CBS MAGA ZINE 2018
TO THE 2018 EDITION OF SHARING MAGAZINE! Reaching out to bring others in. That’s what Jesus would do. In fact, Jesus extended a warm welcome to two men who wanted to learn more about His teaching. “Teacher, where are you staying?” Jesus’ reply: “Come and See.” And after seeing the Messiah … after hearing His words … one of the men—Andrew— invited his brother Simon Peter to meet the Teacher.
KIMM CARR Executive Director
The Scriptures include stories of others who accepted Christ’s invitation and then extended it to others: Philip reached out to his friend Nathaniel. The Woman at the Well brought her village to meet the Master. “Come and See a man who told me everything I’ve ever done.” Reaching out to bring others in. It’s no surprise that Jesus invited others to walk with Him. To talk with Him. To listen to His words. He is the God of warm welcome who invites all—the weary, the sinner, the troubled—into His presence. From His words in Isaiah 55: “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat!”… to His open call at the great feast in John 7: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink”… Christ extends a welcome to all. Today, modern disciples are extending Christ’s invitation. Community Bible Study groups around the world are inviting others to “Come and See”—to experience Jesus through caring, in-depth Bible study happening in their communities. And in this issue of Sharing magazine, we’re celebrating the stories of those who are reaching out to bring others in. Into their CBS groups and into Christ’s loving arms. Want to know more? Come and See!
© Jack Brauer
Where does your day take you? THE PLACES WHERE YOU LIVE, WORK AND PLAY ARE THE PLACES WHERE YOU CAN INVITE PEOPLE TO VISIT CBS. CLICK HERE to see the value of an invitation. A local CBS group in Kalamazoo, Michigan,
invited men and women from the Kalamazoo
Gospel Mission to join their CBS groups for a year-long training and discipleship program. “Core Group par ticipants go out of their way to encourage and suppor t the men and women,” says Ron Killian, Teaching Director of the Kalamazoo Men’s Evening Class. “I’m not sure who has benef ited more, them or us.”
Nancy St. Pierre, After School Kids Teaching Director, shares how her CBS group
invites new families to CBS . “By setting up a booth at
the San Juan Capistrano [California] summer nights concer ts, we met the head of the elementar y PTA who came to the booth, signed her kids up and is now bringing half her neighborhood to ASK! ”
Brighter teeth … brighter future. A CBS member in Virginia used a dental cleaning to invite her hygienist to a new Remote Core Group in her area. “The woman had never studied the Bible and was
looking for a way to grow closer to God.”
Lynn hosts an English as a second language (ESL) class in her home in New Mexico and
invites the women who attend to come and visit her CBS Ethnos group. “I thank God for all the ladies and how much we are learning ever y week.”
The playground. The office. A coffee shop. Your neighborhood. They’re the everyday places where you live, work and play. They’re filled with the people you see every day. People who need to hear Christ’s open invitation to Come and See. So the next time you take your children to the park … walk the dog … or just sit down and enjoy a warm cup of java, take a look around. This place— where you are right now—is a place Jesus would visit. And these people— the busy mom, the stressed co-worker, the grouchy neighbor—are the people Jesus would talk to. The kind of people He would welcome. The people He’d look in the eye and say, “Are you looking for something more? Come and See.”
Come and See … the World in My Neighborhood CBS goes to where refugee students are and invites them to study God’s Word You might recognize some of the countries from the many news stories about war and violence: Syria. Somalia. Croatia. Cambodia. But a CBS Student group in Clarkston, Georgia, sees things differently. To them, each countr y represents a child who lives nearby and attends their classes.
CBS participants serve refugee children in Clarkston, Georgia.
