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Entries in Canada (2)

Monday
Sep092013

CBC-Toronto Opens Doors

Andrew and John Elshaw watch as the Director of CBC-Toronto, Abigail Elshaw addresses the audience at the first Gospel Truth Rally held in Toronto, Canada in 2012. (Click ot enlarge)Almost twenty years ago, John and Abigail (Abi) Elshaw were newlyweds living in England. Early in their marriage, the two were part of a ministry outreach team that had been invited to Abi's high school alma mater to perform for the Christian Lunch Club. While the team waited for the student audience to gather, John and Abi looked at some books about famous Christian missionaries. John picked up a book about a man named, Sir Wilfred Grenfell. Because John’s birth name is Grenfell, he was curious about the man's story. John found that Sir Wilfred was a missionary to Canada, and his motto was, “Preach the word: Heal the sick!” John looked at Abi and said, “I think the Lord is telling me that I am related to this man, and that I The book that the Lord used to spark the call to ministry in John's life. After looking at it John prayed, "Lord, I will go anywhere, but you have to open the door." (Click to enlarge)will succeed his ministry; where he healed naturally (Sir Wilfred was a doctor) I will heal supernaturally!” The two agreed, knowing that if that were true, God would have to open the necessary doors for them. Then, John put the book back on the shelf.

Based on the peek into the Elshaw's life in the paragraph above, it would appear that their lives and marriage were beautiful and harmonious as they travelled the countryside serving the King of Kings in the United Kingdom—unfortunately, that was not always the case. In the late 1990s, John and Abi's marriage was on the rocks, and they were struggling financially.

As the couple began to feel the squeeze of their financial situation they made necessary cutbacks, and cable TV was one of the first things to go. Without cable, Abi missed the programs she was used to watching on GOD TV, so Abi's friend would recorded six John and Abi's wedding day, 1995. (Click to enlarge)hours of GOD TV on a VHS tape, and give it to her. Abi would watch the tape, and give it back to her friend to record another six hours.

One day, Abi's friend gave her the tape cued up to Andrew's Gospel Truth broadcast and asked her to let him know what she thought of the message. On the tape, Andrew's opening words were, "Do you know it’s always God’s will to heal‽” Abi, having questioned why some people in church received healing and some didn't, was hooked, and she watched the whole program. John also viewed some of the program, but he was convinced that Andrew was a stereotypical American preacher—just after money, and he wasn't interested.

After Abi watched the program, she found that Andrew's products were available for free, and she ordered his teaching series Christian Survival Kit, followed by Harnessing Your Emotions. John and Abi graduated from CBC Colorado in 2006. Here they stand with Andrew. (Click to enlarge)"God suddenly showed me that contrary to my belief, I was the problem in our marriage! I started to change and John noticed. After that, John began to listen to Andrew too. Listening to Andrew’s teaching saved our marriage," Abi said.

Eventually, the Elshaws attended one of Andrew's annual Grace and Faith Conferences in the UK. Abi came away feeling as though they were to attend Charis Bible College, but at the time John felt differently. John said, “Jesus never went to Bible school, so I’m not going."

Abi adressing the third-year class at CBC-Walsall (West Midlands) in 2010. (Click to enlarge)As the couple continued to listen to Andrew's teaching, they realized that the call to ministry they once shared had been reawakened. They knew that CBC was the stepping stone, or necessary door, they needed to prepare to walk in their calling. Although the Elshaws originally thought they would attend CBC-Walsall (now called CBC-West Midlands) the two ended up leaving the UK to study in Colorado.

John and Abi moved to the United States in 2004 and graduated from CBC's two-year program in 2006. After graduation they returned to the UK, where they completed their third-year ministry training at CBC-West Midlands. After completing the program, John and Abi took positions on staff with Andrew Wommack Ministries Europe and CBC.John speaking in Heidelberg and CBC-South Africa. (Click to enlarge)

In 2007, the Elshaws were ordained by Andrew while visiting the Colorado campus. Immediately following the ordination ceremony, David Hardesty, the General Manager and COO of Andrew Wommack Ministries, approached John and Abi and said, “We’re looking to start a work in Canada, and I can’t stop thinking about you two. Is that something you would be interested in?” The Elshaws were excited by the thought of being a part of AWM's efforts in Canada, and memories of the day back in Abi's old high school began to flood their minds.

The process and preparation for the launch of CBC-Toronto has been six years in the making, during God used AWM's GM and COO, David Hardesty, to "open the door" in Canada for John and Abi. (Click to enlarge)which time they remained under the ministry's leadership in the UK. "We worked at CBC and AWME doing a variety of different jobs. Between us, we’ve worked in most departments in the ministry: on the helpline, GTR team, Worship teams, CBC Third-Year program, Pastoral Relations UK, Production, Audio Dept., Media/Graphics, and Finances," said Abi. She went on to say that they have also had the privilege of teaching at the school in Belfast, Ireland and at the campus in South Africa.

The Elshaws have had an awesome response to the announcement of the school's opening. Abi and John left England in March of 2013, and they are on the ground in Canada now with plans in Besides being home to CBC's first campus in Canada, Toronto, Ontario, is also the home of the world's tallest building, The CN Tower. (Click to enlarge)place to open the Toronto area campus this fall. "We still had several years to wait, but in June last year, when we attended the first Canadian Gospel Truth Rally, we saw things beginning to come together and here we are!" Abi said excitedly. At this year's Gospel Truth Rally, held on July 25, 40 people requested applications, and 80 more requested more information about the school.

