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Entries in CBC Grads In Ministry (52)

Thursday
Mar282013

Wes Ray: God's Simple Question 

Charis Bible College graduate, Wes Ray, making a difference in the Dominican Republic. (Click to enlarge)Whenever the topic of foreign missions came up when Wes Ray was just a boy, he would bristle and dismiss the conversation, declaring, "I'm not called to that." His comments would distance himself from the discussion, and he would go on about his business. This seemed to be an acceptable teenage declaration, as not everyone is called to serve in a foreign land. It remained acceptable until the Lord asked Wes with friend and fellow CBC graduate Abbie during commencement ceremonies at CBC in 2009.
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Wes one simple question... Why are you limiting me?

"When I was 15, I heard the Lord ask me, 'Wes, why are you limiting me?'" Stunned by the question, and the realization he was somehow hindering God, Wes apologized to the Lord, and rethought his position on missions. A short time later, he traded the comfort of his family's home in California for a taste of life on the mission field in the Dominican Republic—a place he has now been visiting for a decade.

Wes had only been involved in church a short time, but it was there that he was introduced to Andrew's teaching. When the Lord got a hold of Wes he began to have an unquenchable desire to know Him more. Wes' desire prompted him to ask his pastor if there (Click to enlarge)were additional teachers he would recommend. His pastor told Wes about Andrew and gave him Andrew's teaching, Sovereignty of God.

The teaching made an impact in Wes' life and he continued to listen to Andrew's material through high school. During that time, Wes deepened his involvement in the Dominican by continuing to work with an organization called Grace Covenant and DR Missions. Each summer, Wes spent several weeks on the ground in San Cristobal.

As high school drew to a close, and Wes explored his college options, he knew in his heart he would flourish Wes praying for a young woman in San Cristobal. (Click to enlarge)at Charis Bible College in Colorado. The time spent in preparation at CBC could only further his ministry to the people of the Dominican. So at 18, fresh out of high school, he enrolled in classes at CBC. His first summer out of high school was hectic. He had two weeks after his graduation to prepare for a six-week trip to the Dominican, and then he was home for three weeks before moving out on his own. Wes' transition to Colorado went smoothly, considering he moved to a new state, into an apartment he had never seen, to go to a school he had never visited. That summer was "a rollercoaster of excitement for sure," Wes shared.

From the look on his face... It may just be true that Wes was called to missions! (Click to enlarge)After graduating from CBC, Wes' perspective on the Bible, the natural realm and his relationship with God had all matured, and he began to walk with a confidence that could only be attributed to the revelation he gained while at Bible college. "My time at CBC gave me a love for the Word. I now see it [the Bible] as a love letter to me. And I now know, without a doubt, that God desires to have a passionate relationship with me; this allows me to be more confident in what God says to me," Wes said. Through his time at CBC, Wes was further prepared to be the minister the Lord called him to be. "I am equipped through the knowledge of Him [Jesus] to encourage and build up others," said Wes.

After several years serving short-term stints with DR Missions, Wes knows the time has come for the adventure to become full-time. While the organization's primary focus is ministry to the disadvantaged children in San Cristobal, Wes' efforts have been put toward relationship building with local pastors. He plans to continue his outreach to church leadership upon his return to the Dominican. "Right now Wes receives prayer from a young boy on the mission field. (Click to enlarge)it's just about getting to know the pastors more personally. We have been sharing our hearts with them and fanning the flame that God has placed in their heart through the message of His love," said Wes.

Wes said he's just a young man, keenly aware of the call on his life, and he's stepping out in faith knowing God will be with him, enabling him to do all that is required on the mission field in the Dominican Republic. His time at CBC has helped prepare him for the work ahead as he encourages the growth of God's kingdom in a foreign land.

For more information about Wes's call to missions, or to find out more about his work in the Dominican Republic, readers are welcome to contact him via email: wesraymissions@yahoo.com .

Thursday
Mar212013

Georgette's Call to the Caribbean

CBC-Colorado graduate and full-time missionary to St. Thomas, Georgette Person. (Click to enlarge)Illinois native, Georgette Person, knew early in the 2000's she was to attend Charis Bible College in Colorado. Unfortunately, the complications of everyday life prevented her from pursuing an immediate move to Colorado Springs. After six somewhat turbulent years, Georgette finally made it to CBC, where she graduated as part of the Class of 2010. Today Georgette is thriving as she serves the Lord as a missionary on the island of St. Thomas in the Caribbean.

