Called Christian Leader Journey

My name is Joshua Sinanan and I am on a called Christian leader journey. I’m enjoying my 24th year of marriage to my amazing wife Stephanie. We have three adult children and live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Early Life and Conversion
My Parents immigrated to Canada and got married in Calgary in 1969. They eventually decided to forego Pre-med and attend Bible School when I was three years old (1973) at Jubilee Bible College in Vancouver, BC. My younger brother and I both accepted Jesus during that time and eventually became Missionary/Pastor kids. We were constantly around the Bible College and knew nothing different outside of a Bible School life. Our family received greatly reduced tuition by living at and taking care of Crescent Heights Bible Camp (now a Salvation Army Retreat Center).

At the age of 6, we moved to Trinidad and Tobago (where my parents were originally from) and spent 2.5 years as non-sponsored missionaries to a rural community (Princess Town). In a mainly Muslim, Hindu and Catholic area, my parent’s Sunday School Program had over 200 kids and the Tuesday night Bible study had up to 55 regulars by the time we left. Before we went back to Canada, the work was merged with an Open Bible Church in town as we would not be returning for some time. We were asked to return to Canada to be recognized as Full Gospel Missionaries (ACOP of Canada). We spent a couple years raising support throughout Western Canada.

We returned to North Trinidad in 1981 (Arima; I was 11). We spent the next six years there. There was amazing fruit and God was changing the lives of families beyond our imaginations. The work continues to this day and my parents have moved on to other endeavors in their retirement.

I went through the normal teen challenges on my called Christian leader journey. But struggled with being in two opposite cultures where I was always a minority by either race and/or accent. To assimilate, I became a rapper (’84) and picked up a little guitar. Though I strayed many times in compromise, I would always return to my faith and relationship with Jesus. Thank God for Grace and restoration.

My darkest times were when I returned to Canada as a 17-year-old from a Caribbean culture. There was a multitude of terrible character flaws and poor judgments on my part. Looking back, I now realize I was a slow learner myself with respect to maturity and assimilation to culture. I thank God for his forgiveness and He graciously pulled me out of the miry clay. The least I can do is give all I have on my called Christian leader journey. Grace is amazing!

Call to ministry
With my passion for the spoken word, worship leading, attention to teaching, communication and coaching/training others on achieving their goals, I understand that I’ve been called to leadership development in others. On my called Christian leader journey, I was honored to be the Youth Pastor for Uchurch (University campus-based church) for 10 years (volunteer position) until December 2017.

At that time, my wife expressed that she wanted to shift to a church that had an ESL ministry (English as a second language) and asked if I was willing to step out of youth ministry for that.
It was a no-brainer to let her research and team with something she was passionate about.
I presently host a Tuesday night Bible study where marketplace ministry training is the focus. Also, I lead a Saturday afternoon Bible study for apologetics and life application. I am also playing bass from time to time for worship. Living and breathing a Spirit-filled and focused life has been a great joy and always energizing when we see “these signs that follow them that believe.”

Intended Ministry Path
As I let God’s Word be a lamp to my feet and a light to my path, I’m content to let him reveal the next steps and not necessarily the big picture. Many folks want to know everything that will happen in the future, but I believe that most of us may not be able to handle the full picture. In a sense, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up…and I’m good with allowing God’s plans for me to remain plan A. Should I have missed a turn, I know his GPS will recalculate. His Plan B through Z is always better than my plan A.

I am content to take on this educational challenge while still working as an electrical engineering technologist (Distributor for Industrial GE Products). And yet our mighty band of Bible study guys and gals are honing our boldness and approach to do healing ministry or to share the gospel as the opportunity presents. God is moving and training and grabbing our attention.

On my called Christian leader journey, I hope to facilitate and support an effective group of missionaries, evangelists, teachers, disciple makers, and business leaders all coming out of the seeds we’ve been planting and watering. God is faithful and I wish to maintain the attitude of leaving the 99 to find the 1 if this is what it takes. His word does not return void and his harvest is 30, 60, 100 fold. I’m honored to be a small part of that.

CLI – Leaders We Can Run With!
Youth music/speaking, church speaking, seminars, worship and sports outreach are all other areas I feel drawn to. So I am open to the direction of the Holy Spirit who has led me to Christian Leaders Institute on my called Christian Leader Journey. I am very grateful for the opportunity to apply myself in my spare time and look for ways to help others do the same with CLI. My association with the people involved is what has sealed the decision to press through this new and passionate challenge. The wisdom of the opening course and the association with world-class leaders in business and education is pure gold and can never truly be evaluated by economics or status. Thank you, Jesus, for the vision and care of this amazing institute!

