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Entries in CBC Grads In Ministry (48)

Monday
Mar242014

The Bassett's Essential Preparation 

Mark Bassett, Administrative Director of Andrew Wommack Ministries World Outreach (Click to enlarge)As the sun was setting on the 20th century, Mark Bassett, like many, was contemplating his future. At the time, he and his wife, Tenese, were enjoying the rewards of Mark's success as an athlete. He had carved out a name for himself in the world of windsurfing, a name that carried over into the business side of the sport, where he also found success in the manufacturing and sales of custom windsurfing boards bearing his name. While the Bassetts were enjoying life, Mark sensed in his heart that the Lord had more for him.

It was common for Mark to listen to preachers on the radio as he worked in his shop, crafting his boards. He had a few ministers he enjoyed listening to, but he was quick to change the In the 1990s, Mark carved out a name for himself in the world of windsurfing, but he sensed God had more for him.
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station after his favorite programs were finished. One day in 1997, Mark had his hands full as his selection of radio programs wrapped up and he was unable to change the station. As Mark continued to work he was aware that there was someone with a thick Texas twang talking in the background. Of course, it was Andrew speaking on the Gospel Truth program. Andrew grabbed Mark's attention only after he mentioned another minister, with whom he was familiar. Mark said, "I heard a preacher with a Texas accent talking about Smith Wigglesworth, and my ears perked up because I had enjoyed reading several books about Smith’s life and ministry. Andrew’s teaching that day really ministered to me, so I became a regular listener."

After graduating from CBC-Colorado, Mark and his wife Tenese planted CBC-Chicago, the first extension school in the United States. Here Andrew, visits Tenese, and Mark in the Windy City (Click to enlarge)Mark was particularly impacted by Andrew's teaching series, Spirit, Soul and Body. "It helped me see for the first time what happened in me when I got born-again and who I am now in Christ. It completely changed my understanding of the Bible and helped me understand so many passages of scriptures that I didn’t understand before," Mark shared.

It wasn't long before Mark heard Andrew mention Charis Bible College, and he thought to himself, If I ever go to a Bible college, that's the one. That thought became a seed in Mark's heart. In the fall of 2001, Mark and Tenese left their home on the gulf coast of Texas and enrolled in classes at CBC in Colorado. Attending CBC swung wide the doors of opportunity and destiny for the Bassetts.

Blessed by their time attending first-year classes, the Bassetts often talked about how awesome they thought it would be to take CBC and reproduce it in other locations. When discussing the idea, Tenese used the term, "CBC in a box." The Bassett's vision seemed like a far off dream because at the time, while Andrew's vision for the school was Praise & Worship at CBC-Chicago during the Bassett's time in Illinois. (Click to enlarge)expanding, there were still only two campuses; one in Colorado and one extension campus in the United Kingdom.

During the couple's second year at CBC, the two were scheduled to go on separate mission trips; Mark to Portugal, and Tenese to Russia. During some downtime in Portugal, Mark took a walk by himself and made a commitment to the Lord that he was willing to do whatever, and go wherever the Lord directed him. Interestingly, Linus Lefever, the Director of CBC at the time, also on the trip, asked Mark to take a walk with him the following morning. As the two strolled the same area Mark had covered the day before, Linus told Mark that it was his belief that he and Tenese should be the ones to start a CBC extension school in Chicago. Mark stands with Linus LeFever, then the Director of CBC-Colorado, during a visit to the Chicago campus. (Click to enlarge).In his heart, Mark's answer was yes, but he needed to make sure that Tenese was in agreement.

As it turned out the two were in agreement, and in September 2003 the Bassetts opened the doors of CBC-Chicago, the first Stateside extension of Charis Bible College. The Bassetts ran the school faithfully for four years before sensing a change in their role with the ministry. In 2007, they turned over the reins to one of their graduates, Cindy Quarles, the current Director of the Chicago campus.