Clarkston is a suburb of Atlanta. It’s home to nearly 16,000 people. Since the 1990s, the city has welcomed more than 40,000 refugees from the world’s many hotspots and war zones. So many, in fact, that the refugee influx— par t of a government asylum program—has earned the city its nickname: “The Ellis Island of the South.” Public transpor tation is available. Housing is affordable. High-density apar tment complexes offer extra space to extended families. Even more impor tantly, the town residents practice southern hospitality and offer a warm welcome to displaced people. As a result, nearly half of Clarkston’s population hails from outside the United States. And to CBS leaders Sharon Koerber, Angela Kirk and Beth Southers, Clarkston is the mission field next door. “My involvement is a long story,” Sharon explains. She and her husband, Mike, met as overseas missionaries. When God prompted them to move back to the United States more than a decade ago, the Koerbers made Clarkston their home and began reaching out to refugee families. In addition to ministering to displaced families, Sharon also served as a Core Leader for the local CBS Day Class. While attending a CBS conference, she learned about a program designed for school-aged children. “I learned about the ASK (After School Kids) program and wanted my children to be involved in it, but there was only one in our area and it was too far away for us to participate.” She had no way of knowing, however, that an even greater opportunity lay ahead. Eighteen months after Sharon first heard of the ASK program, God challenged CBS leader Beth Southers to begin praying about an ASK program in Clarkston. Beth was already serving children in an ASK program … and working with another ministry that tutored refugee children in Clarkston … when she attended a CBS conference for Teaching Directors. She heard a speaker describe how God uses our passions. “He quoted Fredrich Buechner, ‘Your calling is where your passion meets the need of the world.’ And I heard 6
God speaking to my spirit that my passions could be married. That we could take CBS, which I’ve loved and served for over 20 years, to meet the needs of the world, which had been brought to us in Clarkston.” When the conference ended, Beth shared her passion with Area Directors and told them God was calling her to star t a Prayer Group to reach these students in Clarkston. The CBS Student Team (Student Outreach) connected with Beth and explained that—in addition to traditional Student CBS classes—CBS also has classes with a flexible framework to reach students at the center where they were already gathered. Next, Beth was put in touch with CBS par ticipants who had personal connections to the small town. One of them was Sharon Koerber. “Beth asked the Area Director for our Day Class if she knew of anyone that would be interested in star ting a
CLICK HERE to see the students’ Bible cheer! Atlanta suburb. Their needs are great. “The youngest daughter has attended school in Syria, Jordan, Egypt and now Clarkston in the span of less than two years. She never had an English conversation before she was thrust into an English-speaking school. She is a diligent student, but her mother suffers from debilitating depression and her father from a severe medical condition.”
Clarkston, Georgia, has welcomed refugees since 1990.
Prayer Group for an ASK class in Clarkston. She asked Annie [Bollinger] and myself to meet with Beth, not knowing of my interest in ASK. We met to star t the Prayer Group and the rest is history.”
“We sometimes refer to them as new Americans or new neighbors— because they were refugees , but they aren’t anymore . Now, they have a home . They have a path forward.” Annie Bollinger
Sharon and Annie began a “test run” class to see how the program would be received in the area. “I clearly felt called out of my Core Leader role and into the Teaching Director role of the new class,” Sharon says. “Obviously, I feel called to minister to refugees, but I also feel that all children (no matter where they are born … or their circumstances) should get the opportunity to hear the Gospel and know the love of Jesus so they can be in a relationship with Him.” Sharon is not the only person to feel God’s call to serve the Clarkston community. Angela Kirk also serves the refugee children. “I am working with one family that fled for their lives a year and a half ago. The war in Syria pushed them from their family home and pushed them into Jordan.” The family moved from Jordan to Cairo, Egypt, and finally found a home in the small
And there are others with greater needs. “There is another family from Nepal … the oldest daughter is about 7. This sweet girl hugs on me and on everyone else who comes by. She wants much to be loved. Many times when I walk her back to her apar tment after a planned outing, the door is locked and no one is there. The parents have experienced their own trauma and have little resources with which to help their children adapt.” At such a young age, the little girl struggles to reconcile the Gospel message she hears at CBS with the abandonment she experiences at home. “If this is real,” she asks, “why don’t my parents believe it?” We bring the Bible to where students Still, there are others who are starting to are! CBS Student accept Christ’s life-changing message. Angela Outreach is a explains: “The parents had to sign off to let the flexible framework children attend our Bible class. On the last day for Bible study of the class, we passed out Bibles to each of that can be used the students. One little boy politely refused, almost anywhere. saying he could not take a Bible into his home. Recent examples The leader who handed him the Bible wisely include public school responded that he did not have to take it home. programs, classroom He could receive the gift and then leave it with curriculum, youth us to use when he came to class. Somehow this clubs and tutoring lifted the pressure from the little boy and he centers. We develop said, ‘I think I will take it home after all.’ ” curricula for As refugees continue to find shelter in their students of all ages, town, the Clarkston CBS group will continue from pre-school to to invite them to find community and hope— high school. to Come and See the love of Christ. Sharon sums it up best: “I feel that my involvement CLICK to learn boils down to the oppor tunity to live out the Gospel by loving God and loving people. more about CBS All people.”