Learn about minister ordination with Christian Leaders Alliance.

Ministry Spiritual Journey

My name is Deanna Sellars, and I am on a ministry spiritual journey. My nickname is ‘Fancy’ and I am happily married to Jared Sellars. We live in a small retirement community called Leader in Saskatchewan, Canada. In our town, most everyone was born and raised here. The children attend school to twelfth grade and leave for University. Some return to raise their children in the same small town. The cycle then begins again.

Easter Sunday 1971, two schoolmates invited me to church. I received Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior and spontaneously spoke in tongues. All of this was new to me. My ministry spiritual journey has had its difficulties, through foster homes, schools, and churches. The fact that I am here says it all. Forty-seven years of serving Christ, I am hoping that I will get a degree and continue to bigger and greater things for the Lord.

There are five churches here: United, Victory, Alliance, Catholic, and Lutheran. It is difficult to keep leadership within these churches because attendance and giving are low. Some leaders cover more than one church at a time itinerantly throughout the Province. The infrastructures within the churches here are wanting. Usher’s and Deacon’s training is lacking; it seems it is the blind leading the blind. Christ commands that we equip the saints to do the work of the ministry. It is affirming to find others who believe the same. A small group of Spirit-filled saints gathers here weekly to intercede for the Body of Christ and for revival. This is where I found out about this free ministry training program at Christian Leaders Institute through my local Pastor. He is working on his degree in this program. In this small town, a degree is everything, especially if you want to introduce something new into the community.

Friday, January 22, 1988, I had a near-death experience. I died for 35 minutes. For the first year after my experience, I combed through my Interlinear Bible, Greek and Hebrew lexicons, expository dictionaries and many Bibles to confirm all that I had experienced. My local Pastor became my mentor. He helped me set up the church bank accounts. We rented his church for a while but my congregation grew faster than his did. I completed all the required studies and received my Pastoral License to Minister.

As instructed, I began a custody battle for my three siblings. While visiting my siblings I was invited to host a radio program, which I called “Golden Nuggets” on WXKL, in Sanford, North Carolina. The owner Betty Ciliberto and I became good friends and we traveled in ministry together. Then I made several appearances on local cable TV. My siblings were able to listen to and watch me preach and teach. The Holy Spirit brought the increase. In addition, I taught three Bible Studies in three different cities each week.

Once my three siblings arrived, we consolidated these three Bibles Studies into our first home church. We had 26 new converts. From small beginnings, the establishment of churches and schools required the writing of by-laws and the acquiring of a 501c3. It was a massive undertaking with a dramatic domino effect. The church outgrew the house. We began to fast and pray for an existing church building. On the last day of the fast, a pastoral friend presented me with the keys to an existing church building. A few weeks later, we opened the church, with those 26 new believers, their family, and friends, plus more. Next, we opened our first Christian Academy. We planted five churches in all, which went independent. We planted two Academies grades K-12. We oversaw the ministries, churches, and schools for 25 years.

The reason I am here today is I have learned that we need one another especially when bad things happen to us. Because we will receive a repetition of blows one right after the other and we do have to learn to recover from each experience as fast as we can and move on. But, sometimes we cannot do that by ourselves.

I have had the privilege of ministering in Canada, Mexico, Germany, Russia, Israel, Lebanon, Damascus, England, Iceland, and many states in the USA including the Apache Nation. My spiritual dream is to be prepared for a large church with home churches. I want to be fully prepared with the pieces to fill in the blanks on my ministry spiritual journey. I am seeking lifelong Christian friends. I know I am called to be a Christian leader in Saskatchewan for the Last Days Revival. The time is almost upon us and the Body of Christ needs faithful and prepared leaders. I want to be ready. I am not financially able to afford Bible College Tuition here, it costs $50,000.00. I believe your program at CLI is for such a time as this! In my prayers, I have expressed to the Lord that if He provided the education I would do it! So here I am!

Learn about minister ordination at Christian Leaders Alliance.

