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Entries in CBC Mission Trips (49)

Monday
Jul212014

Unexpected Blessings in Ecuador 

Bubbles... Dr. Delron Shirley, the Director of CBC Colorado's School of Missions, breaks the ice with some children in Ecuador. (Click to enlarge)What do you get when you send a clown named, Bubbles to the banana capital of the world? Sounds like the opening to a very funny joke, doesn't it? Well, as funny as it may sound, it's not a joke; it's something that really happened as part of a short-term mission trip to South America. Earlier this year, Charis Bible College sent a team from Colorado to Machala, Ecuador. The 16-person group, led by CBC-Colorado's School of Missions Director, Dr. Delron Shirley and his wife, Peggy, were hosted by Charis alumni and full-time missionaries, Mickey and Suzan Cartagena.

Because schools in the region had just been released for summer break, the team spent a good deal of time ministering to the local children. Having a clown on the team was really a great way to reach the kids in a light-hearted manner. In one neighborhood, the CBC students shared the love of God with the children by hosting a three-day Vacation Bible School. In another area, the team ministered at a care facility for children that have been rescued from abusive situations. In both places the CBC students enjoyed spending time with their young audiences. They sang and played games with the kids, made balloon animals, served them a meal, and prayed for them.

The CBC Colorado team in Ecuador. (Click to enlarge)The Charis students were also given the opportunity to minister in churches and small home groups. These settings gave them time to teach the Word, perform Gospel-centered skits, and share personal testimonies. These opportunities opened the door for the people of Ecuador to experience God and his love in down-to-earth ways.

Team host, Suzan Cartagena said, "We watched the students connect with different people in Ecuador who didn’t know or had forgotten that God is pleased with them. People everywhere Dancing with God's stars. (Click to enlarge)are discouraged, lonely, abandoned, rejected, and filled with guilt and condemnation. They are angry with a God who does not seem to care."

During each outreach, the CBC students were able to introduce the people of Machala to a God who does indeed care—often connecting through the shared experience of their own testimonies. "It was amazing to see CBC students that have overcome rejection, naturally reach out to those that felt rejected; to see students that have experienced condemnation, reach out to those who walk in self condemnation, and to see students who have been angry with God or had given up on him, reach out to those who have searched for God and not yet found Him," said Suzan.

There were moments when the interaction between grown men, embracing battered children so perfectly mirrored God's heart for all His people that team leaders watched in awe as the children responded to the love that was being transmitted. "We heard students say, 'God just wants me to give you a hug,' and watched as the people on the receiving end instantly became connected to the love of God that they The princes and princesses of Ecuador. (Click to enlarge)had been so desperately longing for," Suzan shared.

"As the CBC team members prayed for the people, we saw them give their lives to Christ, receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and be healed," said Peggy Shirley. She also noted that the team saw several dramatic deliverances as people were set free from demonic oppression.

CBC's mission trips are always full of unique moments and special memories. One of the unexpected blessings on this trip was a request from a CBC student to be water baptized. When the team leaders made arrangements for her baptism, two others students joined her! All three were baptized in a pool by a local pastor named, Alfonso.

Three CBC students were baptized on the Ecuador trip.

Thursday
Jul102014

Heather Hunter's Hermanito

Heather Hunter from Charis Bible College in Colorado and her "hermanito" (Spanish for, little brother) Nicaraguan native, Jose Luis. (Click to enlarge)Heather Hunter is a recent graduate of Charis Bible College in Colorado. Shortly before she graduated, she took part in a CBC second-year mission trip to Nicaragua. Even before finding out she had been chosen to be part of a team headed to the Central American nation, Heather knew in her heart that she belonged in Nicaragua. As she prepared for her journey, people prayed for and spoke many encouraging words over her. Among the things people shared with Heather, were that God was going to show her a different aspect of His love on the trip, and that God had a specific, divine appointment waiting for her there, and that she would be aware of exactly when she had the encounter.

During Heather's first day in Nicaragua, her team ministered in a place called Las Maderas. There they worked closely with Andrew's good friends Darey and Karen Jolley and their ministry, Ambassadors to the Nations. While visiting a school, and preparing for her role in a team skit, the Lord brought a young man to Heather's attention. She immediately sensed the Holy Spirit speaking to her about him. Their initial encounter was only long enough to exchange greetings before they were interrupted by the performance.

