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Entries in Ireland (4)

Thursday
Apr152010

Are You Waiting on God?

Yvonne and Grady O'Brien, Directors of Charis Bible College Belfast, Ireland.
(Click to enlarge)
What do you get when you cross a restaurateur from South Bend, Indiana with a professional stylist from Dublin, Ireland? A grand opportunity to watch God's plan unfold...

Grady O'Brien, born in South Bend, was operating a restaurant in Dallas, Texas when he met Yvonne, who was working as an Art Director for Toni & Guy Salons in the same city. The two were married and began their family in the early nineties.

In November of 2000, friends of the O'Briens invited them to a church in Oak Cliff, a community in Dallas, to hear Andrew teach. After Andrew shared his message, the O'Briens had the opportunity to speak with him. During their conversation, Yvonne's Irish roots were mentioned and Andrew recalled seeing amazing signs and wonders during a visit to Dublin. The O'Briens went on to share that they had a desire to minister to the people of Ireland. Andrew's response to their statement radically changed the O'Brien's lives. Andrew looked at them and asked, "Are you waiting on God?" Grady replied, "Yes." Andrew said, "Maybe God is waiting on you." Grady described the moment as if an arrow had pierced his heart, and in that moment he knew that through Andrew's words, God was confirming to him a call to
the ministry.

CBC Belfast, one of Grady's classes (Click to enlarge) Over the course of the following year the family left Dallas, and by faith relocated to Colorado Springs, where the pair enrolled in Charis Bible College (CBC). Grady attended on a full-time basis, while Yvonne home-schooled their three children, and completed the CBC first year Correspondence curriculum.

After Grady completed the two year program the couple met with Andrew to discuss their next step. With the goal of ministering to the people of Ireland still in mind, Andrew suggested that they move to England where Grady could further prepare for his role as a minister by completing a third year apprenticeship through CBC in Coventry, England. Yvonne graduated from CBC and Grady completed his apprentice program in 2004. They were ready to impact
the world!

Part of the experience at any CBC is the required foreign missions trip. Here, Yvonne and several students pray for a woman in a market in Malinalco, Mexico.Intending to open a CBC extension school, the O'Briens, and their four children moved to Galway, located on the western coast of Ireland. They made the most of every ministry opportunity; however, after a year's time they had not seen the response they were looking for as they sought to position the school. Another move was eminent.

In the Spring of 2005 Andrew visited Ireland and held meetings in both Dublin and Belfast. After attending both, it was clear to the O'Briens, that Belfast would be a much better location from which to launch the college. While at the Belfast meeting, Andrew asked Grady and Yvonne if they were sure they wanted to launch a school. After assuring him of their commitment to do so, Andrew announced their intent to open the CBC extension. Two months later the O'Briens moved to Antrim, just north of Belfast and began holding classes. In 2006 they moved into the school's current location within the city limits of Belfast.

Yvonne and students minister to a young boy in Mexico. (Click to enlarge)Now, after answering the Lord's call to ministry, and five years after the launch of CBC Belfast, the O'Briens are beginning to see the fruits of their efforts multiplied. They recently performed their first ordination ceremonies for several of their past graduates (2 Timothy 2:2).

Understanding from first-hand experience how powerful the message of God's unconditional love is, it is exciting for Grady and Yvonne to see the school growing. The college is filling up with students of varying ages and backgrounds, all coming together with a hunger for God's word. There are 19 students currently enrolled in CBC Belfast, and the O'Briens are anticipating that number will double over the course of the coming months.

Not everyone is called to full-time ministry or to open a Bible college like the O'Briens did, but if you find yourself waiting on the Lord, it could be that HE is waiting on you.

To learn more about the O'Briens and their ministry to the people of Ireland, visit the Charis Bible College-Belfast website.

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