Calling Journey

My name is Gordon Clark and I am on a calling journey. I am from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I was raised Pentecostal, in a very strict religious home. There was more law than love in our home. In fact, you would earn love through the practice of biblical law. I was very good at being what I viewed as being a Christian. I was top of my Sunday School classes, and as I grew into the youth group and then the young adults, I would look down on my peers because I was at the top of every ministry. I turned every ministry I was in into an idol. Without God in my ministry, I became burned out, I started to backslide because I was not into worship or scripture reading or even prayer. I started getting doubts that maybe I wasn’t a Christian and soon after left the church.

It was a struggle for me coming back to God. I was engaged in various worldly behaviors. I was quite hedonistic in my pursuit of the flesh. I practiced other religions, experimented with Satanism and even rejected God and all things spiritual through the practice of atheism.

In my time as a prodigal, I always felt that Jesus was going to get me back like I was a fish struggling to get away but the fisher of men would always get his catch. When I got less hostile towards Christians and ended my rebellion, I was hesitant to go back to church because I felt unworthy and ashamed. I got good mentors that helped me realize my anger in the past was not to my parents, the church or even to God that it was anger at myself. So after releasing the hurt and forgiving myself and seeking forgiveness, I came to really know myself in Christ.

I came to realize that as a man my faith is not my parent’s faith. Then, I could seek my relationship with Him in grace. It took me a long time to get back into ministry but I kept hearing God telling me to pursue it. This time, He replaced my Pharisee heart, with a servant leader’s heart. I constantly thank God for my second chance. That second chance includes this free ministry training at Christian Leaders Institute on my calling journey. I will do what God wants me to do and go where God leads me.

Learn about minister ordination at Christian Leaders Alliance.

Free Online Bible School

My name is John DeWit. I am taking classes at Christian Leaders Institute a free online Bible School. I am from Montreal, Canada. I am presently working with underprivileged kids in Cambodia but the path that got me here could only have been provided by God.

My mother abandoned my brother and me when I was 4 months old and my brother was eight. I was placed in an orphanage until the age of thirteen. My father was in the military and could not look after a baby. I would come home every other weekend but usually to an empty house. On one of those weekends alone, I was watching TV and there was a Billy Graham crusade on. I loved the message and accepted Jesus when I was eight years old. I was innocent and had no mentors to explain what I did, but God knew I was sincere. I struggled through life and did all the party stuff, got married and divorced.

In my late twenties, I went to a crusade with my brother and we both recommitted our lives to Christ. This time, I knew what I was doing and things started to change. I attended church regularly, met my wife, we have been married for 32 years, and also got involved. We have two God-fearing children and God is Good.

In 2010, I went on a missions trip to Cambodia with my daughter and fell in love with the country. I especially fell in love with the kids and at the time we visited an orphanage. I came back a mess, crying and not understanding why Cambodia had such a big impact on me. My wife looked at me and said, “It’s because you can relate, you were one of them once.” WOW!!  A light bulb went on and everything fell into place.

It’s now June 2018 and we are making plans to head back to Canada. We are asking God to show us where he wants us to serve next. It’s been an amazing adventure and God provided for all of our needs. I am eager to continue my studies here at Christian Leaders Institute a free online Bible School and see where God uses this in my life. Thank you and God bless!

Learn about local ecuministry Ordination at Christian Leaders Alliance.

Student Ministry

Read the testimony of Ashton Koch, whose heart is for a student ministry to give students going to college a firm foundation in Christ:

My name is Ashton Koch and I have a heart for student ministry. I live in British Columbia, Canada. It is no extreme hardship to minister here, as opposed to other countries, but I have encountered quite a few people who are offended even by the sight of a cross, Bible, or Scripture in the same building.

I came to know the Lord during my high school years when I had been going through an emotional time dealing with family issues. During 11th grade I was living with my mother in another town, close to graduation and far away from family and friends. On my birthday of that year, my father had sent me a Bible and I began to read it. I started praying and one evening during my prayer I felt that everything was going to be okay and I no longer felt alone. I was able to move back to my hometown halfway through the new year and started attending church with my father and family, as well as doing Bible studies and taking baptism classes after giving my life to God.

Throughout the years after high school, I continued on my path with God and went through great losses, but God has always been with me through the thick and thin of it all. Today I continue to educate myself more and grow closer to the Lord every day.

My dream is to finish my schooling at Christian Leaders Institute and be able to use the knowledge I’ve gained to go out and help bring more people back to God. This class has been a wonderful start in helping me understand more about walking with God and getting out of my comfort zone to get to know people in order to help them find their way.