In the skit titled, Set Me Free, Heather played a person far from God, tangled and entrapped in all sorts of sin. In the end, Jesus redeemed Heather's character, and she embraced Him. Jesus wrapped her in a white robe of righteousness, and the two danced, rejoicing in her deliverance. After the skit, Heather shared some of her personal testimony. Among other details, Heather shared that she used to cut herself.

Immediately following her testimony, the young man she had met before the skit, Jose Luis, came and grabbed her by the hands and asked (in Spanish) to speak to her alone. After the two went outside, Jose revealed lines and scars on his arms—he was a cutter also. Realizing that he was struggling, Heather explained to him that the change he was seeking would come effortlessly, as a by-product of a relationship with God. Heather could see relief flood Jose Luis' face when he realized freedom was not on his shoulders.

By the third day, Heather and Jose Luis had gotten better acquainted. Heather had learned a lot about Jose Luis' past and his current life at home. "He told me his dad never said he loved him, and I told him I had experienced the same in the past," Heather said. "I honestly don’t think anyone had ever told him that they genuinely love him, and I don’t think he had ever been able to say it to anyone," Heather continued.

On a ferry returning from team outreach efforts on the island of Ometepe, Heather felt it was time to tell Jose Luis how the Lord brought them together. Heather said, "I told him about knowing I belonged in Nicaragua, about the divine appointment that I was told I would have, and how I would know the appointment when it happened. Then I told him that he was the divine appointment."

Jose Luis and Heather (right) with other CBC-Colorado students.
(Click to enlarge)
As Heather continued to speak to Jose Luis, she told him of the deep sadness she sensed he had in his heart. She said, "You feel that no one knows, and that no one cares, and you feel alone. But you have to see how God sent me, someone from across the world, to intercede for you.”

Jose Luis acknowledged what Heather shared and said, “Yes, I felt that way, but after meeting you, I do not anymore because I know there is someone who does care.” Wanting to impress upon Jose Luis just how valuable he is to the Father, she replied, “Yes, but you have to see that it is not just me who cares, it is really God."

Heather began to see the Love of God opening up in Jose Luis, the way a flower opens to the sunlight. "The look on his face was unforgettable. I told him, 'You know what? God loves you, and the way God loves you, I love you also. God never wants His kids to hurt, and He loves you so much that He sent me from across the world, just to tell you.”

Jose Luis looked at Heather, and told her he loved her the same way.

Heather said that in those moments, the Lord showed her that Jose Luis was responding to more than her sisterly love; he was literally responding to God's love poured out through her.

For the rest of the trip, the two were inseparable, referring to each other as hermana (big sister) and hermanito (little brother). The Lord continued to use Heather to reveal Himself to Jose Luis, and through the experience, to reveal more of His love to Heather as well.

Understanding that the bond the Lord had forged between Heather and Jose Luis was meant to be maintained, Heather struggled with how to stay in touch with her little brother after the CBC team left Nicaragua. After all, Jose Luis didn't have the modern conveniences (e.g. cell phone and internet) we enjoy in more developed nations. Back in the United States, as Heather pondered the communication gap, she prayed and asked God to make a way for their friendship to flourish.

Heather's happy little brother, Jose Luis. (Click to enlarge)A few hours later, Heather received a message from Jose Luis on Facebook; he had just purchased a phone and downloaded the free app. Now the two can communicate any time, any place. In Heather's reply, she shared what she had prayed earlier in the day, and pointed out how God had faithfully answered her prayer. Nothing is impossible with God.

Second year mission trips provide real-life opportunities for CBC students to put what they've learned in the classroom, into action. For many, like Heather, these trips are life changing. To learn more about Charis Bible College and how you can change your life and your world, visit: charisbiblecollege.org.

Monday
May192014

Encountering Jesus in the Public Square

Students from CBC-Colorado performing a skit called, The Wall, in the busy streets of Germany. Huge crowds gathered to watch the outreach performances. How many in the crowd could identify with the emotions? (Click to enlarge)A young Scottish woman named Beth agrees to go on an adventure with five of her friends. Although she knows their trip from London to Berlin will be exciting, Beth has underlying concerns about the journey. Beth is a Christian, a student attending a school of worship in London, and she is keenly aware that her faith in Jesus is not shared by the majority of her travel companions. Beth brings her concerns regarding the uncomfortable mix of beliefs before the Lord in prayer.

