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Entries in Ecuador (3)

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.

Monday
Apr292013

CBC Students Minister in Ecuador

Second-year students from Charis Bible College in Colorado recently served on the mission field in Machala, Ecuador. (Click to enlarge)Early in March, ten second-year students from Charis Bible College in Colorado were given a taste of life on the mission field in Ecuador. The team, led by CBC's Online Education Director, Greg Macy and his wife, Citlalli, were hosted by Charis alumni and full-time missionaries, CBC grad and missionary, Mickey Cartagena addresses men in a local drug rehab in Machala.
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Mickey and Suzan Cartagena in Machala and Huaquillas.

While looking at the cultural and regional diversity of the team, one student was prompted to ask God, "Why did you put this team together? How is this going to work, Lord?" The student's questions came while preparing for the trip as a team and evaluating the diverse make-up of the group. The student was concerned about the team being able to come together in unity to serve the Lord. "We were like an orchestra warming up, we sounded out of tune," the student said.

Jeremie Hill, with the assistance of the CBC team Co-leader and translator, Citlalli Macy, shared his testimony in the drug rehab. (Click to enlarge)An amazing thing happened by the time the team arrived in Ecuador, our Lord, The Conductor, began to lead His orchestra. The student remarked, "All the pieces fit together and sounded so beautiful. Everything we had prepared separately was exactly what was needed at the right time."

Not only did the Lord bring this team together, but He used them in mighty ways, so much so that the Cartagenas opened their recent ministry newsletter with the headline: "CBC Colorado brings 'Love in Any Language' to Machala & Huaquillas, Ecuador."

Jeremie (bottom right) extends his hand in blessing and prayer.
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Mickey said, "As the team ministered in the home groups, in the church services, and in a rehabilitation center, they all ministered with the power of God’s love. How awesome it was to see the countenance on the people’s faces change as they encountered God’s unconditional love."

CBC student, Jeremie Hill, won't soon forget his time in Ecuador. He was given the opportunity to share his real-life prodigal son story at a drug rehab facility for men. Jeremie gave his victorious testimony, an account of coming out of the drug and alcohol scene after spending nearly a decade running from God. After Jeremie and a Jeremie, John (center, hand on man's back) and the team during a powerful time of prayer with the men who responded to the altar call.
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classmate, John Leong, shared their stories of hope with the residents, they gave an altar call to accept the love and forgiveness that Jesus had for each them—the same love that had saved them. About a dozen men came forward to receive Jesus. Jeremie said, "I was ecstatic! Then, we gave an opportunity for them to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit...even more men came forward at that point!" Nearly 30 men went forward in all.

"We saw healings, salvations, and the Holy Spirit move everywhere we were allowed to teach—even in the park and especial at the drug rehab center. It blessed me to be a part of this Ecuador team," said CBC student, Jane Montague.

Jane (pink) and the CBC team performed a puppet show for kid's in a children's home. (Click to enlarge)Jane also shared that the one thing that touched her heart the most was when the team visited the children's home. The home named, La Casita de Mi Sueños (Little House of My Dreams) is a place for children from broken homes, homes where the parents are drug addicts and where the children had been severely abused. In the home Jane used a puppet show to teach a lesson about the Lost Sheep and how Jesus is like the shepherd. She made sure to point out how precious each person is to Jesus, including each one in the children's home. After the puppet show, 10 children came forward for salvation. Jane said, "I started crying to see God's plan come to life through that simple story. God sent me to Ecuador for that reason, and it was beautiful."

Mission: Bring the unconditional love of God to the people of Ecuador. Mission accomplished.

Monday
May232011

A Mission of Healing

Recently, Charis Bible College-Colorado sent a team to the mission field in Ecuador. (Click to enlarge)God touched many lives through outstanding demonstrations of His healing power during a recent Charis Bible College (CBC) mission trip to Ecuador. Under the direction of Dr. Delron and Peggy Shirley and missionary to Central America, Mickey Cartagena, the CBC students learned that flexibility and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit are of utmost importance when on the mission field.

