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 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."
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 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. 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 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 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 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.