Although Mark and Tenese stepped away from full-time ministry for a season, they were confident God had more ministry in A packed house at CBC-Chicago, as students waited to hear from a guest speaker.
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store for them. They held on to God's word, and words of prophesy the Lord had spoken to them through Andrew, while they worked with CBC.

Among the most pointed and encouraging things Andrew spoke over the couple were these words from 2004, "Boy the Lord just shows me that you guys are spiritually pregnant. That you’ve got a lot on the inside of you that you’ve never seen on the outside. You are seeing God do miracles in Chicago, raising up this Bible college, but you know what, you’ve already looked beyond that. There are many Bible colleges on the inside of you." Also, in 2007, right before the Bassetts turned CBC-Chicago over to Cindy, Andrew said, "The Bible says that you can war a good warfare by the prophecies which go before, and I just say Mark and Tenese stand with CBC-Chicago's first graduating class. (Click to enlarge)that what God is preparing you for, and keeping you for, is going to be greater than what you’ve ever experienced... God’s got bigger, better things, and when they come to pass you’ll look back, and you’ll be able to see and understand perfectly why God led you the way that He led you. You’ll see that the time that you’ve spent in Chicago has been absolutely essential in preparation. Everything is going to be great."

Mark's season away from CBC came to an end in 2012 when he and Tenese returned to Colorado. After four years away from the ministry, Mark was brought back into the fold with AWM and CBC when he was hired as the Administrative Director for Mark and Tenese with their son Nathan in December 2012. (Click to enlarge)AWM's World Outreach program. Today, true to God's word about "many bible colleges" and "essential preparation" Mark finds himself serving, supporting and ministering to the directors of the 40 extension schools currently operating around the world. He is also responsible for training future directors.

Mark said Andrew's prophetic words always provided encouragement for the Bassetts, and he acknowledged that, on more than one occasion, they have used them to fight the enemy when things didn't look like they would ever come to pass. "Because of the growth in the number of extension schools, an opportunity to work with World Outreach opened up in 2012. I had a few directors, whom I had worked with in years past, Cindy Quarles (CBC-Chicago) Tom Boyd (CBC-Atlanta) and Danon Winter (CBC-Florida) recommended me for the position. I’m very blessed to work with these directors, and all the directors and staff of all our CBC extension schools. They’re all awesome ministers," Mark said.

Monday
Feb242014

Ministering Identity to the Fatherless

CBC-Colorado graduate, Joe Chris and his wife, Karen, are the founders of a ministry called, Mission Fatherless. Their mission is to help orphans all over the world experience the Father's heart. (Click to enlarge)Joe Chris and Karen Sparks both grew up in Texas. The two spirit-filled Christians met in 1997 and were married in 1998. Around the same time that the couple met, Joe Chris also found Andrew’s Gospel Truth radio program. Andrew’s ministry significantly impacted the Sparks. Neither of them, however, could have anticipated how significant Andrew's teachings would be in their lives, or the way the Lord would fulfill the desires of their hearts.

The Sparks had been married for almost two years when they began feeling led to move to Colorado. At the time, Joe Chris owned a successful auto glass business, where he employed Karen and several other family members. Joe Chris and Karen were enjoying their entrepreneurial prosperity, but the couple’s marriage was not going as smoothly as their business. “While business was good, we were failing miserably at marriage,” Karen shared. The two knew they needed some help.

The couple decided that moving to Colorado Springs, to sit under Andrew’s teaching at Charis Bible College, It has always been a desire of the Sparks' hearts to have a large family. For Karen, the desire to be a mother had been rooted firmly in her core since she was a little girl. Unfortunately, the couple struggled for years to start their family.
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was just what their marriage needed. In 1999, they gave their business away to family members, sold their home, downsized their vehicles and moved to Colorado Springs. Trusting God for the provision they would need to live and attend CBC, they left Texas without any job prospects.

The Sparks were blessed during their relocation, and they found what they were looking for in Colorado. With their lives centered on the Lord and their relationship with each other, their marriage received the attention it needed, and the couple grew stronger. After their arrival in the Springs and classes were underway at CBC, Joe Chris also started another auto glass business. Just as He had in the past, God prospered the Spark’s new endeavor. Joe Chris went on to graduate from CBC in 2001.