After nearly twenty-four hours of travel, the CBC team arrived at their hotel in Ecuador at four in the morning. Due to their travel schedule the team had planned to enjoy a slowly-paced first day. They visited a local botanical garden where they jumped into ministry mode and gave an impromptu presentation of a Gospel-centered skit to a group of senior citizens, also visiting the garden. Three CBC students, Pharisee Bendolph, Greg Bramblett and Dracian Coroian, stand around an Ecuadorian man and his wife. The students prayed for the man's eyesight. He was blind, but now he can see! (Click to enlarge)Soon, what could be described as a revival meeting broke out as nearly every senior citizen was prayed for by the CBC team members. Many instant healings were witnessed including the restoration of hearing and vision. "The schedule that I had prepared was one that would give the students many opportunities for ministry and fellowship with the people of Ecuador, but the student's enthusiasm and fervor created even more opportunities," said Mickey, the trip coordinator.

The experience with the senior citizen group set the tone for the rest of the trip as the team ministered in various cities including Machala, Huaquillas, Puerto Bolivar, Salinas and Pasaje. The students served as the hands and feet of Jesus, and continued to witness the healing power of God at work everywhere they went. Long lines of people, hungry for a touch from God, formed at each service.

The team gathered to pray for people who had come forward to receive Jesus and to be baptized in the Holy Ghost. (Click to enlarge)People came forward for salvation, baptism in the Holy Spirit, and especially for healing during the meetings. In addition to the many physical ailments that were healed, there were numerous emotional healings and deliverances. "The team wore buttons that said, 'Jesus valora tu vida,' meaning 'Jesus values your life.' This message flowed forth from the students' testimonies, their teachings, their mannerism, their actions, and from their hearts to each and every person they came in contact with, and it was life changing for many," said Mickey.

One woman named Martha grieved the loss of her mother, father and brother. Martha also harbored feelings of anger because she thought her sister had wanted her brother to die so that she would receive more inheritance. These emotional burdens made Martha easy prey for demonic oppression. Mickey Cartagena, trip coordinator and co-founder of Alpha and Omega International Ministries, translating for CBC student Joann Rye.
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As she came forward for prayer, the demon which was tormenting her began to manifest and put Martha into a trance-like state. CBC students took authority over the spirit, and Martha became conscious again. The team then prayed with her to be able to forgive her sister, and to receive emotional healing. It was impossible to miss the huge smile of freedom on Martha’s face following prayer.

Another woman, Tiffany, had been suffering from epileptic seizures for eighteen years, often suffering as many as five per day. Her mother and sister brought her to one of the CBC meetings held in a high school auditorium in the town of Pasaje. While at the meeting Tiffany had a seizure. Her mother explained that being in large crowds triggered her seizures. The students, and other local believers spent an hour praying over her, but she never regained consciousness. Even though her family knew the crowds could trigger her to have another severe seizure, the family brought Tiffany back for another meeting in Machala. The CBC team ministered to young and old alike. Here they pray for a young boy. (Click to enlarge)When they arrived a group of students met Tiffany and her family outside the church, and her mother reported that Tiffany had only experienced one mild seizure that day, which was a significant improvement. Since Tiffany was alert, the team could easily minister to her. Since the family was not completely sure of whether or not they were truly born-again, the prayer team prayed with Tiffany’s family for salvation first. The team then continued ministering to Tiffany for healing and deliverance. After a short time, Tiffany announced she wanted to go inside the church. Since she was able to go into the crowded church without experiencing a seizure, the team took it as evidence that she had received her healing.

CBC student, Fancine Van Bromell, with two little girls. The team made special note of the how children at each meeting were drawn to Fancine.
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During the last night at the church in Marchala, fifteen-year-old Yaniel came forward for prayer. He was completely deaf. As prayer began and the healing power of God was released upon him, Yaniel fell to the floor grasping his head in tremendous pain. Eventually, he was able to explain to his mother why he was in pain. Yaniel’s mother told the CBC students that he was hearing for the first time and the unfamiliar sensation was overwhelming due to the complete silence he had experienced for fifteen years.

As people were touched by the power of God, they couldn’t help but share their testimonies, and the excitement became contagious and irresistible. Entire families received salvation and baptism in the Holy Spirit. One man, after being filled with the Holy Spirit shared that he could feel, “fire inside his heart.”

The entire mission trip was truly a healing journey. In addition to the many lives that were touched, healed and delivered throughout the trip, the CBC team also left Spanish translations of many of Andrew’s books behind; these are sure to continue to bless the people of Ecuador.