On March 2, after more than 30 hours of continuous travel, a mission team from Charis Bible College was back at home in Colorado Springs. The 14 person team, led by CBC Night School Director, Mark Jones and CBC-intern, Sharayah Stitt, had just returned from a week's worth of ministry in Russia.
The Colorado team was hosted by seasoned missionaries, Carrie and Mike Pickett, the Directors of Andrew Wommack Ministries Russia, and the CBC extension school, Charis Bible Training Center in St. Petersburg. The Picketts provided the visiting mission team with many opportunities to share God's unconditional love and grace with the Russian people. The Colorado second-year students taught the first-year students at CBTC in a classroom setting, they visited a drug rehab where they shared with individual groups of men and women, and they also visited a church several hours north of St. Petersburg.
Having heard the wonderful testimonies from previous mission teams, Colorado student, Clint Zeller, went to Russia anticipating having an amazing ministry experience. What he didn't expect was the way in which the Lord would minister to him. Through his time in Russia, Clint began to understand his relationship with Jesus in a new way.
"This trip helped me realize that I can stop questioning everything that comes to me, and just rest in Him. I don't think we realize how cluttered our lives are until we have a chance to step away, even for a short time, and completely focus on Him. So many times we allow our minds to get in the way of what God is telling us, but His voice becomes much clearer when we can put everything aside and just allow Him to move through us. No matter what He calls us to, we can rest in the fact that we are blessed no matter where we are. We don't have to worry about anything because He is with us. It took a trip to the other side of the planet for me to figure this out, but it's definitely something I won't forget," said Clint.
One of the places the team had the opportunity to minister was at a small village church in northwestern Russia, in the Republic of Karelia. The church recently started a small Bible school and was hungry for more teaching of the Word. The students spent a couple of nights teaching, sharing testimonies and praying for the people in the congregation.
For one CBC student, JB McKoy, the visit to the church in Karelia provided the opportunity to minister one-on-one to a former prison inmate. JB said that the man, Dema, had been in prison for the past six years. He had been on and off drugs, and he was afraid of falling back into drug dependence. JB was able to pray with him over the course of the two nights in Karelia and he was able to encourage Dema in the sufficiency of God's love to keep him on the right path.
JB also enjoyed ministering in front of a larger crowd at CBTC. "I had the wonderful opportunity to share my life-changing message on renewing the mind with over twenty Russian first-year students, plus the team and school staff," JB said.
JB put everything he had into his message and its delivery and was excited to see the students' expressions as the message began to resonate with them at what JB perceived to be a heart level. He saw the students writing down the many Scripture references he shared, and he knew the Word would have a tremendous impact. At the conclusion of JB's teaching, he gave each student a gift, a matted print he had made of a butterfly picture with a Scriptural message of hope and encouragement written in Russian.
Clint and JB's experiences are just two more examples of the wonderful way the Lord weaves his love and grace into the ministry that takes place on the mission field as CBC students go forth proclaiming the Good News.