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  • Vivian Ochoa | Columbia International University
    missions learning new languages linguistic survey Bible translation projects training workshops visiting the sick in hospitals and evangelistic relationships It has been an honor to serve the Lord in this way but not everything has been easy Many missionaries today experience stress due to interpersonal problems lack of support from sending churches or from traumatic events like wars persecution accidents or serious illness Some of them have to go back to their country without completing their work experiencing added disappointment But research has proven that the investment of resources in the care of missionaries helps them remain healthy and effective in ministry That is why I decided to attend Columbia International University to earn a master s degree in Pastoral Counseling I am now working in Ghana Africa serving in the care of other missionaries throughout West Africa Ghana is surrounded by countries where there is war persecution insurgence hunger and deadly diseases Missionaries serving the people of this region are living with these difficulties and are under constant stress I am serving with the Mobile Member Care Team MMCT a cooperative inter agency service that provides training consultation counseling crisis response and referral for cross cultural workers We want

    Original URL path: http://www.ciu.edu/impactstories/vivian-ochoa (2016-01-26)
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  • Robbie McAlister | Columbia International University
    was from the Lord While I was a student at Columbia International University I began to pray for the Soviet Bloc asking God to allow me to invest my life where there was great openness to the gospel but little opportunity to hear After the collapse of the Soviet Union I had the chance to take a short term mission trip to Ukraine a trip that I learned about through CIU My heart for the world expanded through that trip and my studies at CIU I came back to the United States and asked our church to pray about sending my family to serve as its first missionaries As I finished seminary my family s excitement for missions grew Upon graduation our church sent us to Ukraine as pioneer missionaries What we originally planned to be two years in Ukraine quickly turned into 10 years of church planting leadership development and work with orphans and missionary kids We witnessed the advance of God s Kingdom as He allowed us to form eternal relationships with people like Andre Viola Sasha and Zoiya who were indeed living in a part of the world with openness to the gospel but with few opportunities

    Original URL path: http://www.ciu.edu/impactstories/robbie-mcalister (2016-01-26)
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  • Sarah Nixon | Columbia International University
    little tiny ones I then challenged them to be honest about their sin to step into the light like they had been asked to do in chapel I opened the board to them and told them that if they felt led they could come write theirs I spoke the words of Hebrews Today if you hear His voice do not harden your heart And I leaned on my desk and looked at my Bible as student after student many with tears streaming down their faces came up and wrote their sins Lying Cheating I am afraid that no one will love me Hypocrisy Cutting Self Image Disrespect I pretend things are alright when I know they re not Gossip Hatred I feel ugly Suicidal I say mean things I hurt others And one by one their sins filled the board as my eyes filled with tears I cried with them and they all sat in silence I watched as one of the sweetest girls got up her whole body shaking It was clear she was fighting for this fighting to be honest fighting to finally face her sin She came to the board and standing all alone in front of 20 other eighth graders she wrote one word on the board with a slight sob Lust And then she turned around went back to her seat and buried her head in her arms crying I looked at them and asked them all to look at the board to see their sins I told them that even if they hadn t written their sins they probably were up there Then I read My dear children I write this to you so that you will not sin But if anybody does sin we have one who speaks to the Father in our

    Original URL path: http://www.ciu.edu/impactstories/sarah-nixon (2016-01-26)
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  • April Hatten | Columbia International University
    doctor But while on a mission trip to El Salvador God started changing my plans As I saw the spiritual neediness of those who had never heard the gospel I realized God was calling me to invest my gifts in an area other than medicine I took a year off and taught in a high school located in a high poverty area It was there that God changed my desires from healing people medically to healing them spiritually I met representatives from Columbia International University at a Christian conference and they introduced me to the heart of the school I decided to enroll and it was at CIU that God put within me a longing to see His truth shared with the least of these Through my classes and the guidance of my professors I began to realize the impact I could have in the lives of young people as I share with them the lasting transformation found in the eternal truth of God s Word That led me to the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice DJJ where I disciple and mentor incarcerated youth It s a joy to watch God s redemptive work become a reality in their

