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Entries in CBC Extension Schools (39)

Monday
Oct212013

There's a New CBC Campus in Florida

The O'Briens at the beach... Yvonne and Grady (center, right) are the Directors of CBC-Miami. (Click to enlarge)In 2010, we posted the story of how the Lord brought CBC graduates, Grady and Yvonne O'Brien together and how they successfully launched a Charis Bible College extension school in Northern Ireland. Since that time, the O'Briens have raised up a new leader for the school in the United Kingdom and followed the Lord's leading to establish a second school, this time in the United States—southern Florida to be exact.

Allan Bruce, the Director of CBC-Belfast. (Click to enlarge)After spending six years pioneering and establishing the CBC campus on the eastern side of Belfast, the O'Briens and their children knew their time on the emerald isle was drawing to a close. This was evidenced by the fact that they all had a growing desire to return to the U.S. As their time in Northern Ireland came to an end, Grady and Yvonne began the transitioning leadership to CBC-Belfast graduate, Allan Bruce, and the school continues on in his capable hands.

When the transition in Belfast was complete, the O'Brien's headed west. Although uncertain of their final destination in the U.S., their eldest son, Liam, had already moved to the States to attend CBC-Colorado, so the family chose to join him in Colorado Springs. Grady and Yvonne were happy to reconnect with their son, old friends and their ministry family at CBC and AWM.

CBC-Colorado graduate, Liam O'Brien, ministering at a youth camp. (Click to enlarge)The O'Briens spent their first year back in America working with friend and mentor, Wendell Parr, the Director of AWM's World Outreach. They assisted his staff, interviewing potential directors for future CBC extension schools, knowing in their hearts the position was temporary. During their time with Wendell and AWM, they remained open to the Lord, patiently waiting for His leading. Yvonne said, "There were several ministry opportunities offered to us, and as good as they all sounded, we just did not have peace about them (Colossians 3:15).

The O'Briens did some traveling and visited with their good friends and fellow CBC graduates, Tom and Cindy Boyd, the Directors of CBC in Atlanta, and Danon and Amanda Winter, the Directors of CBC-Florida, both of whom encouraged them to take their time before making a decision regarding their family's next step in ministry.

Grady with AWM World Outreach Director, Wendell Parr.
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With their east coast trip behind them, the O'Briens were at a loss. For the first time, the family lacked unity in their desired direction. "We came to a place where we knew what we did not want to do but had no idea what we did want to do. Our children wanted to stay in the U.S., they were enjoying being home, and Grady and I had desires to check out South and Central America. It just looked like we all wanted to go in different directions. This was a first for us as a family," Yvonne commented candidly.

One common thread in the family's next destination debate was that they had all thoroughly enjoyed their previous visit to Florida. The family decided to seek the Lord with focused attention on the Sunshine State. As the Lord would have it... the O'Briens were promptly offered a place to stay in Jacksonville.

Yvonne with friend and CBC graduate, Amanda Winter, from CBC-Florida in Jacksonville. (Click to enlarge)As much as the O'Briens enjoyed their time visiting the northern part of the state, and the time they were given to minister at the CBC campus in Jacksonville, there was a stirring in their hearts to go further south. Although both Grady and Yvonne shared the same desire to investigate the southern part of the state, neither had mentioned it to the other. Finally, the two discussed the idea and were in agreement that they should check it out. Just after agreeing to head south, the O'Briens received a phone call asking if they would be interested in directing a new CBC campus in the Miami area.

"We both laughed," said Yvonne with a chuckle, "It seems that our desires are His desires also. So here's the fun part... We live in the USA, and we are ministering to people from all over the world (as South Florida is such a melting pot of so many nations). We got the desires of our heart, and so did our children. Only God could do that!"

Yvonne and Grady, Directors of CBC-Miami. (Click to enlarge)In April, Andrew hosted a well attended, one night Gospel Truth Rally in the Miami area, and the announcement of the O'Briens plans for a new campus received a great response. Grady and Yvonne made the necessary preparations to start the school, and in September the new campus opened its doors in Pompano Beach, the northern edge of the Miami Metropolitan Area.

The O'Briens journey between Northern Ireland and southern Florida was one of prayer and patience, and they are thankful for the support and encouragement they received from their CBC and AWM family. Now settled in their new surroundings, the couple has high hopes for their ministry to the people of the Miami area. They can't wait to reveal to each student, their true identity in Christ and who He is in each one of them.

To learn more about the school, visit the CBC-Miami website. For more information about Grady and Yvonne's family's adventures in ministry, visit the O'Brien Ministries webpage.

The O'Briens began holding classes at CBC-Miami in September. (Click to enlarge)

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.

Thursday
Aug222013

Multiplication of Grace: CBC-Zimbabwe 

Keith Chigondo, a graduate of Charis Bible Training Center in St. Petersburg, Russia and the Director of Charis Bible College-Zimbabwe. (Click to enlarge)Throughout his academic career, Zimbabwean, Keith Chigondo, was always very good with numbers. In fact, as a high school senior, in 2003, he was awarded a Gold medal for winning the Mathematics Olympiad in Zimbabwe. Keith had lived a normal teenage life throughout high school and had simple aspirations. He planned to attend university, find a good, well-paying job and live happily ever after with his girlfriend and future wife. This plan seemed ideal at the time.

In 2004, at age 19, as Keith waited to go to university, his mother came across an advertisement in the local newspaper offering undergraduate scholarships to study in Russia. Although Keith preferred to remain in Zimbabwe and to maintain his relationship with his Keith and some friends during the early days of his first year in Russia.
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girlfriend, his mother was persistent. Keith decided to apply for a scholarship to study statistics; something he hoped would help him secure employment in field of Actuarial Science. He was awarded the scholarship and made arrangements to move to Russia.

