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1000 New Bible Schools in Russia

AWM-Russia and Charis Bible Training Center directors, Mike and Carrie Pickett with their daughter. (Click to enlarge)Many have heard Andrew's series Don't Limit God, a teaching based on Psalm 78:41, through which Andrew shares how taking our limits off God allows Him to do greater things through our lives. Mike and Carrie Pickett, directors of Charis Bible Training Center (CBTC) in St. Petersburg, Russia, know that there are no limits for our God, and they are believing for huge increase over the next five years; specifically the launching of one thousand bible schools throughout Russia.

This is not a pie-in-the-sky, random goal for the Picketts; momentum toward this vision actually began building several years ago when Carrie was introduced to Pastor Svetlana Holina from Izhevsk, Russia at an annual pastor's conference in St. Petersburg. Since their introduction, CBTC has had a standing invitation to bring students to Izhevsk. The Lord led the Picketts to accept the invitation two years ago, and the timing as it turned out was divine. The area, nearly 2000 miles southeast of St. Petersburg, is home to more than 120 churches, and at the time was full of hurting people. A prominent church Bishop had been removed from his position, and the people were suffering through the associated fallout. During their mission trip the CBTC team ministered to those hurting people in Izhevsk and the surrounding villages, and successfully developed relationships with local pastors, leaders and other missionaries. Mike and Carrie also met the newly appointed leader, Pastor Vitaley, and developed a strong connection with him right away.

A map of Russia illustrating the distance between St. Petersburg and Izhevsk. (Click to enlarge)On their first visit to Izhevsk the CBTC team gave away twenty-five packets of Andrew’s teaching materials and books, translated in Russian. These teachings included Spirit Soul & Body, Identity in Christ, The Believer's Authority, Christian Philosophy, Integrity of God’s Word, and True Nature of God. The team was happy to leave the materials and considered them spiritual seeds.

A few months later at another pastor's conference, Mike and Carrie learned that the materials they had left behind were put to good use, and had begun to yield fruit within the Izhevsk church community. Pastor Svetlana showed her appreciation at the conference by greeting Carrie with an enthusiastic hug. She told Mike and Carrie that the materials were transforming lives, and that they needed more. Thankfully, the Picketts had prepared additional materials to give to Svetlana. Mike and Carrie also made arrangements for a second trip to Izhevsk with another CBTC team.

A group of 45 pastors and church leaders participated in the Leadership School.
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During their second trip to Izhevsk in March 2010, the pastors and leaders which the team met with explained that while they were tremendously blessed by the materials, they did not know how to minister the message of grace and faith effectively. They asked the Picketts for more instruction and oversight.

Mike and Carrie sought God for wisdom on how best to equip these pastors. Over time the two were led to the conclusion that the best way to prepare them would be to teach an intense version of their CBTC Leadership School curriculum. When Carrie called and presented the idea to Pastor Svetlana, she was overjoyed. Earlier the same day, Pastor Svetlana and other church leaders held a meeting with the Bishop expressing their needs. The group had prayed together, and an hour later, Carrie called to offer the idea of the Leadership School; another divine moment.

Pastor Sergey (seated) and his church distributed 1000 copies of Andrew's Spirit, Soul & Body teaching.
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Mike and Carrie explained that the vision for the new Leadership School is to help encourage and train the pastors, leaders and missionaries who desire to grow deeper in grace and faith. The school is focused on retraining the leaders first, and will then move on to the "how-to" of teaching grace and faith to their congregations. There will also be training on how to start, lead and operate Bible schools in their churches.

The first installment of the Leadership School took place in October 2010. Forty-five pastors attended, and the Picketts covered an extensive amount of foundational material. The pair also gave the students an assignment; prepare hour-long individual messages on Spirit, Soul and Body in time for their next meeting in February 2011. Future trips include February, May and September.

Mike and Carrie continued to hear testimonies of how lives are being transformed during their time in Izhevsk this past October. Pastor Sergey, a student of the Leadership School shared how he had been so impacted by Andrew’s Spirit, Soul and Body DVD course that he and his church decided to raise funds to reproduce Andrew's material. They raised enough money to make 1000 copies of the course, packaging and all, and they distributed them in surrounding cities and villages free of charge. They anticipate hearing great things as a result of their outreach.