Student Outreach. 7
Come and See … My Anxiety CBS invites an overwhelmed mom to find fellowship God uses CBS participants in unexpected ways. Of course, there’s the Bible study aspect … and there’s the communitybuilding connection. But there are times when God uses us to bring hope and healing to individuals. And sometimes, it all starts with a personal invitation to Come and See. Beth battled anxiety and often struggled to keep it under control … until a woman named Joy invited her to a CBS group. Here’s Beth’s story:
A simple invitation made a world of difference in Beth’s life.
“We were playing when a little boy came in with his family. The little boy was so sweet, and his family was too! As the boys were playing, a woman with the family began talking to me. She spoke so sweetly and softly, then she began asking a little about us. As they got up to leave, the lady mentioned a women’s Bible study group that she helped with. She took my email address and said that she would send me the information. That’s the day I signed up for CBS. “As CBS went on, my husband first began to notice the change in me … in the way I dealt with situations, how my anxiety had become manageable, and how I’d stopped responding to him with resentment and animosity. This led him to begin asking questions about God and His Word. Eventually, my husband asked for his own Bible to take with him on the road so he could study right along with me. “And from my first day here, I knew that the sweet woman—whom I’d come to know as Joy—had helped me change the history of our little family. I was so nervous to come in on our first day, but the minute I walked in, everyone was so wonderful and welcoming … I could not have asked for a better experience. “Today, we have both given our hear ts to the Lord and have found a precious little home church that has taken us in as family. We feel so 8
“And from my first day here , I knew that the sweet woman—whom I’d come to know as Joy—had helped me change the histor y of our little family.”
blessed that God has made such a change in our hear ts and minds. And we feel even more blessed that Joy listened when God called to her to speak to me about CBS that day. She may have thought at the time that I just looked like a good, sweet mother playing with her son … but she couldn’t see how much I was struggling on the inside. She couldn’t see how lost I was, and how much I needed to hear what was being shared at CBS. CBS was a lifeline for me and my family.”
Photo by Tiffany Renee Photography
“One morning, I woke up and could already feel the anxiety building. So I gathered my son and our things so the two of us could have a relaxing morning out.” Beth drove her son to a nearby nature center.
Come and See … My Busy Life CBS creates a haven for working women “I’d love to come, but I work on Thursdays!”
