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Entries in Mexico (7)

Monday
Oct042010

From the Medical Field to the Mission Field

Charis Bible College graduates Carolina and Oswaldo Santos are the directors of the Home Cell Groups at Palabra de Vida Church in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, Mexico. (Click to enlarge)Oswaldo and Carolina Santos, originally from Nicaragua, came to the United States in 1983 seeking political asylum, exercising the basic right to seek shelter in another country if one has a reasonable fear of persecution within their own country for differing political opinions. They were granted asylum, and in 1995 the couple became United States Citizens. In 2004, they moved from Nebraska to Colorado Springs to attend Charis Bible College (CBC).

Both physicians, the Santoses worked in the medical field at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota from 1983 until 2003. After their youngest of four children graduated from college, they made plans to move to Guadalajara, Mexico to serve as full-time missionary physicians. Before they left, an elderly friend, Jack Simmons from Gordon, Nebraska, asked Oswaldo to drive him to Estes Park, Colorado to attend Andrew’s annual Men’s Advance conference. Oswaldo (yellow shirt) teaching Discipleship Evangelism. (Click to enlarge)Oswaldo agreed, and thought he would spend the majority of the conference working out the details for his move to Mexico. Instead, he found himself engrossed in Andrew’s teaching of the Gospel and made the decision that Mexico would have to wait (Isaiah 55:8-9). Two weeks after the conference, Oswaldo sent his application to CBC in Colorado Springs. After the couple attended the Summer Family Bible Conference in 2004, Carolina made the commitment to attend CBC as well. The couple graduated in 2006.

While attending CBC, the Santoses were chosen to go to Mexico for their second year mission trip. There, they met and sensed a strong connection with Bobby and Lynn Crow of World Missions Outreach and Palabra de Vida Church in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, Mexico. Bobby and Lynn Crow with Carolina and Oswaldo. (Click to enlarge)After returning to Colorado Springs, Oswaldo and Carolina shared the desire to go back to Mexico to serve the community via the Crow’s ministry. After seeking guidance from Andrew and CBC Dean of Students, Wayne Knurr, the couple contacted the Crows and asked them if they could serve their ministry as volunteers. Bobby and Lynn agreed and the Santoses once again made plans to move to Mexico—this time they wouldn’t be serving as physicians.

The couple began volunteering at Palabra de Vida (Word of Life) Church in August of 2006. Two months later, Bobby asked Oswaldo and Carolina to take over the care of the Home Cell Groups for the church. Map of Mexico (Click to enlarge)Despite their lack of experience, they joyfully agreed to take on the additional responsibility. “God does not call the equipped, but He equips whom He calls,” Oswaldo said.

Carolina and Oswaldo have had great success teaching the Discipleship Evangelism (DE) program in their Home Cell Groups (2 Timothy 2:2). For many years the couple had the desire to disciple people, and the DE program has given them an excellent tool to do so effectively. They have seen lives transformed, saved, and delivered. They have also had the honor of baptizing some in water and to lead others in the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Teaching a small group in the local community. (Click to enlarge)The couple has not limited the DE program to their groups, they have also assisted some local pastors from different denominations. The pastors have reportedly received the teaching with joy, and their churches are growing again. Oswaldo and Carolina have also shared the DE program with believers back in the nation of Nicaragua.

The Santoses medical career had been rewarding for them; they were always working with people and they saw many restored to health as a result of their medical care. Now however, serving the Lord full-time, they find they are exceedingly blessed and more fulfilled as they see lives changed through their Home Cell Groups, the DE program, and individualized counseling. “We are experiencing eternal rewards that we did not experience while we were practicing our medical careers,” Oswaldo said.

Oswaldo and Carolina Santos are just one more testimony of the process of multiplication that begins at Charis Bible College.

Thursday
Sep022010

Blessed to be a Blessing

CBC Dallas' mission team members, Barron Skelton and Arlettia Sharp on their way to Mexico. (Click to enlarge)One Saturday morning in January, with the temperature in Dallas, Texas hovering at an uncharacteristically cold thirteen degrees, Barron Skelton and Arlettia Sharp, second year students at Charis Bible College-Dallas, and college Administrator, Shirley Johnson departed for their mission trip to northern Mexico. On the way to Mexico the CBC-Dallas team stopped in Harlingen, Texas, just north of the Mexican border, where they met with students from CBC-Chicago and CBC-Kansas City to form one larger missions team. The group was hosted by Bobby and Lynn Crow, founders of World Missions Outreach and Palabra de Vida (Word of Life) in Ciudad Victoria, Mexico.

Although the team headed south of the U.S. Border, there was no reprieve from the cold weather for the missionaries, as Ciudad Victoria was experiencing the coldest winter in recent history. The mission team from CBC-Chicago.
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Everyone was thankful that they had packed plenty of warm clothes. Even though the weather was unpleasant, the students were welcomed warmly by the Crows and their staff.

On Sunday morning the CBC students attended church services at Palabra de Vida, and were blessed by the hospitality of the church members. It was a joy for them to be received and treated as family, and to participate in the anointed worship service, for which the Crows and their church have become renowned.CBC-Kansas City's mission team.
(Click to enlarge)

The first official day of street ministry took place in one of the many poor neighborhoods in Victoria. The residents of the neighborhood were welcoming, and students were humbled by the generosity and thoughtfulness of those they visited. Although it was obvious that the local people didn’t have much in the way of material wealth, they were eager to share what little they did have with the students. The team prayed with the residents for financial provision, healing, for runaway children to return and for many other needs. CBC students rested after playing soccer with some local children. (Click to enlarge)Ten people received Jesus as their Lord and Savior during the first day on the mission field.