After learning about how many children turn to atheism after entering college, I can see myself using the tools and knowledge from this school to help them so when they move forward from high school they would be more equipped to be able to defend their faith and keep close to God.

Connecting to the Bible has opened my eyes when it comes to our everyday lives, our morals, and our values. Doing daily Bible studies helps me to understand more of God’s commandments, how I am living my life, and how my actions affect myself and others. Every day I am able to learn something new to apply to my life. I have a lot of family members who do not share my faith in our Lord and I want to be able to have a conversation with them and give them answers that they may never have heard before and maybe help bring them to the Lord.

CLI is a chance for me to be able to further educate myself in Christian studies, helping me gain more knowledge from home while working with my busy schedule. Please pray that we are able to bring many people to the Lord and help bring out more Christians to stand up and start preaching the word of God to the world.

 

Learn about minister ordination at Christian Leaders Alliance.

Evangelist Minister Training

I am Tonia Martin and I am receiving my evangelist minister training. I am a 39-year-old  single mom and a Licensed Practical Nurse. I live in Connecticut and have two children and one grandson, which I love very much. I am a member of IGFC (International Gospel Fellowship Church) where I am also a part of the Praise and Worship Team. I actually went on my first medical missions trip to Haiti with my church about two years ago and it was life-changing. I have also participated in the food shelter ministry.

I was born in Canada and came to the USA when I was 10 yrs old. I was brought up Catholic and was also a troubled teen. I have been a Christian for about 13 yrs. I’ve wanted to learn the Word of God better for a few years now, but because I had no time or money I kept putting it off. I have a desire to help and reach others for God’s kingdom, and it has been said that I have an evangelistic and a prophetic gift. I truly love God and everything he has done in my life. I feel that he definitely has placed a calling upon my life. I want to know God’s word better, have a closer relationship with him, find and build my calling/purpose, and learn how to be a more effective Christian and leader. My main focus is learning God’s Word better, and secondly, I want to find out what exactly my calling/purpose is and how to be more effective in that.

I believe that in this season God is preparing me, and I am very excited that I was able to find CLI! By taking the Getting Started Course it allowed me to learn more in-depth about the school and its values. I am very pleased with the things I have learned thus far and believe this is the perfect program/school for me. The bi-vocational approach is exactly what I need and this will help me be a better leader and Christian. I believe that my calling may be a little more Evangelistic in nature, which the Getting Started Course also helped me discover. I believe this is the beginning of something great in my evangelist minister training.

May God richly bless you and all who donate and help fund this program abundantly! Without all of you, this opportunity would not be possible. I consider myself blessed to have found this school. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity!

Learn about minister ordination at Christian Leaders Alliance.

My name is TracyAnn Schuur and I am from rural Alberta Canada.

I was raised in a faithful family, attending church regularly and always filled with the knowledge of God and His son Jesus Christ. I was baptized as a baby and lived a life surrounded by Christ followers.

As many people do, I hit a rather rebellious stage in my teenage years and started to stray. I found myself walking a very fine gray line, and I feel that I was about to make some very bad decisions…….. I believe that Jesus stepped in at the point, and gave me a little wake-up call.

At the age of 16, I found myself pregnant, deserted by all the friends that I thought I had. I was blessed by parents who supported my decision to have my son – yet felt so alone. It was a very bleak point at this time of my life that I had a dream and it changed my life forever. I was walking with Jesus, I couldn’t see him, but I knew he was there behind me with his hand on my shoulder. In my dream, I heard John 14:6 in my heart. (Yes I heard it with my heart, and it will live there forever now…) “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:7 finishes with “If you know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” My life changed forever that night as I finally understood that Jesus loved me and had a plan and a purpose for me and that I was not, nor ever would be again – alone. I made a promise to God that night, to live my life according to His will and to raise my unborn child knowing and loving God. I began a faith journey and started to build a personal relationship with Jesus rather than just having knowledge and belief.
God has blessed me through some amazing times like meeting my husband who completes me, and welcoming my three children into the world and He has comforted me through some terrible times of hurt and loss. The bible has always been a constant in my life and a support through tough times.

In 1998 we welcomed baby number three, at 25 weeks gestation and faced some incredible challenges. I can remember the exact moment, on the darkest night in Paediatric ICU, when I was faced with a daughter fighting for her very life, I found my way to the chapel. I prayed like never before that night and turned it all over to God who answered, graciously saved our little one and renewed her strength. Although my faith is where I turned, and what saw me through, it seemed to me that I felt closest to God when things were rough and somehow lost that when things were good though.