In the years immediately following graduation, neither of the Sparks had a burning desire to enter full-time ministry. They were content to work and raise their daughter, Kaitlyn, whom they were blessed to welcome in 2003, after five long years of trying (see captions). The couple also found fulfillment After five years of trying to have their first child, a surgery, and a miscarriage, the Sparks were blessed with the gift of a daughter they named, Kaitlyn. Six months after Kaitlyn was born, Karen lost another pregnancy. The tragic loss almost stole Karen's life as well. During the ordeal she lost two and a half liters of blood (the human body only has about four liters). Doctors told her to stop trying. (Click to enlarge)in supporting other ministries financially.

Eight years after graduation, the Lord stirred something new in the Sparks' hearts, and they began holding a bible study in their home, complete with worship and prayer ministry. In addition to hosting the home group, Joe Chris and his nieces, who also attended CBC, started knocking on doors and sharing Andrew’s Discipleship Evangelism program with anyone interested. Within a few months, Joe Chris and his nieces saw 90 people receive Jesus as their savior and many were meeting to study weekly discipleship lessons.

It was during this season of change that Karen and Joe Chris also felt compelled to open their home to foster children. The Sparks had always aspired to have a large family; Joe Chris was one of 10 children, and had his heart set on having 10 of his own, and Karen had always looked forward to mothering a large brood. But, after years of heartbreak, loss through miscarriage, and a near death experience with one of Karen's unsuccessful pregnancies, the idea of offering foster care was a welcome alternative. The couple's first placement was a group of five sibling boys, ranging in age from four months to eight years. The boys were with the Sparks for more than a year before they were reunited with their biological mother. “That nearly broke our hearts,” Karen said. Joe Chris and Karen continued opening their home to foster children for the next Karen and Joe Chris did not stop trying to have children. Why? Because Karen had a promise. The Lord had used several people to speak into Karen's life, women she did not know. They gave her words of encouragement and scriptures (Psalm 128:3, Galatians 6:9) to stand on. After nine unfruitful pregnancies, multiple miscarriages, and five surgeries that left her physically unable to bare children, Karen still believed God for the family she carried in her heart. Above: Karen on the mission field in Burundi, Africa.
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four years and took care of 25 children in that time.

During their foster care experience, the Sparks’ view of ministry broadened, and their ministry, Mission Fatherless, was birthed. In addition to caring for foster children, the couple began to travel to assist orphans on the mission field. In 2011, Karen started traveling twice a year to Burundi, Africa, where she serves in orphanages sponsored by an organization called, Youth For Christ. In addition to working with the orphans, Karen also helps construct homes for widows, provides food for the poorest in local villages, teaches pastor’s wives, and feeds the orphans on the streets of Burundi. Joe Chris too, began traveling to share the gospel. Last year he visited India where he ministered in the slums and preached in the crusades.

Today, the Sparks' mission is to eradicate what they call, "the orphan spirit" by revealing the heart of the Father. “Mission Fatherless was birthed out of a huge need we saw in the earth; God’s children, living Fatherless. Not only do we feel called to help the physical orphan, but also the spiritual orphan. We have encountered so many, even believers, who are living life as orphans. We call it the ‘orphan mentality.’ They are taking care of their own needs, living according to their own ability to provide, and serving God in their own efforts. Much of their Christian lives are being In 2009 Karen felt a call to live outside her own reasoning and abilities. The Sparks made a move toward foster care and adoption. Over time Karen began to see that what the enemy had tried to steal, her life's dream, was the very thing God would use to fulfill His promise on a much larger scale than she had ever envisioned. Through their experience, Mission Fatherless was born. Today the Sparks bring and share the Father's love with His children the world over. Above: Joe Chris surrounded by children in India.
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lived-out as one without the love of a Daddy. We feel called to share the Father's heart with all His kiddos, not just the physically orphaned,” explained Karen.