Rita Luckett-Robinson from CBC-Chicago served as one of the team's children’s ministers. She brought many fun items for the kids, and she also played the flute for them. During one tent meeting, the team saw thirty children saved; it was a time of great rejoicing.

Each tent meeting the team held was fruitful. One CBC student would give a testimony and one would share a message each evening. The students also performed skits demonstrating the unconditional love of God, which proved very effective in reaching the people's hearts. Barron Skelton praying for people during one of the meetings. (Click to enlarge)Many residents responded with great enthusiasm and received Jesus, and some were filled with the Holy Spirit. One woman was so blessed by the ministry's outreach on one particular evening that she actually went forward specifically to pray for a student, instead of to receive prayer for herself.

At another meeting a young man who had received salvation stepped forward to share his testimony. He explained that he had been a local police officer but had been caught selling guns to “the bad guys.” He shared about how God had gotten him out of jail when it looked like he would never get out, and how his wife had been sick with a growth in her chest and how God had healed her. Arlettia Sharp ministers in the prayer line after a meeting. (Click to enlarge)It was a very emotional testimony that touched the hearts of those in attendance, including the members of mission team.

The CBC teams were sad to say good-bye to Mexico. They left feeling as though they had received as much as they had given. From the people they ministered to, to the kitchen staff at Palabra de Vida who never let them go hungry, to Bobby and Lynn Crow and their family who shared challenging messages and words of encouragement, as well as met their every need, the students were truly blessed.

Monday
Aug232010

CBC-Belfast's Mission to Mexico

CBC-Belfast participated in true marketplace ministry. (Click to enlarge)Earlier this year a small team of staff and students from Charis Bible College in Belfast, Ireland went to Mexico on a mission trip. The four-person CBC team led by school Co-Director, Yvonne O’Brien, was hosted by Paco and Isabel Martinez, founders of a small Malinalco-based helps ministry. They ministered throughout Mexico City and Malinalco with the assistance of the Martinez' daughter, CBC-UK graduate and Pastor, Lorena Lucey. Yvonne was eager to report that many lives were touched, including the lives of the missionaries themselves.

Yvonne was thrilled about the open and receiving hearts that her team encountered. In Mexico City the team held well-attended meetings in homes and conference centers. They also spent several days in the mountain region of Malinalco, ministering to and healing the sick in the market square and in the town of Jesus Maria. (Click to enlarge)Yvonne said of the people they encountered in Mexico, "No matter where we were or who we were with, the one thing that stood out to me was, ‘God’s love never fails’ and sharing His love with people is not complicated." She went on to recall memories of the many people who came forward during their meetings, and gave their lives to the Lord; people were baptized in the Holy Ghost and set free from all kinds of sickness and disease.

Liliana Kwarcinska ministers to a small crowd in Jesus Maria. (Click to enlarge)CBC student, Liliana Kwarcinska had much to say about her experience in Mexico. She said, “This mission trip was a life changing experience for me and I will draw from the memories of it for the rest of my life. The biggest highlight for me was the opportunity to minister God's love to the people. The team was able to minister in a variety of ways including, sharing testimonies, teaching simple truths from the Word of God, healing the sick and baptizing people in the Holy Spirit."

One man, suffering from stroke-related paralysis down the right hand side of his body, approached Liliana for prayer. She explained, "I asked him, ‘What do you want prayer for?’ He told me, ‘I want to have full function of my body.’ I told him, 'He could walk today.' I helped him out of the wheelchair and we started to walk together. I asked his family if this was normal. They were speechless."

Debbie Lamont ministers to a woman in Mexico. (Click to enlarge)Another wonderful memory the team shared from the trip was seeing true marketplace evangelism in action. Liliana said, "We had the opportunity to interact with people on the street. We prayed for healing or salvation right in the middle of a busy market. Right in the midst of the business of life, people’s lives were transformed forever. It is so wonderful to be able to apply what I’ve learned in College. I now have the confidence to minister God’s love anywhere to anybody.”

CBC students, Allan Bruce, Liliana Kwarcinska and Debbie Lamont.
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CBC team member, Debbie Lamont was excited to see firsthand how discipleship really works. She said, “All of the Belfast team had an opportunity to minister during the meetings, and were also ministered to by what the resident people shared with us. I can see that sharing the gospel should not be only from a pulpit, but very much part of our everyday lives. The nice thing about small groups is that people get a chance to share with each other, and that is so encouraging. I can’t thank Yvonne, Grady and CBC-Belfast enough for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this mission trip. It has been life changing for me.”

Having some fun exploring Mexican culture. (Click to enlarge)Allan Bruce, CBC team member and the trip photographer, had the opportunity to capture some of the memories and sights of beautiful Mexico. He said, “The mission trip was amazing in so many ways. I photographed ministry, people, food of all kinds, local people and places, villages and city life. I was amazed at the contrasts of it all. Personally I am changed forever because of this trip. I would like to thank all those who supported us through prayer and giving, you have helped change so many lives."

Paco and Isabel have set up a ministry center in Malinalco, Mexico where people are welcome to attend workshops, and classes. In addition, the couple uses the center to teach Discipleship Evangelism (DE). Individuals come to their center and receive from the DE Lessons what it means to be a disciple, and then in turn, go out and share with others. This is the cycle the Apostle Paul spoke of in 2 Timothy 2:2, the scripture upon which Andrew launched Charis Bible College.