Getting a hold of Andrew's teaching, and the revelation of God's unconditional love and grace, has changed everything for John and Abi. They both have a deeper relationship with the Lord and their marriage is intact. "We are more in love with each other today than when we first met— I never thought we’d make it past the first 5 years. We’ve been debt free and prospering since 2004, and we have seen so many miracles happen through Christ in us. We’ve left our country twice (that’s something I would never have done before) and we feel that we are just beginning to see the fulfillment of a calling that was initiated long ago," said Abi.

For more information about CBC-Toronto visit the AWM-Canada website or contact the Elshaws via email: abi@awmc.ca.

Monday
Apr012013

Francesca's Road to Freedom

Anxiety disorders with names such as: Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Emetophobia, which is the debilitating fear of vomiting, can be crippling, and all sound extremely unpleasant. To be diagnosed with any one of these disorders would indicate the severity of some form of trauma in one's life. But to be diagnosed with all of them, as Francesca was, would indicate that life had gone terribly wrong. Francesca had been struggling with these conditions for 27 years. Numerous medications, therapists, and every other kind of treatment available, all failed to help her overcome her vicious and obscenely abusive childhood. In fact, as Francesca Francesca spent her childhood unaware of true affection, and sustained constant physical and psychological abuse at the hands of those with whom she should have been safest. neared age 50, the trauma of her youth was compounded by the severe mistakes of her adult years, and she was getting progressively worse.

Recently Francesca stumbled upon Andrew's Gospel Truth program. At first she thought he was the most boring preacher on television, and she would change the channel when he would come on. "He wasn't the flashy, screaming, slapping-people-on-the-foreheads, selling-prayer-cloths-and-healing-water kind of guy. He just sat there and talked—like he was having a conversation with a friend in his living room," Francesca shared. Andrew's calm demeanor was too boring to keep her anxious mind interested for very long. Then, one morning, after a horrible night of not sleeping, struggling with panic attacks, flashbacks, and every other symptom that comes with PTSD, Francesca turned the TV on and there was Andrew teaching about hope. Hope—something Francesca had lost a As a child, Francesca misunderstood inappropriate contact as affection.long time ago. She had prayed to God for years to be healed, delivered, rescued and restored from the trauma she had suffered at the hands of those with whom she should have been safest. She begged, pleaded desperately and tried to make deals with God, all to no avail.

Something was different about that morning as she listened to Andrew. Suddenly, Francesca was filled with hope and she craved, in her own words, "literally, physically craved more of his teachings." She visited Andrew's website in search of more materials and was shocked and pleased to find all of his teachings downloadable and free. "I started downloading and listening day and night until I got so tired, I'd fall asleep listening," said Francesca.

After soaking in the revelation of Jesus found throughout Andrew's messages, Francesca decided to rededicate her life to Jesus. She called Andrew's Help Line and a prayer The trauma sustained during childhood, negatively affected Francesca's judgment as an adult. minister helped her receive Salvation. Since that day, Francesca has been devouring Andrew's teachings. "I have given up watching TV. I'm just not interested anymore and yet, before that, TV was my constant companion, the one thing that served as a distraction from my situation. Now, all I want to listen to is Andrew's teachings, and I have set my alarm for 7:20 a.m. every morning, so I can start my day by watching him on TV every weekday at 7:30 a.m., which is when The Gospel Truth airs here in Toronto," said Francesca enthusiastically.

What modern medicine and psychiatry couldn't do in 27 years, Andrew's Christ-centered teachings accomplished in a few short days. Francesca is now completely free of all PTSD-related symptoms and she says she has a peace that surpasses all understanding. "I was so mad at God for not answering my prayers, so much so that I had become suicidal. I didn't care if I went to hell because I was already living in hell here The crushing weight of her youth coupled with multiple abortions and two failed marriages left Francesca suicidal. on earth. I was also at a point where I was seriously considering turning to the devil for help because I saw "bad" people living wonderful, healthy, free lives, and I was a prisoner in my own body and God wasn't helping me. I wanted the pain to stop so badly that if it meant turning to the devil for help, I was going to do it," said Francesca.

Finally, after being tortured for 27 painful years, Francesca has been delivered from the spirit of debilitating fear, and all her other debilitating, physical and psychological, symptoms are gone as well. Francesca is excited about life now. She feels good, and she has hope. Francesca said, "It wasn't God who wasn't doing anything, it was me who was doing all the wrong things. Now that I have finally been healed, I have to rebuild a life from scratch because everything I had and worked hard After hearing Andrew teach about the Hope found in Jesus, Francesca found true freedom! The revelation of Jesus set her free from a lifetime of torture.for, this debilitating fear took away: My career, my finances, my house, my marriage, my peace, my joy...and almost my faith in God."

While Francesca rebuilds her life free from the torment of anxiety, she has new-found desires in her heart. Besides having the desire to acquire and complete CBC's correspondence program, Francesca has hope-filled dreams of one day becoming a counselor. She also wants to be able to give back to Andrew's ministry. While her current financial situation prevents her from giving as generously as she would like, she has found another way to be a blessing; she has offered her time as a volunteer at the ministry's offices in Toronto.

Francesca is grateful for Andrew's ministry and his teaching of the Gospel Truth. She said, "You may very well have saved my life because while I did not want to kill myself (I'm a mom and therefore don't have the luxury of suicide) it certainly was something that entered my mind on a daily basis. I would say to myself, 'If this gets to a point where I really can't handle any more, I can always kill myself to make the pain and the fear stop.' Well, the pain and fear have stopped—thanks to God and to Andrew."