In 2010 I realized through various conversations and self-searching, that I was taking my faith and God for granted. I had become content just to know He was there but never turned to him unless I needed Him! I made a decision that I would no longer be that person……. I would reach out and have Jesus in my life actively and daily. I would share my love for Him and build on the faith that I already had and NOT take for granted His incredible presence in my life. I became a regular member of Heartland Alliance church in September 2010 and had had the pleasure of getting to know many of the staff and other members there. I have felt welcomed and loved at every turn as have my children.

Having been baptized and confirmed as a child, I was never sure why adult baptism was important. I had felt drawn to being baptized for about three years and had fought it, never fully understanding the purpose for me based on my previous baby baptism. It wasn’t until I heard the term “believer’s baptism” that it made sense. This term brought it all together for me. I stood before our whole church as a firm believer and follower of Christ, and I wholly and willingly pledged my life to Jesus Christ as my Savior, Redeemer, Father, and Friend. Proverbs 19:21 says “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” I walk in this knowledge every day and follow the Lord’s purpose for me. I know that this baptism was a step that He wanted me to take and I have followed where He leads me then and always.

Even previous to being baptized I was a small group leader for our women’s ministry as well as a couple of online ministries that I was a part of. Through encouraging others and lifting them up I began to feel prompted to take some ministry courses, and then eventually “shoved” for lack of better explanation. I was not in any position financially to begin bible college as we are currently on only my husband’s income due to some long-term health issues. Without Christian Leaders Institute I would be unable to follow where I feel like God is leading me and I am very grateful!

I am super fortunate to have my best friend and husband Mark for his love and support and encouragement in my beliefs and in being baptized. He, as well as my children who attend Heartland with me, share my love of Jesus and support and walk beside me in my goals of ministry.

I feel that given my experiences in life, I can connect with questioning young women and lead them to a Christ-centered life! I feel with this opportunity I can have a more solid foundation in knowledge and provide better ministry to the women I meet and mentor. Specifically, I see myself, God willing, as a women’s Pastor in the future.

As I believe in the power of prayer, I would ask that you keep my ministry in your prayers. I would love to provide outreach to teenage moms and provide Christian counseling with a pro-life perspective. I pray for guidance in determining if this is God’s will or mine and would welcome additional prayer in that area.

It is with a grateful heart that I close, and offer my most sincere thanks for this opportunity.

Refugee Ministry Training

MY STORY
My name is Tesfaldet T. Zere ,I was born in Asmara Eritrea. After completing my secondary school, I joined teacher’s training institute (T.T.I). After graduating to be a teacher, I was appointed to be an academy teacher in government schools for seven years. I was from Anglican faith, but at this time a friend of mine took me to a Pentecostal church and got saved. It was a glorious experience. After that, I started working as a school teacher in FINNISH MISSION SCHOOL for ten years. At this time I started growing in Christ and also was attending national teachers fellowship and soon started as a Bible teacher and home cell leader and later a leader of a Zone in a Church.

The Evangelical Church of Eritrea was closed by the government in 2002 and went underground to worship the Lord. Many of the leaders and pastors are put into prison by the police and security because of the Gospel. I ran away from my country and came to Uganda and stayed for eight years. I got married to my wife Yirgalem T. Fisseha and produced our son Emmanuel.

During my time in Uganda, I was serving the Lord mainly to Eritrean refugees in Uganda and South Sudan. In Uganda, I was under the mentorship of Rev. Samuel Kakande. In 2009 I planted a Church C.T.D.M THE THRONE OF GRACE. In October 8/2015 I came to Edmonton Canada as a permanent resident. While I am in Canada, I am still a Pastor to hundreds of souls scattered in Africa through the internet. In Edmonton, I got a pastor friend in a Pentecostal church who tried everything to help me get such Bible school training, but we failed to get financial help.All these years I have been serving the Lord for hundreds and thousands, but I had no papers that show I have a calling as a Pastor.  I have every quality and a good knowledge of the Bible, anointing to preach and to minister Healing for the sick and oppressed but I could not afford to go to Bible school. I agree what CLI provided a Free training will help me to get my ordination papers and get a chance to pastor Churches in Canada and the world.