Steamboat Springs, CO Remote Core Group leaders
Susan Rinn and the CBS class in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, heard those words over and over. “We knew many women had to juggle both family and full-time work, so there was no oppor tunity for a Bible study during the day. It was such a travesty, knowing how CBS fulfills our need for a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and the special nourishing and encouragement that come from studying God’s Word with other women.” But CBS was changing. “It wasn’t until our Area Director, Carol Jones, mentioned that Remote Core Groups (RCGs) were beginning to evolve that we realized the possibility of CBS for Steamboat’s working women.” Susan says this possibility energized the class, and a new oppor tunity was born. “Word began to spread about an evening CBS class. We were hoping for at least 12, including our Core Leaders. We exceeded that the first night, and it grew to 33 women.” God wasn’t done with the work in Steamboat Springs. And His work wasn’t limited to just the working moms. Susan says another group was getting star ted. “At the same time we were praying for the working women, we were praying for our husbands to have a Bible study. The pastor of our host church was called to begin a men’s study at the same time as the Remote Core Group.” The new men’s group used the CBS Engaging God’s Word material. “Each Thursday evening, a dozen men were able to study the same books of the Bible as their wives,” Susan recalls. While the Steamboat Springs story is a remarkable testimony of personal invitations and persistence, Susan is quick to point out that it’s also a story of answered prayer. “We praise God for the growth of CBS in our community and know that many lives were transformed through this wonderful ministry of studying God’s Word.”
“We praise God for the growth of CBS in our community and know that many lives were transformed through this wonderful ministr y of studying God’s Word.”
Come and See … My Curiosity S un Hee Joo—Korean Ethnos Class, Los Angeles, C A
Sun Hee (top right) and her Korean Ethnos group
Sun Hee and Lynn attended the same Japanese language class in Culver City, California. When Lynn announced that she was no longer able to attend the class, Sun Hee emailed her friend to wish her well. Lynn emailed back and explained why she was changing her schedule. “She told me that she was attending a Bible study class and was studying Revelation. The word Revelation intrigued me. I wanted to learn about Revelation.” Sun Hee called Lynn to hear more about the Bible study and was surprised when Lynn invited her to visit a CBS class in West Los Angeles. Sun Hee attended. “I learned to see how God works through the Scriptures and through the Holy Spirit. I could understand God’s Word better than before. Sharing the Scriptures and faith experiences with fellow CBS par ticipants has expanded my view of God. Thank you, CBS!”
Come and See … My Youth Group e Teen Class, Traverse City, Michigan From Heather, a CBS par ticipant in Traverse City: “The son of one of our leaders began to pray that his friends would want to join [the CBS eTeen class] even though most were not active in church and some had never been told about Jesus or seen a Bible before. “Each week, this young sixth grader began to invite one friend after another, and it usually took several invitations before they came. He was amazed that some would come to ‘check it out.’ Even more amazing was that they kept coming! “Eight of this young man’s friends are par ticipating in eTeen. Of these eight, two have invited a friend who star ted coming. One of the friends’ moms might even join the daytime CBS group this fall.”
“ Even more amazing was that they kept coming!” Middle schoolers find community and Christ’s love in eTeen classes.