Multiplication is the word that comes to mind when one considers the impact the Gospel is presently having in Russia (2 Timothy 2:2). And that is why one thousand bible colleges within the next five years is a goal within reach of our limitless God.


Charis Bible College Class of 2010

Andrew hands Daniel Jacquot his diploma at the 2010 CBC Colorado graduation ceremony.
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In 2 Timothy 2:2, Paul wrote to Timothy and told him to take the things that he had learned and commit them to faithful men who would be able to teach others. The Lord used this verse to lead Andrew to open what is now called Charis Bible College (CBC). Since 1994, Andrew and his staff have been diligently and successfully training people for the work of the ministry. At CBC students have the unique opportunity to learn through the combination of the rich teaching of God’s Word and practical, hands-on ministry experience.

Andrew speaking at the 2010 Graduation ceremony in the UK.
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Andrew's vision to train others didn’t end with the establishment of Charis Bible College of Colorado. 1997 saw the opening of a Charis Bible College campus in the United Kingdom. CBC-UK was founded in South Chard, England, and is presently located in Walsall. Since that time, schools have been opened in Russia, Ireland, Belize, South Africa and Uganda. The first American extension school opened in Chicago, IL, in 2003. Its success spurred the establishment of schools in Atlanta, GA; Dallas, TX; Jacksonville, FL; Gardner, MA; Dyer, IN, and Kansas City, MO.

In 1996 the first thirty-three students graduated from Charis Bible College. Now, there are over four hundred students on the Colorado campus alone, and this year's graduating class held one hundred and twenty students. In all, more than two hundred students graduated this year from CBC campuses around the world.

CBC Colorado Graduates*

CBC Colorado day school graduates and staff. (Click to enlarge)Nikki Abello, Tim Abello, Janise Apperson, Rick Apperson, Jeff D. Arnold, Catherine McMorrow Baker, Rosangela Ballesteros, LaVera B. Blanco, Christopher Bowman, Cheri M. Broders, Daniel Burch, Rebecca Burch, Derek Bylander, Brenda L. Cary, Ellis Castle III, Deborah Clingenpeel, John D. Colbert, Nancy L. Cress, Karen Cruse, Anthony DeVine, Kevin J. Dowling, Rachel E. Dowling, Jordan R. Driediger, Dr. Lyndsey-Elizabeth Drummond, Carmen Linda Dzurik, Steven Andrew Dzurik, Kelly M. Eastman, Kyle Douglas Edens, Omar L. Fernandez Jr., Pauline Ellis-Pouw, Darla K. Elmblad, Kenneth Eriksen, Brett Farrow, Anne Elizabeth Ford, Jim Farley Ford, Cindy Gauch, Aaron A. Gayle, Justin Grotheer, Shane Hankins, Gene Harris, Sandi Harris, Kim Hatfield, James W. Huthmaker, Daniel C. Jacquot, Daniel Jahnke, Joseph W. King, Jessica Klecker, Zachary T. Konstas, CBC Colorado night class
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Maxine S. Kramer, Daniel L. Kuper, Mary A. LaBianco, Peter C. LaBianco, David C. Lawson, Eileen Lynch, Gelacio Macias, Uzzi Macy, Leonard Maithya, Kevin Martinez, Lynn Ann Martinez, Preston D. Martinez, Eleanor McGrath, Lynae Minoletti, DeAnn Montini, Julie C. Mwozi , Leonard W. Neal, Annabelle M. Needles, Katherine O’Brien, Leslie O’Brien, Tommy O’Brien, Arnold I. Oney, Christoph Paetzold, Lidia Palacios, Jaclyn Papa, Thomas J. Pasternak, Michelle Patterson, Georgette A. Person, Justin Pillow, Shay Pinilla, Sue Reding, Eugene Reinke, Brandon Thomas Rhodes, Kleist Wideman Rhodes, Samuel Thomas Rhodes, Heather Marie Roth, John R. Ryan, Rhonda Evette M.K. Sandifer, Joseph A. Settepani, Rachel E. Sklenicka, Ann Sontag, Ronald Sontag, Patricia Sontag, Maria Sparhawk, Peter W. Sparhawk, Patricia L. Spruyt, Marlo Stone, Linda Storrs, Teddy Tjardes, Selina Turkson, Trisha Unrein, Scott Vess, Shirley Warren, Fay W. Watkins, Annie Williams, Earl P. Williams, Eric Williams, Deuane Woodard, Bao Yang.