    Original URL path: http://www.ciu.edu/impactstories/april-hatten (2016-01-26)
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  • Chesed Berry | Columbia International University
    and loved the professors who were passionate about facilitating debate and discussion experiential learning study tours projects and individual research The culture of this particular program of study was intimate and intellectual and discussions most often continued well after leaving the classroom I fully believed when I graduated I would go directly to the mission field to implement my educational experience However I found myself back home in Destin Fla with student loans working in the marketplace To be completely transparent I often struggled with feelings that I was wasting time settling for the comforts of home Each time those thoughts would discourage me God would provide yet another opportunity for me to speak truth to someone in conflict to provide for someone in need and to share His love with someone in pain Gradually God got through to me that my mission field existed wherever I was and that everything I did could be ministry The lesson is a crucial one God wants to and will use you no matter where you are as long as you remain available Looking back I can see how He gently prodded and guided me to each workplace and how all of my experience led up to my current role In February 2011 my husband Patrick and I moved to Edmond Okla to work at LifeChurch tv a multi site church reaching more than 30 000 people each weekend on 14 campuses Tens of thousands more all over the globe attend Church Online weekly This incredibly generous organization is making a lasting difference around the world by leading people to become fully devoted followers of Christ Through life changing messages and experiences free resources and cutting edge technology we re using every tool within our grasp to spread God s truth and love

    Original URL path: http://www.ciu.edu/impactstories/chesed-berry (2016-01-26)
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  • Erin Austin | Columbia International University
    than I hoped and to be honest I wasn t sure how to cope with the changes I was facing CIU quickly became an anchor in my storm The faculty as well as my friends encouraged me in more ways than I can count Professors took time out of their busy schedules to help me understand lessons I missed when I was too sick to attend class They not only taught me out of books but they taught me by example Whenever I doubted God s love and faithfulness because of my suffering they reminded me just how special I am to God Knowing the doubts worries and fears that often come with a chronic illness I felt God call me to minister to others who suffer with a chronic illness I founded Broken but Priceless Ministries to reach out to Christians who question God because of the suffering they must face Almost daily I speak with people all over the United States who feel they have no one to talk with who will understand their questions about God I have the privilege of speaking in churches and visiting people to help them see just how special they are to

    Original URL path: http://www.ciu.edu/impactstories/erin-austin (2016-01-26)
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  • Kurt Nelson | Columbia International University
    Elena was held captive by the covenant she had made with the idols of the Santería religion a local religion that blends African voodoo practices and Catholicism Elena had Santería idols hidden in her home and now they were haunting her She even wore a bracelet made of yellow beads which symbolized the covenant to Santería that she had made In the middle of the night as her family slept an oppressive spirit woke her as if it was trying to suffocate her She felt hopeless and didn t know where else to turn but to God As she cried out to Him she felt the evil spirit move away from her and the little puppy at her feet woke up very agitated and began to bark And then suddenly the evil spirit left and the night was filled with peace Inexplicably she immediately felt compelled to go outside and to fill the pool she kept on her front porch with water and then she returned to bed We met Elena the following day after this had taken place As we shared the gospel with her she instantly knew that she wanted to fully commit her life to Christ this time Elena prayed to receive Christ and then immediately tore the yellow beaded bracelet from her wrist She gathered her Santería idols and handed them to the pastor to destroy for her Within minutes the local pastor baptized Elena in the small pool she had mysteriously filled with water the night before What happened the next day confirmed the genuine newfound faith that had invaded Elena s heart less than 24 hours before Three of her neighbors stopped by her home and Elena led all three to faith in Christ Then on her own accord Elena went to the local

    Original URL path: http://www.ciu.edu/impactstories/kurt-nelson (2016-01-26)
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  • Davon Stack | Columbia International University
    Columbia International University It gave me the hermeneutical and Greek training I needed for the ministry to which God has called me CIU equipped me to rightly divide and teach God s Word and prepared for where I serve today I have the privilege of serving as the director of the junior high outreach ministry at Perimeter Church This ministry The BRICKS gives students many of whom are unchurched the opportunity to have fun in a safe place Every Friday night during the school year we have a hang out time About 275 of the 350 students who regularly attend are not in church on Sunday mornings Students play games climb the rock wall and enjoy snacks The highlight of the night though is when we share the gospel through games music small group discussions student testimonies and speakers A lot of the unchurched students who come to The BRICKS are beginning to hear and understand that God loves them and desires to have a relationship with them Students are realizing Jesus can heal the deep pain in their lives and that He alone is the One they need Christian students are growing in their faith as well They are

    Original URL path: http://www.ciu.edu/impactstories/davon-stack (2016-01-26)
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