Come and See … My Broken Life CBS brings hope to a life at risk On the ver y worst day of Wendy’s life, she placed 30 sleeping pills on the kitchen table, sat down and decided to end it all. Given the abuse Wendy had experienced, it’s no surprise she was looking for a way out. And it wasn’t long before she found release … but it had nothing to do with sleeping pills. Here is Wendy’s stor y. “Where do I begin? God has done so much in my life.” Wendy is a CBSI par ticipant in the United Kingdom (UK). Her story is a reminder that Christ’s call to Come and See is unconditional and His love is never-ending. “It star ted with my mother’s neighbor, who had prayed for me for 15 years. I come from a non-churchgoing family, but they sent me to Sunday school. I loved hearing stories about Jesus.” “My mother was worried that I would become a nun. I did just the opposite.” At 17, Wendy married and moved seventy miles away from home. Her first marriage was difficult from the start and soon ended, and she met her second husband in murky circumstances. “Having eventually married this man, I quickly became the mother of two small children and lived a life that can only be described as hell. I was afraid for my life constantly and sometimes had police protection. During the time we were married and afterwards, I was subjected to severe abuse. I often had to sleep with a knife under my pillow and a wardrobe in front of my bedroom door and my children in the room with me. On one of these particular nights, while I was shaking from head to foot in sheer terror, I prayed to God.” Wendy’s prayer was the first step toward a real relationship with God. After her prayer, she felt God’s presence in her room and, for the first time that evening, was able to sleep peacefully. The next day, she moved to a new community to escape the abuse and find a safe place for her children. “I tried to integrate with my new community,” Wendy says. “One day while on a bus, a lady invited me to a Bible study. I swore and said, ‘Not likely.’ In the end, she persuaded me when she told me the church had a nursery for the children.” She attended a Community Bible Study event and left with a positive impression of the class attendees: “The people I met at CBSI just accepted me as I was and loved me and cared about me.” Thanks to their
warm welcome, Wendy joined the weekly Bible study. While she was getting to know local CBSI par ticipants, Wendy also met someone else—another man—and thought this relationship might last. But, like the others before, the relationship failed. It was more than she could bear. “One day, I sat in the kitchen with 30 sleeping tablets, deciding to end it all.” Before she could take the pills, something happened that changed her life. Wendy felt God’s presence—much as she had the night she called out to God in terror. And, as before, God calmed her fears. “After that, all I wanted to do was have the lovely people from CBSI in my home, so I kept inviting them all for tea! They kept leaving something behind them that I wanted. It was the fragrance of Jesus.”
“There are so many people here who need to meet Jesus … I know that now is the time, and God is going to do wonderful things.” Thanks to God’s gentle grace and the CBSI group’s invitation to Come and See, Wendy made the choice to walk away from the pain of her past. “I invited Jesus into my life. I asked Him to forgive me for all the wrong things I had done and sor t me out. He has.” Not only that, but God also gave Wendy a new, healthy relationship. “I am now married to a man I met at CBSI—the son of the lady on the bus.” Wendy and her new husband, a minister, serve together in Devon, England. And Wendy is in the process of star ting a CBSI group in her community. “There are so many people here who need to meet Jesus … I know that now is the time, and God is going to do wonderful things in this area.”
Come and See … My Catastrophe CBS par ticipants help a family recover from Hurricane Har vey “We followed the weather on the television for days.” Kathleen Hulse and her husband planned to ride out the rough weather. But no one expected the amount of rain that Har vey would dump on Houston, Texas, in August 2017. Nor did Kathleen suspect that the rain and floods would forever change her world. Like an uninvited houseguest who overstays his welcome, Hurricane Harvey lingered over Houston. Finally, four days after landfall, the storm moved far ther inland, leaving America’s four th-largest city with a $125 billion cleaning bill and years’ wor th of repairs. Kathleen’s home was among those damaged. Although it withstood the initial storm, an even greater catastrophe threatened homes in Hulse’s neighborhood: flooding. Hurricane Harvey dumped more than 27 trillion gallons of water—more than 50 inches of rain—in the Houston area. “The city of Houston said that Heavy flooding from Hurricane Harvey displaced 30,000 people.