Staff, Front row, L-R: Charlie LeBlanc, Mark Deskins, Jill LeBlanc, Ashley Terradez, Carlie Terradez, Vickey Rice, Lawson Perdue, Barry Bennett, Wayne Knurr, Andrew Wommack (CBC Founder), Rose Gonyer, Mike Gonyer, Gary Luecke (Director), Carol Odenwald, Dr. Delron Shirley, Anna Fulmer, Greg Macy and Samantha Crowell.

*Note: Graduates in blue, listed in alphabetical order, names do not correspond to photo or position.

United Kingdom Graduates

CBC-UK Graduates and staff
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Second row: Theo Kunatsa, Lily Assefa, Michael Allen, Mercy Mahara, Abebaye Eshetu, Johnny Hallas, Mandy Scott, Janet Hurd, Mary Edusei-Mensah; Third row: John Phillips, Roddy Haswell, Laura Consiglio, Peter White, Jan Kerntiff, Ntlai Mawete, Melinda Pabin, Paidamoyo Marapara, Sheila Phillips; Fourth row: Jamie Scott, Edwin Jansen, Cindy Kyle, Jane Mizha, George Bailey, David Whitefoot, Akinmarin Akinkuolie, Andre Malan, Christine Wilcock.

Staff, Front row L-R: Anthony Consiglio, Abi Elshaw, John Maunder, Siew Fong Flanagan, Paul Flanagan (Director), Kathryn Whitefoot, Samuel McQuigg, Roz McQuigg, Lee Collingwood.

CBC Chicago Graduates:

CBC-Chicago Graduates and staff
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Front row: Abby Flanagan, Brittany Bantner, Betty Bakker, Kathleen Buehn, Kelly McCauley; Middle row: Michael Pietrzak, Adelita Rounceville, Joanna Basile, Rita Luckett-Robinson, Michele Beene, Jennifer Bantner; Back row: James Heck, Mike Marcinkowski, Donald Harms, Rashaad Gibbs, Matthew Ryczek, Craig Mengarelli.

Staff, Left Side, Back to Front: Forrest Rensner, Pamela Gibbs, Theresa Murata; Right Side, Back to Front: David Rose, Deborah Patton, Francine Jackson, Cynthia Quarles (Director, in red).

CBC India Graduates

CBC-India Graduates and staff
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Front row: Philip Thomas, Kumar, Timothy Satyam, U. Elizabeth, Pratibha Solomon, Sylvia Satyam; Back row: Anoop, Tom Abraham, Alroy Matthews, Victor Gnaraj, Prathap Sing, James Damodharan, Moses, Sanjit, Jino, Don Bosco, Joshua Samuel, Ashish Shinde, John Martin, Vijay.

Staff in blue, Front row, L-R: Russ Forgoston (Director), David Forgoston, Judith Forgoston, Maria Riley.

CBC Jacksonville Graduates

CBC-Jacksonville Graduates and staff
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Front row: John Lee, Karen Lundquist, Melvine McCall, Doria Sousa; Back row: Rebecca Hurst, Lance Miller, Jessica Miller.

Staff, in black, L-R: Kim Knyght, Karen Reimer, Amanda Winter, Danon Winter (Director), Ronda Knyght.

CBC Atlanta Graduates

CBC-Atlanta Graduates and staff
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Front row: Sandra Crothers, Maria Erwin, Pamela Toussaint, Aleshia Robinson, Chinita Lytle, Dottie Benson; Second row: Homer Crothers, Kevin West, Kingsley Akumadu, Mitzi Flagg, Eric Jones, Rebecca Kennedy, Andrea Priest.

Staff: Tom Boyd (Director), Cynthia Boyd.

CBC Kansas City Graduates

CBC-KC graduates and staff
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L-R: Colleen Cassing, Yu Chong Seelye, Danny Phillips.

Staff:Cody Hull, far left (Director), Misty Hull, far right.