Georgette was introduced to Andrew's teaching in 2001 by her friend and discipleship mentor, Laverne Shipp. After a Sunday church service, Laverne invited Georgette to come to her home the following Monday morning. "Laverne said religion was killing the church, and that I needed a good teacher that would teach me truth. Laverne also that she was going to introduce me to someone who would do just that. I had never felt so privileged and cared for," recalled Georgette with a smile.

Georgette and Kelvin Williams, the first of many divine appointments. Aside from being Georgette's taxi driver, Kelvin is the Assistant Warden in the local prison system and his brother is an elder in a local church; this connection opened all sorts of ministry doors. (Click to enlarge)Monday morning Georgette showed up at Laverne's at 7:30 sharp. The two women worshiped and praised the Lord together, and Georgette waited expectantly for her new teacher to show up at the door. "Instead, Laverne went to the television at 8 a.m., and turned it on just as a man appeared saying, 'Hi, my name is Andrew Wommack and welcome to The Gospel Truth.' After his introduction, she told me, 'Baby, listen to this man, he knows the truth. He's a good teacher... Let him teach you from now on,'" Georgette said, remembering her surprise.

As Georgette watched the Gospel Truth, she found freedom in Andrew's messages. She also began to listen to his teachings online. In 2002, during Andrew's Gospel Truth series, Taking the Limits Off God, Georgette heard Andrew discuss his perspective on having a Bible college. "Andrew said, he didn't want the school to make a bunch of little Andrew's; he wanted the school so that Georgette's connection with Kelvin opened up the opportunity for prison ministry. Here she is in front of the men's prison where she ministers. (Click to enlarge)students could go farther than him in the world. That word farther was the seed that went into her heart. Georgette remembered standing up involuntarily, and declaring that she was going to go to CBC. And at that time, there was only one—in Colorado Springs," recalled Georgette.

Georgette continued to watch and listen to Andrew for several years before realizing that a CBC extension school had opened in the Chicago area. At first this appeared to be a blessing considering Georgette was engaged to be married. But, after a discussion with her fiancé about attending the local campus and agreeing to stay, something stirred in Georgette, and she knew she was still to go to school in Colorado. When Georgette expressed her desire to study in Colorado, her fiancé was unable to Georgette in front of the women's correctional facility. Between the two prisons, she is able to minister four days a week, 2 hours per day.
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understand, and he broke off their engagement.

Georgette finally enrolled in first-year classes at CBC-Colorado in November 2008. As she studied, she also worked for the ministry in the Production Department. In the spring of 2009, Georgette heard the Lord instruct her to begin to revolve her life around ministering. She began to lead Bible and discipleship studies from her home, joined the prayer team at her church and took every opportunity to minister the Good News.

In an effort to bring all aspects of her life in line with ministry, Georgette also changed jobs and departments within AWM and began to work in the Phone Center, first as a customer care representative then as a prayer minister. Strangely, for her first six months on the Within the first four days of being in St. Thomas, Georgette also met the man who owns the local radio station...
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phones, the majority of her calls were from people in the Caribbean, and no one else was fielding calls from the region. Georgette enjoyed the interaction with the Caribbean people and they were receptive to her ministry.

During one particularly impactful time of ministry, Georgette and her caller wound up teary-eyed and joy-filled. Georgette felt refreshed. The caller exclaimed, "Do you go to Andrew's School? Can you come here? We need Andrew here!" Georgette wasn't even sure what island they were calling from, but she knew the Lord was stirring her to minister to the people of the Caribbean. After that exchange, Georgette's calls from the Caribbean suddenly stopped.Georgette's radio connection, Mr. Browne. (Click to enlarge)

Eight months later, Georgette again received a call from a couple of women in the Caribbean. After the call Georgette had a peaceful feeling. She said, "I blessed them for their faith, and right then, I was reminded of how believing the Caribbean people were. I was experiencing that same refreshing feeling as before. The women received my blessing as we were closing the call and then said, 'By the way, these are your sisters from St. Thomas.'" At that moment, Georgette knew that was the island the Lord wanted her to go to!"

Georgette graduated from CBC's two-year program in 2010 and stayed for a third year to attend CBC's School of Ministry and a fourth year to complete the School of Business. When Georgette went to the radio station to speak with Mr. Browne, he invited her to join him on air—live! This was the beginning of her radio ministry. (Click to enlarge) Then in October of 2012, she packed her bags and headed to St. Thomas—the mission field the Lord had chosen for her. She moved forward in faith, without knowing a single person and without having made a single connection in St. Thomas prior to her departure.

