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Entries in CBC Mission Trips (50)

Thursday
Jul242014

Lessons Learned on the Mission Field in Russia

Charis Bible College second year students, Stan Mael and Donna Hanna from CBC Colorado and Boris Alekseev, from Charis Bible Training Center in St. Petersburg. February 2014 (Click to enlarge)While there is not enough space here to detail God's call on Stan Mael's life, we'll suffice it to say that it was his calling that prompted Stan to state on his Charis Bible College application that one of his goals in attending CBC was to come to the end of himself. According to Stan, the myriad of first year courses and new relationships he made at CBC, laid the groundwork for that transformation. As he continued through second year, however, Stan realized that coming to the end of himself was not something he could do on his own, and that he may not even know when or if it happened. Stan said, "We all have habits, hang-ups, and hoopla to deal with, and I certainly have my share of inadequacies, but it's like Andrew says, 'I may not have arrived yet, but at least I've left the station.'"

As a second year student at Charis, Stan was required to take a foreign missions trip. Of the destinations available to Stan, his preferred choice was Russia. And just as God had placed that desire in Stan's heart, He also made a way for Stan to go in February 2014.

For several weeks prior to the trip, God had showed Stan that his task on the mission was to be a blessing—not a show off. Stan understood that God was telling him that his experience was going to be different, that he would indeed come to the end of himself in Russia. Regardless of how many years Stan had been a team leader, department director, business owner, children's pastor, etc., God instructed him to let it all go, and just serve. In fact, the night before the trip, as Stan was lying in bed, the Lord showed him that he and the CBC-Colorado team were going to work in another man's field.

"Russia is Mike and Carrie's field. It is Victor and Natasha's field. It is Pastor Svetlana’s field. We were merely passing through, and our purpose was to sow seed, water, fertilize, and watch God reap the harvest," Stan said.

Amid the many salvations, baptisms, and healings, the CBC team saw during their stay in Russia, Stan also learned the following five things:

You teach the Word, but you minister love.
Not everyone is called to be a teacher, but each person is called to minister the love that God has shed abroad in their heart. We are ministers of reconciliation. Let God’s unconditional love for you spill over in all of your relationships.

You can rely on the Holy Spirit for inspiration and direction.
Going to a foreign country and not speaking the language, you’d better be relying on someone. We had a translator for most of the time, but when one was not available, we had to rely on the Holy Spirit to know what to do.

It doesn’t matter what the story is, God’s big enough to handle it. He doesn’t need your eloquence, He simply needs your trust.
One morning our hostess came in frantically waving her arms and trying to explain some crises to us. Our translator happened to be gone, so we just looked at each other and said, “Let’s pray anyway.” We gave it to God, who already knew the situation, and let Him handle it. Ten minutes later she came back in and everything was fine.

Leave your dictionary at home. The simple truth will do every time.
This shouldn’t take a lot of explanation, but I will say, that in conjunction with the rest of these, just let your heart be your guide. Trust the Holy Spirit and lean not to your own understanding.

Whatever happens, good or bad, you don’t need to commend yourself, defend yourself, or justify yourself. That’s God’s job.
Regardless of your chosen profession, you will have opportunity to be offended. What you do with that offence is more important than the offence itself, so my advice is to just give it to God and let Him deal with it. You will also have opportunity to be lifted up in pride. The same advice applies.

While the primary focus of CBC's mission trips is on serving and blessing the communities the students visit, it is often the students that learn the most from their adventures overseas. To learn more about the school or the missions program, visit the Charis Bible College website.

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.