CBC Belfast Graduate

Liliana Kwarcinska
Staff: Yvonne and Grady O'Brien (Director)


CBTC Russia Graduates and Staff

CBTC graduates and staff (Click to enlarge)L-R, Front row: Valodia (Staff), Oxana, Ade, Ivan, Alex, Valya (Staff), Alexey, Fuseni, Alassan, George; Second row: Sara (Staff), Svetlana, Disheet, Lebo, Alaska, Olga, Alfia, Josephine, Tatiana, Tatiana, Egor, Leonid, Nangi, Oxana, Judy (Staff); Back row: Mark (Staff), Egor, Galina, Nadia, Leonid, Celia, Lillian, Edam, Alexander, Yami, Jack, Victor, Vadim, Dima, Job, Shaji, Robert, Clement, Manyo (Staff), Charles, Alexandra, Mike Pickett (Staff), Carrie Pickett (Director).


CBC Prison Ministry: Changing Lives

The Prison Ministry team from Charis Bible College, Jerry Cherian, Charlene Heatley, Caroline Walton, Darla Livingston, Garrett Ericksen, Mark Jones, Larry Hoover, Carl Reichart, Robert Smith, Sandy Upton and Johnathan Clark.
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In 2005 Don Krow, a former Charis Bible College (CBC) instructor and coauthor of the Discipleship Evangelism (DE) program, launched a correspondence-based prison ministry as part of an overseas outreach project. In an effort to establish a similar program to touch the lives of local inmates, Don and former CBC students, Vinnie and Becky Rose, tailored the outreach specifically to meet the mail restrictions for prisoners in Colorado.

Two years after the program's inception, first year CBC-Colorado student, Charlene Heatley signed up to be a part of the prison ministry effort. At that time the project involved writing encouraging letters to local prison inmates, and sending lessons from the Discipleship Evangelism (DE) course to those prisoners who expressed interest.

An inmate's handwritten testimony
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Through her participation in the letter exchange, Charlene developed a true heart for the ministry to the inmates, and wanted to see the prison ministry grow and become more effective. It was of utmost concern to her that the inmate’s questions were answered correctly, and that they understood what they were studying through the DE lessons. She began to write letters that were more intentional and focused on sharing the good news of
Jesus Christ.

Although the program had been established with good intentions, and was passed down through capable hands, by 2008 participation in the prison ministry had dwindled. Determined to see the program succeed, Charlene continued writing letters to minister to the inmates over the course of her summer break. She would stop by her campus mailbox once a week to check for letters from the prisoners and correspond accordingly.

Charlene composing a letter in response to an inmate submission. (Click to enlarge)When classes resumed for her second year, Charlene began the process of expanding the outreach efforts to include in-prison visitation. In order to gain the security clearance needed to enter and minister in a Colorado prison, she had to go through an application process with the Department of Corrections. This time consuming process required her to file extensive paperwork and attend special classes. Charlene kept the ministry active and moving forward, through the continued exchange of letters and lessons, while she completed the State requirements to enter the
prison facilities.

In 2009, at the beginning of Charlene's apprenticeship year, she was ready to hold a meeting for first year students interested in volunteering for the CBC Prison Ministry program. Charlene found ten students who had a heart to minister to those behind bars, and assigned one inmate to each of them. The requests for ministers from more inmates came quickly however, and soon, her student volunteers were ministering to an average of three inmates each. In addition, Charlene was writing to five inmates and making the in-prison visits. It became obvious to her that she had more responsibility than she could handle on her own. In an effort to manage the rapid growth of the ministry, she began recruiting new people to share some of the responsibility. CBC students Caroline Watson and Darla Livingston are now actively involved in the management of CBC Prison Ministry program.

Darla Livingston choosing the appropriate DE lesson to mail to one of her inmates.
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The inmates are responding to God's unconditional love, and the message of grace shared by the prison ministry volunteers. Charlene said that it is easy to recognize when the inmate's hearts have been touched by the Word through the varied and creative ways in which they express their appreciation. Charlene said some inmates have even written songs
of thanks.

The fruit Charlene sees from this ministry fills her with joy, and she has plans in the works for the expansion of the program. As a result of the outreach, several inmates now lead their own Bible studies, and Charlene knows of one prisoner who actually held a baptismal service in the prison. “I really have a heart for this. This is a ministry of love and forgiveness.”

Charlene has submitted a request to the Colorado Department of Corrections for permission to mail Andrew’s books to the prisons in Colorado on a monthly basis. She also has plans to acquire the necessary security clearance to enable more volunteers to participate in the in-prison ministry visits. Charlene believes that the program will eventually expand to prisons across the country and internationally as well. With her determination and her heart to reach the imprisoned, Charlene will see this vision, which the Lord has given her, come to pass.