In late 2013, the Lord led Joe Chris and Karen to permanently expanded their family when they adopted five children. The kids, all siblings, have lived with the Sparks for a total of three years. “This was a huge step of faith for us in every area, especially financially,” said Karen. Since opening their home, Joe Chris downsized his business and began working from home in order to be more involved with the children. For the first time in the Sparks' lives, they were no longer the ones providing financial support, but were the ones in need of provision instead.

“We felt like this was of the Lord so we did it—without seeing where the money would come from. God has proven Himself faithful to us, and there has been provision for us every step of the way,” Karen shared.

Nearly fifteen years ago, the Sparks thought moving to Colorado Springs and attending CBC for the purpose of discipleship was just what they needed to heal their marriage. Turns out, they were right. But true to God’s abundant nature, He provided much more than a restored marriage. Between Mission Fatherless, their newly expanded family, serving as volunteer associate pastors at their church, and other outreach efforts, life is busy and overflowing with adventure and blessings for the Sparks family.

Visit the Mission Fatherless website to learn more about the Sparks' ministry and check them out on Facebook.

Today the Sparks family includes Karen, Joe Chris, Kaitlyn (11) and Victoria (17), Patricia (15), Joy (14), Vicente (10) and Antonio (7). Photo taken on the day of formal adoption. (Click to enlarge)

Monday
Feb032014

For the Leupens, Age Is Not An Issue

CBC-Colorado graduates and founders of TG Leupen Ministries, Tom and Gladys Leupen. (Click to enlarge)Many times the posts to this blog, particularly the Charis Bible College graduate testimonies, will compel readers to post comments relaying their appreciation for an individual’s faith-filled story. Occasionally those comments will include an element of desire to attend CBC, coupled with a degree of self-doubt stemming from the reader’s perception of their own advanced age. The following story should be an encouragement to those who doubt God can use them because they may have a little more salt than pepper left in their hair.

After nearly 50 faithful years of marriage and three decades following the Lord, Texas residents, Tom and Gladys Leupen, were comfortable and steady in their Christian walk. According to Gladys, Tom spent time nearly every morning, for as long as could remember, studying the Scriptures. She too had made reading the Word a daily practice, but not to the extent that Tom had; there were certain things she could not seem to comprehend. In 2010, a well-known minister visited the Leupen’s church and made a significant impact on Gladys, inspiring her to try to memorize more Scripture.

Tom & Gladys with their CBC second-year mission team in the Dominican Republic. (Click to enlarge)Gladys’ favorite chapter in the Bible is John 14, so in her new pursuit, she set out to memorize each verse. While her quest was time consuming, she did manage to memorize the entire chapter. As she progressed however, Gladys found that she had serious questions about what she had committed to memory. John 14:12 in particular, provided her with quite a challenge, and she began to ask God some weighty questions.

One morning in 2011, as Gladys was preparing breakfast, she tuned in to Andrew’s television program, The Gospel Truth. She had come across the program once before and had liked what she heard, but this time she was caught off guard by the things Andrew was teaching; he was systematically answering the questions she had put before the Lord regarding John 14. She was amazed by God’s faithfulness to answer her questions and intrigued by Andrew’s teaching.

Tom & Gladys praying for a pastor in the Dominican. (Click to enlarge)As the days passed, Gladys continued to tune in to The Gospel Truth, and Tom joined her. During one episode, Andrew shared the miraculous Healing Journey of Alan and Debbie Moore. Alan had suffered a massive stroke, and his wife Debbie came to his rescue, armed only with the Word. Today Alan is healed and has since graduated from Charis Bible College in Colorado. Gladys recalls being stunned by Debbie’s response to Alan’s stroke. “When I heard the Moore’s testimony, I thought, I would never have responded like that.” In those moments after watching the testimony, Gladys purposed in her heart to know more of God’s word, and she and Tom began to make arrangements to relocate to Colorado to attend CBC.