if worse came to worst, two of the reservoirs would have to be released, one on Sunday and then the other on Monday. On Sunday morning, I star ted seeing people from the back of the neighborhood walking down our flooded street carrying whatever belongings they could. I continued to go to the door every hour or so to check on the rising water.” As the day went on, Kathleen and her husband, Kerry, noticed the flood waters growing deeper. They were faced with the very real possibility that they would have to abandon their home. Kathleen and her husband started to hike out of the neighborhood to seek shelter. They were just about to give up hope of finding a warm, dry place to stay when Kathleen thought about her CBS class. “I called one of my CBS sisters, Lisa, and told her about our situation.” Class participants immediately stepped in to help. “Lorie showed up at the car rental place to sit with me during the many hours of waiting for a rental, and then a few days later took me shopping because I had only a ratty nightshirt, three shorts and four T-shirts. Lorie says she doesn’t know how to serve people and that she is much better at organizing and being the behindthe-scenes person. But she certainly knew exactly how to serve me!” Other class par ticipants brought meals, provided a listening ear and picked up prescriptions for the homeless couple. And when Gina, who loaned Kathleen and Kerry her home, returned to Houston, the couple was invited to stay with another CBS par ticipant. “Peggy, who originally introduced me to CBS, offered us her guest home. Once again, God provided His best for us. We had everything we could want: warm beds, television, sofa, microwave … showers, and best of all, a place where the dogs could run and play. Our respite there was a time of healing, grieving and rejoicing with the continued care of my ‘sisters.’ ”
feet of God. I have never seen so many people give their all to others who they did not know.” Through it all, Kathleen’s CBS group stood with her and helped the Hulses rebuild both their home and their lives. “Barbara, our Associate Teaching Director, came with food for everyone. Karly, one of my CBS children, and her family walked into the subdivision to bring us medical supplies and gloves. Pam stood out in the sun in the backyard sor ting clothing and then dividing up the massive pile for people to take home to wash.” Each gift from each friend brought renewed hope to Kathleen and Kerry.
Kathleen Hulse fleeing her home with the family dog
But the Hulses’ ordeal was far from over. They did not know whether their home was still standing. Another full week went by before they received an answer. Kathleen recounts the moment she and Kerry stood in front of their deser ted home. “Two weeks after we evacuated our home, we were allowed to walk back in and survey the devastation. When we arrived at the house, it was like a scene out of a movie. Once again, I was in shock. How could this be my home of 15 years? How could all my treasured family antiques be all bloated and beyond salvage? How was I ever going to star t over?” Kathleen felt overwhelmed. But God had not left the Hulses on their own. He sent others to help.
Today, the Hulses are back in their home. Kathleen is grateful to her CBS family. God continues to use the group to make a difference in her family’s lives. When CBS started a men’s Prayer Group in Kathleen’s church, guess who was invited to Come and See? Her husband, Kerry! Today, he regularly participates in the CBS study. As Kathleen reflects on her life since the hurricane, she sees how God has walked with her through the crisis. “I can say without a doubt that if the flood was what it took to bring Kerry and me closer to God, it was worth it! The story is not over. We pray that God will use us in mighty ways, just like He used others during our time of need.” Kerry Hulse revisiting flood wreckage
Through it all, Kathleen’s CBS group stood with her and helped the Hulses rebuild both their home and their lives . “And then the Church arrived. And when I say they arrived, I mean really arrived,” Kathleen recounts. “God showed up in ways no one could imagine. Over the next days and weeks, they came to help and comfor t. I have never witnessed God at work like that … so many people being the hands and 13
Come and See … My Prison Outreach D oug Van Zee from Newton, Iowa “I did not want to give up my time in order to have a Bible study with a bunch of convicts.” At first, Doug Van Zee resisted the oppor tunity to bring CBS to the local prison. A friend had asked Doug to volunteer with a CBS class in the Newton Correctional Facility in Newton, Iowa. “I said no, giving the excuse that I didn’t have the time. My friend said if I changed my mind to let him know.” Doug walked away, thinking that was the end of the discussion. But God had other ideas. “Over the next few weeks, I had a troubled spirit, and God wasn’t giving me any peace at all with my decision. Then, at a Christmas candlelight service, our pastor challenged the congregation to be a light in the world. He asked, ‘What will you do to be a light for Christ?’” It was a turning point for Doug. “I found my friend after the service and told him I would volunteer at the correctional facility.” Three months later, Doug led his first class at the prison. “There were three volunteers and four inmates. Since then, God has grown our CBS group to about thirty inmates. The other Christian Bible studies and worship services are growing as well. God is doing amazing things at the Newton Correctional Facility.” In the three years that Doug has been working at the facility, the prison population has changed. Inmates with intellectual disabilities are being transferred to Newton Correctional because the facility has the treatment programs the men need in order to become eligible for release.