 

Free Online Christian Training

Become a strong and authentic leader today. Christian Leaders Institute (CLI) offers free high-quality online ministry training. CLI accepts any individual anywhere in their life to learn about Christianity. Read a student’s testimony below who found CLI’s free online Christian training as a tool to renew his the walk with Christ:

I hail from Southwestern Ontario, Canada. Although a ‘first-world’ country, it is becoming increasingly challenging to practice ministry due to increasing self-reliance and ‘enlightenment’ of the population through the focus on higher education. I know this sounds a bit counter-intuitive, but my experience and popular culture has shown me that the more degrees a person has, and the higher education achieved, the more a person believes they can do and figure everything out for themselves with little or no dependence on others, let alone God.

I’ve always been familiar with God, being brought up in a Christian home, but I began my personal relationship with God more in my adult years after becoming a parent and losing a number of close family members. I believe it took those experiences for me to realize I really didn’t have all the answers, nor the power to control every aspect of my life. I also had the benefit of learning some hard lessons through some experiences that quite frankly made me angry at God. However; only as time passed did I realize that God had a direct hand in all the struggles with a plan to build me up and create new, better opportunities for me and my family.

This introductory class with the Christian Leaders Institute has renewed my Bible walk with God, reinforcing the different connections necessary, especially around devotions and studying the Bible while reminding me of my role and responsibility as the spiritual leader of my household.
Of all the options, I would say I identify most with the title “Small Group Leader”, as my passion is focused on building other leaders and mentors that will lead others using Christ’s example, showing believers and non-believers alike the benefits of seeking to be a disciple of Christ. This is something I want to pursue as I see far too many leaders that are too selfish and focused on protecting themselves at the cost of others.

A unique challenge here in Canada is the cultural popularity to promote everything that is not related to the Christian faith and treat Christian believers as an oppressive force that must be shut down and penalized all in the name of pluralism of all except for the Christian Church.

My local church is actually a church plant itself, focused on reaching the unchurched and de-churched in the community. I have been regularly encouraged to explore ministry as a bi-vocational leader and have been given opportunities to take a leadership role within the Church itself.

A scholarship at CLI would assist me in exploring more focused biblical studies without putting undo pressure on my family’s limited resources as well as allow me to study at my own pace while working full-time.

The prayers I would ask for are not necessarily for me, but for all those in Canada, and the world, that has not seen the light of Christ, or have been mistreated by those calling themselves Christian, and that they see what Christ has done and is doing for those that seek to be disciples, not just Christians.

Check out more stories about students using CLI’s free online Christian training to become strong and authentic leaders in Christ on the CLI facebook page

Bi-vocational Leader

Become a bi-vocational leader today. Christian Leaders Institute (CLI) offers free high-quality online ministry training. CLI accepts any individual anywhere in their life to learn about Christianity. Read a student’s testimony below who was a lost son of God and found CLI as a tool to rediscover the pathway to Christ:

You may wonder when you first look at my name “Is he Italian or French?” Well, I’m none of the above… I’m Canadian. Born in a 100% French speaking small town of the Province of Quebec. Back in those days, people from Quebec were referred to as French Canadians. Nowadays, we are known more as “Quebecers” or “Québécois.” My first ancestor “Zacharie Cloutier”, who arrived from France in 1634, was a carpenter. Yes… like our Lord! As for the Italian roots of my first name, in spite of my best efforts, I just can’t find any from both sides of my family. Mom said she just picked it up because she liked it.

I’m not proud to admit that my walk with Jesus has not been a straight line, to say the least. I have been the “lost son” Jesus talks about in Luke 15: 11-32. Only times two…

I accepted Him at the age of 19 in the Spring of 1983 and got married in July of the same year. Then followed an insane 10 years stretch in which I found myself running after the world’s shiny objects. It took a monumental business failure for me to go back to Him when I turned 30. I got baptized a few months later in November 1994. Then guess what? I aimed again for the world! Objects were only bigger and shinier this time around… and I got divorced at the turn of the century.

In my chaotic years, the biggest sin I did, among so many, was to try to “mold” God to my liking. Although I continued to believe in Him and often expressed gratitude for the blessings of my life, the God I worshiped and praised was diminished to a stature that I had designed TO PLEASE ME. So I diluted Jesus. I adapted His gospel to one that better fit my prosperity thinking and the kind of literature I swamped myself in. Shamefully, I became my own Savior…

In the Fall of 2013, the Lord chose a pure stranger to throw me off my horse… After a back treatment, a chiropractor I was seeing for the first time, witnessed to me. His testimony was so pure, loving and candid that it literally rushed me home to my bible! After I repented for my sins, the Lord took me back ONCE more with open arms. Glory to Him! Although it took me too many years, I finally acknowledged Him not only as my Savior but also as the Lord of my life.