God answers prayers—sometimes in unexpected ways.

Beth and her friends made their way to Germany. They happened to arrive in Potsdamer Platz, an important public square in the heart of Berlin, at the same time two-dozen students from Charis Bible College in Colorado happened to be holding a flash-mob, complete with dancing and dramatic performances openly sharing the Gospel. The paths of the two parties crossed, and several CBC students had the opportunity to minister to the young women from the United Kingdom.

Tamara Walters ministering to a group of 20-somethings on the streets of Germany. (Click to enlarge)Tamara Walters, a CBC-Colorado student, was among the team members to minister to Beth and her friends. During the interaction, Beth was quick to acknowledge that she was a believer, and Tamara easily sensed the varying degrees of receptivity among the rest of the girls.

Tamara and her team continued to minister through a somewhat difficult encounter. After the conversation came to a close, the girls walked off to continue their day. Tamara said, "Beth ran back and thanked us, through tears, for sharing with her friends. She shared that she had been praying for them. Laying her head on my shoulder, she allowed me to pray for her strength, wisdom and courage to continue to be a light among her friends." Tamara went on to share, "God hears our prayers and is able to answer in such unfathomable ways—even to bring a team from America to encourage His precious daughter—God is so big, and nothing is impossible for Him," she said.

CBC student, Britney Williams (back to camera) ministers to Judy (left) with the assistance of European Initiative translator, Anna (rght). Judy believed God was real, but until she met Britney, she didn't know God loved her personally. She received Jesus during this meeting.
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Another CBC student, Josh Melton, had several difficult, but silver-lined encounters of his own during the trip to Germany. After the team performed their dramatic outreach outside a famous cathedral in Koln, they began to mingle with and minister to the large crowd that had gathered. Josh and several other students approached an older couple and asked what they thought of the skit. Josh noticed immediate resistance in their body language, as the couple began to back up to escape any meaningful conversation. Though the couple did stay put long enough for the students to share the Gospel with them, they remained disinterested. Looking for an opportunity to demonstrate the power of God, the team asked if they could pray for them. The couple replied as they walked away... "How much are you going to charge for that?"

Disheartened by the rebuff, but not defeated, Josh moved on, confident that seed had been planted. He then noticed a young man, in his early twenties, leaning against a light pole very close to the group's previous encounter. Josh asked the man what he thought of Judy and Britney. After receiving Jesus, Judy approached the larger CBC group. She expressed that she felt a warm sensation in her chest while Britney was ministering to her. Judy also began to cry. Through her tears she shared that she was so happy to finally know that sombody liked her, because not many people do.
(Click to enlarge)
the presentation. Coarsely, the man replied that he was drunk and didn't need God for anything in his life, and he said he didn't believe in God. Unfazed by the previous encounter, Josh asked the man if there was anything God could do for him, to confirm that He is real. The man said he would want God to deliver him from his addictions. Before the team could pray, the man proceeded to lash out in a blasphemous tirade against God. Josh said, "Basically it was just the enemy spewing a bunch of lies. We cut him off and just said, 'You're going to hear from God right now.' We laid hands on him and prayed that he would experience the power of God, and without a doubt, by the end of the prayer, he had experienced God's presence." Immediately the man's demeanor changed, and he said he felt something. Then he asked, "How do I get Jesus?" The team exclaimed, "You just did!" After a ten or fifteen minute conversation with the man, he had received Jesus as his Savior, expressed interest in connecting with the local church the team was promoting, and he was stone cold sober!

The CBC teams that travel the world on short-term missions are making a huge impact in peoples' lives—one person at a time. Some teams share the love of God with the soft impressionable hearts of children, and some stand toe-to-toe with stony hearts of hardened adults. The results are the same; individuals all over the world are introduced to the God that loves them—one personal encounter at a time.

For a quick recap of the trip to Germany, be sure to watch the video below. The CBC team, consisting of 21 second-year students, two third-year intern leaders, and the CBC Missions Coordinator, Michelle Patterson, visited Cologne, Dusseldorf and Berlin. The team spent nearly two weeks with gracious hosts, Jeff and Barb Serio and their Berlin-based ministry, European Initiative. The video was produced by Alex Zehrer of EI.