The change in the prison population also led to an unexpected oppor tunity for ministry—led by an inmate at the facility. “One of the inmates at our Wednesday evening Bible study shared what God had put on his hear t for those with intellectual disabilities. He wondered if CBS had any material that would be better suited for these men. I had heard about the AGAPE program and thought this might be the right material. The inmate and I decided to pray about it to see if this was something God wanted us to do. God began opening doors almost immediately.”
Through indepth Bible study, CBS InPrison & Beyond provides opportunities in our communities to make disciples of Jesus by reaching our incarcerated or recently-released brothers and sisters.
CLICK to learn more about CBS InPrison & Beyond.
The first AGAPE class in Newton Correctional Facility met in the summer of 2018. “It is going to be an exciting time as the AGAPE and InPrison & Beyond teams work together.” And the life-changing power of God’s Word is evident at the facility, and in Doug’s life. He has gone from a reluctant servant to a seasoned leader who follows God’s lead and sees potential in the Newton prisoners.
FROM JAIL TO JESUS John* par ticipates in a CBS InPrison & Beyond class and has a one-of-a-kind ministry to fellow inmates. Although he’s a prisoner, his job is to drive newly-released prisoners to the airpor t or bus station. The drive can take up to an hour, so John uses the time to tell his passengers about Christ. His message is timely. “The prisoners are terrified, wondering about being able to find a job, being accepted by their families, and not falling back in with their old community.” Many of the former inmates are receptive to John’s words. Others— like one mean, aggressive man—find that John doesn’t give up easily. “When I got to the bus station, I rolled down the window as the released inmate was leaving and said, ‘I’ll be praying for you to learn about God.’ ” * name changed for confidentiality
Come and See … My War-Torn World CBS brings God’s Word to children in Syria “Ever y time I’ve prayed about the Middle East, I hear God saying ‘Youth, youth, youth,” says CBS’s Middle East North Africa [MENA] Regional Director. “God is doing something—just put the dots together.” More than 400,000 people have been killed in the Syrian Civil War. Many of the victims are children. Those who have survived the bloody conflict face a lifetime of brokenness and pain. But God is at work among the survivors.
The whole country is in struggle, but these believers shine brightly. The difficulties cause them to stay very close to Christ.”
As bombing intensified around the home of a Syrian CBSI leader’s family, everyone in the area was trapped. Schools closed, and all the children in the neighborhood were home for days at a time. The leader’s wife saw an oppor tunity—newly translated Arabic CBS studies had just arrived a few weeks earlier. She invited the neighborhood kids to join her own children at their home, and they par ticipated in CBS there together. The parents were delighted that their children had something to do. When the conflict subsided enough that children could return to school, this leader began a CBSI Children & Youth group with kids who had attended those first studies in her home. She holds class even as violence continues in the surrounding area. Her husband pastors a church in the city, and an adult CBSI class is active there. They also serve two classes for the deaf community. In the words of the MENA Regional Director, “I love how the Lord does this—changing a bombing situation and no school to C&Y and Bible study.
A CBS Global lesson in Arabic
A PRAYER FOR ALL TO COME AND SEE If you’ve heard anything about the country of Myanmar recently, it might be related to the Rohingya crisis. Recent conflict in Myanmar drove more than 700,000 Rohingya into nearby Bangladesh. But that’s not the only thing going on in this East Asian country. CBSI par ticipants in Myanmar have hosted prayer walks in the cities of Naypitaw and Mandalay. Class members are asking God to bring revival to their nation so that others in their country can Come and See Jesus.
Come and See … My Home Away from Home C BS provides common ground for immigrants in the Netherlands
CLICK HERE to meet the CBSI Netherlands group.