"The scholarship was as a result of a bilateral agreement between Zimbabwe and Russia. The Russian government paid for my academic fees and accommodation, while the Zimbabwean government gave me upkeep stipends for my living expenses. My government bought my plane ticket and sent me out in September of 2004," Keith shared.

After completing his first year of studies and learning the Russian language in the city of Voronezh, Keith was transferred Keith visitng Moscow. (Click to enlarge)to St. Petersburg to continue his education. Upon his arrival in St. Petersburg, Keith met two other Zimbabwean students at the train station. During their conversation, the two invited Keith to their church, and Keith happily accepted their invitation. It was at the church that he met Carrie Pickett, the Director of Charis Bible Training Center in Russia (an extension of Andrew's Charis Bible College).

During their introduction, Carrie shared a word of knowledge with Keith and encouraged him to be attentive to the Lord because she sensed that He was about to do something significant in Keith's life. Carrie also invited Keith to check out CBTC. A short time later, Keith Keith ministering in the Congo during his CBTC second year mission trip.
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enrolled at the Training Center; like many foreign students, he managed his university studies during the day and went to Charis at night.

The time Keith spent at CBTC impacted him in a significant way. After his second year in Russia, and his first year at CBTC, Keith lost interest in pursuing a career in statistics, and instead he desired to plant a CBC campus in Zimbabwe. Although he wanted to leave school to focus on ministry, he would have lost all of his scholarship and government funding, which would have forced him to leave Russia. Keith said, "The love and friendship I got there, as well as the Word, changed me and my desires. By the end of second year, I no longer desired the big life I Keith ministering alongside Carrie and Mike Pickett in Izhevsk, Russia.
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had planned, and I wanted to spread the Gospel message." Although his heart was focused on ministering the word, Keith forced himself to complete the requirements so he could stay in Russia and study at CBTC. His diligence paid off and he earned his bachelor's degree in Statistics.

While finishing his degree, Keith was not content with studying the Word for three hours each evening at CBTC; he also spent his free time downloading and listening to Andrew’s messages. He listened to all of them continuously. As a result, his whole approach to life changed. Reflecting on his time in Russia Keith said, "I figured attending Bible school would keep me busy, but never knew it was God’s plan. When I look back at things, I see the real reason I went was to attend CBTC, Keith's class poses for a picture with Andrew during his 2008 visit to Russia. Front row from left: Mark and Sarah VanFrachen, Mike and Carrie Pickett, Andrew, Vladimir Tcys, CBC-Colorado grads and missionaries, Judy Gonnerman and (Click to enlarge)even though I only thought it was for Statistics. The greatest thing that transformed my life was realizing what the Gospel message is all about. Through the many teachings, mainly by Andrew, I got to understand that God’s desire has always been to make us His children. That alone gave me a new way with which to look at life and I decided to live for the One who died for me."

In order to honor his sponsoring government, Keith returned to Zimbabwe after graduation and took a job as an agricultural statistician. A position that would have been satisfying at one time, but after experiencing God's Grace, he had no peace about his work—the In the early days of CBC-Zimbabwe, Keith (left) and fellow CBC graduate, Ottilia (right) poured into the lives of just two students. (Click to enlarge)desire to share the Gospel consumed him. "The Lord put the scriptures in Haggai on my heart to build him a house and to focus on setting up CBC," said Keith.

Unable to contain his revelation, Keith began to lead Bible studies after work. Eight months passed, and he received a call from Zimbabwean, Ottilia Nyagura, a CBC-Walsall (West Midlands) graduate. During the call she shared her desire to collaborate and launch a CBC campus in Zimbabwe. Over the course of the next several months, the two managed to put the necessary pieces together to launch the school. Their efforts to get the new extension campus The ad that ran in the local paper. (Click to enlarge)off the ground were helped by generous donations from the staff at both CBC-Walsall and CBTC. CBC-Zimbabwe opened in Harare on October 3, 2011.

Although the school opened with only two students, both Keith and Ottilia were committed to seeing the school succeed. Keith was confident in his calling, and as such quit his job as a statistician. This caused no small stir in his family as they had expected him to be a successful career person. His fiancé could not accept his decision and the uncertain financial situation that accompanied Keith's choice—she walked away from their relationship.

After 15 months of pouring their hearts into two students, Keith and Ottilia decided to put an advertisement for the school in the local paper. The response was tremendous; within three Keith, stands with Andrew during his ordination ceremony in July. Carrie and Mike Pickett are in the foreground, with (L-R: Greg Mohr, Dean of Education; Gary Luecke, Director of CBC-Colorado; Daniel Amstutz, Director of the School of Worship and Healing School; George Appleton, Director CBS-Plymouth and Wendell Parr the Director of AWM World Outreach (Click to enlarge)days, CBC-Zimbabwe fielded more than 100 calls and emails from people interested in enrollment. One week later the school opened with 10 students in class, and today they are up to 106 students participating through correspondence!

This response is due, at least in part, to Andrew's recognizable presence in the region through GOD TV, TBN, and Daystar—the viewers in Zimbabwe want more of what they see on TV every day. As word continues to spread about CBC-Zimbabwe, the class sizes are sure to expand exponentially. This could be why the Lord chose a mathematician to plant the school—to turn large numbers of students to the One.

Classes meet Monday through Friday at 51 Churchill Avenue, Alexandria Park in Harare. To find out more about CBC-Zimbabwe, contact Keith via email: enquiries@cbc.awmzim.net or call 0772 486 956.