Leland Shores III, a 2004 graduate of Charis Bible College in Colorado, launched CBC-Uganda in February 2010. He had been on the mission field in Africa since the latter part of 2005, and experienced tremendous success as he answered the Lord's call to make disciples in that region. Sadly, for those who knew him, Leland went home to be with the Lord in June of 2011, at the age of 49. At the time of his passing, CBC-Uganda had approximately 130 students enrolled. CBC graduate, Dean Crooks and his wife Linda stepped in as the school's interim directors. The couple led the students through the completion of the school year and held CBC-Uganda's first graduation ceremony. After graduation, Andrew and AWM's World Outreach Director, Wendell Parr, were forced to put CBC-Uganda's classes on hold until they found a full-time director.
Now, 14 months later, plans are in motion to re-open the Ugandan campus for the coming school year. The Lord has raised up a husband and wife team from Colorado to lead the charge; Henry (Hank) and Mary Lenz, have been named the new directors of CBC-Uganda.
Hank and Mary were fellow classmates and friends of Leland's. The couple graduated from CBC-Colorado in 2003, and Hank apprenticed in 2004. They first came across Andrew as a result of a friend inviting Hank to Andrew's annual Men's Advance. Hank remembers enjoying the message of grace that he heard Andrew teach, but he was sure there had to be a catch—he never found one.
The Lenzes managed a camp just outside Woodland Park, CO when they sensed God leading them to attend Bible school. One Sunday while visiting a church in Colorado Springs, the couple picked up materials from CBC which included information about the Expand Your Vision conference (now called Campus Days). It wasn't until they were on campus and classes had begun that they realized that CBC was an extension of Andrew's ministry.
Both Mary and Hank enjoyed their time at CBC and they had the eyes of their understanding opened. Many teachings made an impact on Mary, but she said that The True Nature of God helped her overcome many of her own religious misunderstandings. One class that really caught Hank's attention was Andrew's series on Righteousness. "When Andrew taught on Righteousness, I knew there was something there that I needed to understand at a heart level," Hank shared.
The Lenzes gained more than head knowledge of God's goodness while at CBC; they experienced it first-hand. When Mary was 11, she rode her bicycle to the local store, something her parents had not given her permission to do. On her ride, she had an accident with a car. Because of the guilt she felt, she tried to hide her injuries from her parents. Several days passed before she told them, and they took her to see a doctor. Mary had broken her hip.
At the recommendation of an orthopedic specialist Mary had surgery to address the damage. Mary's problem turned to tragedy when the surgeon damaged blood vessels as he placed a pin in her hip. As a result, growth in her hip and leg stopped, and disease also set in causing her hip to deteriorate further. As doctors sought ways to address her issues, Mary's other leg continued to grow. Doctors came up with a way to halt the growth of Mary's good leg, but not before it had grown an inch and a half longer than her injured leg. The length discrepancy caused curvature of the spine and a host of other problems.
Mary's physical problems lingered as she aged. Hank and Mary were married when they were 21, and the couple had their daughter, Amanda, when Mary was 26. By age 31, Mary could barely walk, and by 34 she was visiting the top hip replacement surgeons in the country seeking much needed help. After more complications, further problems ensued. Eventually, Mary was left deformed and dependent upon a pair of Canadian crutches, a scooter, a wheelchair and medication. Long-held, childhood dreams of becoming a missionary seemed lost, and the simple act of getting on the floor to play with her daughter became nearly impossible.
Two and a half years after the failed surgery, Mary had one more procedure. This time the hip replacement was deemed a success; her leg was attached, and her hip was aligned correctly. Although one leg was still shorter than the other, she still had scoliosis, and her muscles were so weak that Mary couldn't pick her leg up if she was lying on her back, she was optimistic.
Hank and Mary moved to Colorado Springs a year and a half after Mary's last surgery in 1996. When they started classes at CBC in 2001, Mary could still only walk short distances and she was unable to sit comfortably through the four hour class schedule. "One day when she left school early and went out to the car, and Andrew asked me to go out and bring her back in. He prayed for her, and she was able to sit for longer durations," said Hank.
Since that time, Mary has been able to take two mile walks, her stomach has been healed from damage caused by medication, she can lift her leg off the ground while lying on her back, and she can get on and off the floor by herself. She no longer relies on walking aides—Mary seldom even uses a cane. Mary is healed and gets stronger every day.
It is through CBC that Hank and Mary came to understand and receive all the blessings that are provided through Jesus' finished work. They enjoy seeking God and his grace, and having the Holy Spirit continually remind them of their righteousness. "God is good, all the time," said Hank. "Mary is going to be a missionary by God's grace," he declared.
At the writing of this post, Hank and Mary are on the ground in Kampala, Uganda getting things organized and promoting the re-opening of the school. Andrew will be holding meetings in Kampala in late October, and classes are set to begin the last week of January 2013. With plenty of time to get the ball rolling, and plans to include a new third year leadership training program, the Lenzes anticipate a full house. They have contacted more than 100 students that were sidelined without a school in 2011, and they have received an eager and excited response.