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Entries in CBC Mission Trips (59)

Monday
May182015

The Word of Our Testimony

They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony. Revelation 12:11a, New International Version

Early one morning in Ecuador, as the Charis Bible College missions team was sitting down to breakfast, screams split the air. Rushing out the hotel’s back door, five team members searched the alley to find the source of the trouble.

Resurrected child“We found a woman pulling her hair, screaming at the heavens over a young man holding a very still baby in his arms,” one member recalled. Apparently, the one-year-old had fallen and cracked his skull on the concrete. He was dead. As the missions team began to minister to the woman and work to calm her down, a team member who happened to be a registered nurse verified the baby’s injury. “His eyes were set; there was no pulse. The child was dead.”

Moments before they left to take the baby’s body to the morgue, the Holy Spirit spoke to one of the team members. “You have a choice,” He said. “You can close the child’s eyes or speak life back into his body.” So, she began to speak life. The other team members joined in, and suddenly, the baby blinked. Shouts of praise erupted in the house as the mother took her child into her arms.

Later that night, the team held a powerful service about the power of testimony. During Larry Wilgus’s teaching, the parents of the baby who was raised from the dead shared their story with the congregation. Thirty people were healed that night—and word began spreading. The next morning, the Charis team’s hotel was surrounded with people requesting prayer. “Word about the little boy spread quickly, and people began to pour into our hotel, requesting the ‘Charis people’ pray for them,” Larry reported. “It was so awesome seeing God confirm His Word with signs following [Mark 16:17-18]!”

The testimony of the little boy’s miracle started a tidal wave of faith in Ecuador. After hearing the testimony, one mother approached the team for her six-month-old girl. She was born with a deformed hip that caused her legs to grow inconsistently. Two days after prayer, the mom brought her child and x-rays to show the team how her daughter had been healed. The hip was perfect, and both legs were the same length!

“This trip was a life-changer,” one team member said. “I’ve never seen such hunger for God or witnessed firsthand the power of the Gospel.” During their time there, the Charis team ministered in churches, at meetings, in the mayor’s office, and out on the streets. The entire hotel staff was born again, and the mayor openly requested prayer. The team witnessed people getting saved and filled with the Spirit, deaf ears and blind eyes opening, arthritic pain disappearing, cancerous cysts dissolving, limbs growing, and much more! “You could hear shouts of praise all over the city!”

Monday
May042015

The Works of Grace

Ephesians tells us that we receive the grace of God through faith—not works (Eph. 2:8-9). But according to James, our faith must have corresponding actions (James 2:17-18). What are those actions? They are the works of grace.

For it is God who is producing in you both the desire and the ability to do what pleases him.

Philippians 2:13, International Standard Version

God’s heart beats for people. But what is the most effective way to share His grace with others? Is it with words or through works? First Peter tells us to "live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us" (1 Peter 2:12, New International Version).

On a recent missions trip to India, Charis Bible College student Jon Hay discovered the truth of that verse when a group of Indian Christians planned a conference on the eve of a major pagan holiday. “On the day of the conference, the entire country shut down to honor Shiva, their god of destruction. There was a lot of opposition to our meeting, and it was unclear whether it would be safe for us to hold it. But I knew that God was with us and that He would open the doors for us to do what He’d called us there to do.”

The first session of the conference was well-attended and finished without incident. At least 100 people responded to the love of God demonstrated by the team. But Jon was unprepared for what transpired during the evening Charis missions team member Sherry Hoffer ministeringsession. “When we returned in the evening, the Hindu holiday was in full force. The streets were packed with revelers! God did amazing things during the meeting. We saw demons cast out, people healed, and children blessed. Toward the end of the meeting, the pastor of the church approached my teammate Teresa and me for assistance. He led us out of the meeting and told us someone needed prayer.”

Directed to the neighboring house of a major councilor in the Hyderabad government, Jon and Teresa met the woman responsible for the opposition to their meeting. The house was full of idols, but what Jon and Teresa noticed first was the stress in the woman’s eyes. “The Hindu woman told us of some major decisions she had to make for her job and the number of people pressuring her for counsel. She explained some of the physical complications she was experiencing (like diabetes and high blood pressure) because of her high-stress job and asked us if we would pray for her. Teresa and I laid hands on her and began to pray. Immediately, the peace of God overflowed in that room! We spoke life, healing, and peace over her and her family.”

The woman expressed her gratitude to Jon and Teresa for extending love to her without force or demands. And though she did not acknowledge Christ as Lord that day, the seed of His Word was planted in her heart because of their works of grace. Jon is fully expecting God to “use that time to do great things throughout India!”

Monday
Apr272015

All in the Family

As he saith also in Osee [Hosea], I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. [26] And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.

Romans 9:25-26, brackets added

Sarah Motevalli praying for physical healing at a rehab center
(Click to enlarge)
In general, the American church has embraced the message of adoption (see Eph. 1:3-6). But have we forgotten that God’s idea of adoption translates to every language and people on the planet? According to Barna Research, fewer American missionaries are being sent out every year and a decreasing amount of our churches’ incomes is set aside for missions work and/or outreach.

But Charis Bible College hasn’t forgotten God’s design. With over forty campuses worldwide and hundreds of students traveling for missions work every year, Charis is taking the message of God’s grace (the adoption of sons) to every tribe and tongue they can find.

After returning from a recent missions trip to Russia, several Charis students shared how the family of God is enlarging in every part of the world! Pat Koppel said, “While in Russia, I shared that we are the adopted children of Leaders of a church in a town outside of Yekaterinburg, including Pastor Vladimir second to the left (Click to enlarge)God. When someone adopts a child, they spend a precious amount of time and resources dreaming about, planning for, and searching after their child. No adopted child is unwanted. As God’s adopted children, we are wanted and pursued by Him in the same way. After my testimony, seven people approached me, and our translator sent word that one of the conference attendees had received a revelation about God as her Father and was so happy! It feels good to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ. God loves us more than we could ever know and has made plans for us beyond our expectations for good!”

Another team member shared about the church they visited near Siberia. Pastor Vladimir, the church’s pastor, encountered God in prison and, after serving his sentence, planted the church. Like many of his countrymen, Vladimir had a history with drugs and alcohol. Today he ministers “grace Emily Townsend and a pastor in Ichevks (Click to enlarge)through faith” to those in rehab centers and to anyone who comes through the doors of his church. Already this year, twenty-five people have gone through Andrew’s foundational teachings (which have been translated into Russian) Spirit, Soul & Body and The True Nature of God. Pastor Vladimir said, “Andrew is the best. He teaches in a way that a person who doesn’t know much about the Bible can understand and get to know the love and grace of God.” Currently, the church is building a new rehab center to increase its outreach to the community. “It was a miraculous testimony,” team member Cinnamon Bergeron recalled. “Eighty thousand dollars of extra income came into this small church within ten months. They’ve purchased the land and have started to build—all with fewer than 100 people! God is so good.”

Sarah Motevalli discovered that “you can go into any corner of the world, and wherever and in whomever the Spirit of Christ is, there you find your loving family!”