Upon her arrival in the Caribbean, Georgette was greeted with God's unmerited favor. As she shared the story of why she came to St. Thomas, Georgette encountered one divine appointment after another. At the airport, she met a baggage handler, who secured a steeply discounted rate for her hotel room. Following that encounter, she met a friendly taxi driver, who connected her with the local church and the prison system, and from there the doors of opportunity began to open wide. Within her first month on the ground, Georgette was given a place to stay for free, toured the city in a taxi for free, officiated a funeral, was given a late model truck to drive, was allowed to minister in the prisons 2hours-per-day, four days-a-week, was invited to host a radio program and was given access to minister in the local junior high and high schools. Georgette's testimony is another story of destiny and God's provision, as a Charis Bible College graduate stepped into what the Lord had prepared in advance for her to accomplish.

Thursday
Feb282013

John Essy Launches New Church

CBC graduate, John Essy, pastor of Charis Church in State College, Pennsylvania. (Click to enlarge)Two years ago we introduced readers to John Essy, in an article titled God Rocked My World. John is a Charis Bible College graduate, and he is the founder of John Essy Ministries (JEM) located in State College, Pennsylvania. At the time of our first article about John, JEM was a para-church organization, but for the past 12 months John's ministry focus has shifted and he now leads a gathering of believers called, Charis Church. While the perception of his ministry has changed, his focus and role have not; he ministers the Word, prays and shares God's merciful love and grace with the people of State College.

John during a pre-service time of sharing personal testimonies and answering questions. (Click to enlarge)When John and his wife Leslie left Colorado to step into ministry in the Keystone State, planting and pastoring a church was the last thing on John's mind. However, as the years went by, he sensed the Lord refocusing the direction of his ministry. John first began to entertain thoughts of starting a church at the end of 2011, but he was reluctant to make the change and dismissed the idea, blaming it on his imagination. The prompting to plant a church not only remained, but it continued to grow. John finally acknowledged that the idea may be the Lord's. Conscious of his commitment to do whatever God asked of him, John said, "Okay Lord, I think this is you. I will start a church if that is what you want me to do."

Charis Church's new location in the Hope for Kids building, 1400 Fox Hill Rd, State College, PA 16803.
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Three days later a close friend of John's, who operates proficiently in the prophetic, approached him and said, “The Lord told me to tell you that it is time for you to start a church.” At that point, John said it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that he should move forward and start a church.

In February of 2012, John launched Charis Church in State College. In the early going, John ministered to a small, but steady crowd of 15 regular attendees. By early autumn the church was meeting in a hotel conference room, and the base of regular attendees had doubled. Growth continued and at the end of 2012, a Christian business woman recognized John's need for more space and offered the use of a large multipurpose room in her business complex. John's wife, Leslie, and daughter, Rachel, serving as part of the Charis' tech team. (Click to enlarge)At the beginning of 2013, John and Charis Church moved into the new space. Charis' new facility can accommodate 200 people.

Many of those in John's congregation are people who had previously stopped attending church for one reason or another. Often these people are the ones John sees break free from the bondage of religion when they receive the true Gospel of grace. He views the ones who find the freedom, as those who will be leaders in the church. "My vision is to establish these leaders in the grace message, for the next year or so, and then send them out to do the work of the ministry in the heart of our city," John said.

John's services are casual, relaxed and focused on the Word. (Click to enlarge)Most of his congregation loves the grace message, and John can see them growing by leaps and bounds in their relationships with the Lord, but John is also aware of some resistance in those new to grace. John said, "The true Gospel of grace, preached in its purest form, can be offensive to anyone who has even a little religion in them. For instance, I recently preached that sin does not stop the power of God from moving in a person’s life, no matter how big the sin—even adultery. I said that people can get healed even if they are having an adulterous relationship. You preach a message like that and you will have resistance. But like it or not, that’s the Gospel."

Although in appearance, John's ministry has taken on a new face, that of a church, his job description hasn't changed much in the crossover. He considers the shift an expansion of ministry he was already doing, only now he focuses on teaching in one location. The church posts most of John's Sunday messages on their website, so in essence, he is still bringing the Word to all who will listen, he's simply traveling via the internet.