more about the Hamilton's upcoming events, to follow their progress, and to sign up for their newsletter, visit their ministry page, Grace and Faith Ministries and follow them on Facebook.