Prior to attending CBC, the Leupens had not fully grasped the authority that God has given believers. After sitting Over the course of 50 years the Leupens have seen some ups and downs. While they were students in Colorado, the Waldo Canyon Fire of 2012, wiped out their home. They lost 48 years worth of belongings and tangible memories. Gladys said they never shed a tear, and looked forward to what the Lord had in store for their future. Above, the place their house once stood. (Click to enlarge)under the Word for four hours a day, listening to the in-depth teaching of the Scriptures, their spirits soared with the truth and new understanding. “For me, CBC helped me truly understand the Old Testament and the New Testament and the heart of God. The Bible just came together for me,” said Gladys.

During their second-year at CBC, Gladys received a word of prophesy from one of her instructors, CBC’s Dean of Education, Greg Mohr. In the middle of one of his classes, Greg asked Gladys to stand, and he told her she would be teaching and preaching in the future, and he also said she would be a sign and a wonder, and signs and wonders would follow her. Gladys treasured the words, and was excited to see how the Lord was going to bring those things to pass. “In the natural, I disliked getting up in front of a group. My knees would shake, my voice would quiver, my mouth would get dry, and so many times I would not say what I wanted because I knew I would cry,” Gladys said.

Gladys and Tom stand with their son, Derek, and their grandson, Charles Andrew, after the 2013 CBC commencement ceremony.
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During their second-year mission trip, the Leupens went to the Dominican Republic. While Tom had become comfortable with teaching and preaching over the years, Gladys still had not. No matter the effort she put into creating a message or speaking points, Gladys wasn’t able to put anything together to share. In light of this, Gladys did not sign up for a teaching role on the trip. One night however, the Lord gave her something to share, and the message burned in her bones. Although she was not scheduled to speak on the trip, the opportunity arose for her to give her testimony. As she spoke, Gladys wove her message into her story. She was so excited that the Lord spoke to her that she delivered the message fear and quiver free. Gladys realized, in that moment, that the ministry prophesied over her in class, had begun to manifest. The joyful experiences in the Dominican set the course for the Leupen’s future ministry.

The Leupens speaking at a meeting at Family Worship Tabernacle in Polokwane, South Africa.
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The Leupen’s trip to the Dominican stirred a desire in their hearts to travel the world sharing God’s love, grace and mercy. Their newfound desire led them to discuss, with classmates, the possibility of traveling overseas to minister. One day, fellow CBC students and friends, Craig and Odette Bredenkamp, asked if the Leupens would like them to make some connections for them in their homeland of South Africa. Remembering the words spoken over her, excitement began to build in Gladys’ heart.

After graduation from CBC, Tom and Gladys packed up and headed to South Africa for six weeks. When they arrived, they hit the ground running; their schedule was packed with 22 amazing nights of speaking and ministry while crisscrossing the countryside. They had the opportunity to minister in small venues as well as churches with up to 600 people, always teaching with signs and wonders following.

Gladys praying for people in the crowd in Polokwane, South Africa.
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The funny thing was, just as Gladys struggled to prepare teachings for the CBC mission trip, she encountered the same issue on the road in South Africa. Just as had happened in the Dominican, the Lord would give her a message the night before. Gladys would have a dream, and see herself preaching, and then she would know what to teach on the following night.

Gladys said that one of the pastors made the remark that what the Leupens had shared was the most relevant message he had ever heard in church. His comments made Gladys laugh. “To myself, I was chuckling at what the Lord had done, and I thought, They don’t know this is only my second week of doing this,” she said.

With all the teaching and preaching in those 6 weeks, Tom and Gladys never tired. The couple heard testimonies of the many healings and salvations people received. She said, “There was Gladys and Tom on the platform at Praise Mountain Churchin in Tembisa, just north of Johannesburg.
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one little boy, about 8 years-old, that responded to the invitation with tears streaming down his face the whole time.”

Though they have their eye on visiting their missionary friends, the Bredenkamps, now in Albania, the Leupens do not know where they will go next, but they are looking forward to their assignment. “Our age has been an encouragement for others. So many think their life is going downhill at the age of 65. We believe our life is just beginning, and we have many good years left for the Lord to use us. We are excited about the future.