“All we have in common is speaking English and loving Jesus,” Becky Castlemiller describes the CBSI group she attends in Maastricht, the Netherlands. have recently moved from the Middle East and North Africa to begin a new life in Europe. And no matter their country of origin or social status, all are invited to Come and See the story of Jesus. Many of them stay, thanks to the warm welcome. “We all become a family to each other as we’re all far away from home.” Others stay in the city for a short time and then return to their home countries. They take with them the lessons learned from the Bible study. And that, Jessica says, is the goal of CBSI Maastricht—to invite family and friends to Come and See Jesus Christ. “We have a vision that our area will be like Acts chapter 2, when the good news of God’s Kingdom went out in many different languages.” Maastricht
“It was a fascinating group. It was different from anything I’d been involved in before, because there were women from at least 10 different countries who all spoke different languages at home.” The group is, indeed, a kaleidoscope of cultures, languages and nations. Brazil, Switzerland, Singapore, Hong Kong, France and the United States come together for weekly Bible study. Even the group leadership is diverse: Jessica Markink lived in Texas, married a Dutchman and moved to the Netherlands. Anna Kristina hails from Brazil, but has spent the last 12 years overseas. Together, they bring CBSI to their fellow world travelers. “Maastricht is an international crossroads,” Jessica says. “People from all around the globe flock to the Netherlands. There are several universities that draw students from all over the world and multi-national corporations that bring employees from many different countries.” Others in the CBSI group 16
photography by Laura Piovan - ArCharis Photography
The Dutch CBS group together in Jessica’s backyard
Come and See … My Mobile Home CBS is working with migrant farm workers in Oxnard, California A ministr y to migrant farm workers looks like this: a food pantr y and a mobile home park, and a hodge-podge of languages and dialects. Pastor Samuel Gallucci of Embrace Church in Oxnard, California, brought CBS classes to migrant families who work at farms in the region.
Mixteco-speaking mother and daughter with their CBS Core Group
Many of the families attend Pastor Gallucci’s church while they are in the region, so Embrace Church takes CBS Core Groups to the migrants. Many Core Groups meet around a kitchen table in tiny mobile homes. But not everyone in the Core Groups speaks the same language. Since the migrant families are from Mexico, most speak Spanish, but a few speak Mixteco, an old indigenous language. The Mixteco language is not well-known, so class attendees must find someone, often a family member, who can translate. That was the case of a mother-daughter team who visited the class. The mother spoke Mixteco and wanted to follow the CBS lessons. Her daughter was not a believer, but agreed to translate. While reading and explaining the curriculum to her mother, the daughter heard the words of the Gospel and came to know Christ while interpreting the course. God’s Word is changing hear ts in Oxnard and traveling with families as they return home after the harvest.
Come and See … My Culture CBS Ethnos Class in Bethesda, Mar yland Who knew that the Bible, a conversation club and the local librar y could bring people to Christ? The CBS Ethnos class in Bethesda, Maryland, set up an English Conversation Club in their local library to teach immigrants American culture and language skills. “We started a small group and God kept adding to our numbers. Over the last three years, more than 130 non-English speakers from 20 countries have attended the club,” say local CBS participants. During weekly club times, CBS participants invite attendees to Come and See what the Bible says about Jesus. “Several ladies became part of CBS Ethnos and even invited their neighbors and friends. Some started attending our host church.” The English Conversation Club at the Bethesda library
You’ve heard the stories. You’ve seen how a simple invitation can change lives.
Now it’s your turn. Where does your day take you? The places where you live, work and play are the places where you can invite people to visit your CBS class. Where do you live, work and play? Who do you know who needs to hear Christ’s loving invitation: “Come, all who are thirsty … come to Me and drink”?
It’s your turn to reach out and invite others in. Like Andrew … who invited Peter. Like Philip … who invited Nathaniel. Like the Woman at the Well … who invited her entire village.
Someone in your world needs to hear about Jesus. And it starts with a simple invitation: Come and See.
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