I am now married to the woman of my dreams since September 2001. Together we are the proud parents of 3 adults children. Diane has a son from a previous marriage and I have 2 daughters. She accepted Christ in June 2015 and got baptized in December 2016. We still live in Quebec but in recent years, we have been blessed enough to spend about half of our time on the Treasure Coast of South Florida, in the United States. Diane and I are serving in three local ministries in our Florida church and are honored to be hosting a weekly Life Group in our home.

The serving ministries and fellowship have given me ample opportunities to share my story with several brothers and sisters in the faith. What I noticed is that many have revealed to me that they too have had a similar “on and off” walk with the Lord. It has since become clear to me that this was to be my main ministry. My dream is to become a bilingual bi-vocational pastor, in Canada and/or the United States, whose main focus will be to reach out to the sheep that have drifted in the world from their Holy Shepherd. I feel that a CLI scholarship would equip me with the proper tools to do just that and become a successful bi-vocational leader of Christianity. 

By His grace, I am now willing to follow any path He will show me to bring Him glory. Please pray that I remain faithful, obedient and active in the furthering of our Father’s kingdom.

Check out more stories about students becoming a Bi-vocational leader on the CLI facebook page

My name is Colin Langille, a 38-year-old (at the time of this writing) living in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. While I have only been a born-again believer for not quite 4 years at this point, I have been heavily involved in “church” since I was 11. Through that time, I have experienced worship from the point of view of almost every major denomination in our area: from United Church of Canada, to Anglican, to high Catholic, to Wesleyan, to Pentecostal, to Southern Baptist. Someday, I even hope to experience worship from the point of view of an ecclesia of Christians.

The biggest challenge to finding a real, authentic experience of God in worship in Halifax, Nova Scotia is being surrounded by so many half-measures, all claiming to be the real thing. When I first began “doing church”, it was as a young church choir member and organ student. I accompanied the choir and played pieces in the name of the “Ministry of Music” (which unfortunately had very little to do with Ministry), and even then, I knew that the applause was wrong. When I left for college, it was to study organ and church music at McGill University in Montreal, and six years of study and two degrees later, I was a better organist, but had still learned nothing positive about worship. Sadly, the organist world in Montreal was a gossip pit of who was sleeping with whom behind which organ after service, and people competed with each other to put on the best show and most impressive music, quickly tacking on a “for the Glory of God” only if they feared a priest might be nearby.

During my time there, I felt that there should be something more. I remember meeting with the priest of the church where I worked about “becoming a minister” after completing my music degree. He was very wise and gracious, and insisted that I examine my motives and attempt to discern if I truly felt a calling from God. Somehow, I had the sense to realize at the time that wasn’t for me.

Returning to Halifax, I found work as an organist in an Anglican church. I remember being asked at the end of my interview if I believed in Christ as my Saviour and wondering to myself what that had to do with being a church organist. My pride and arrogance had been bred into me at school and grown within me like some unholy parasite, and I set out to repeat the same patterns I had learned (fortunately, without the sleeping-with-people-behind-the-organ part).

Then I took a job as a music teacher at a small conservatory, and met a former pastor-turned-school-administrator. Her background was very different from mine (one which we high-and-mighty organ students mocked on a regular basis), and for reasons that can only be God, I kept going back to her office to talk about Jesus. I didn’t believe half the stories she told of the miraculous wonders she had seen during her time in the ministry, but I wanted them to be true.

After a few years, I married her daughter, and we had a daughter of our own. She was patient with my spiritually-dead church and we continued there for a time, until she finally pushed me to move on. I had become a full-time school teacher by then, and the demands of family and two jobs was becoming too much.

We began attending a local Wesleyan church, and there I had my first experience with modern, evangelical worship. In the beginning, I gritted my teeth through the guitars, drums, and pop music while bringing my many years of music analysis and bred-in-the-bone snobbery to a full and unflattering judgment of what I was hearing. But though I could turn my nose up at the uncultured sound, I could not help but see and feel how much more alive the atmosphere was, far more “right” than that created by any great choral anthem sung for the praise of people. Here, people worshipped God, rather than sat and watched as we allegedly did it for them. I experienced my first brush with the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Here also, I heard sermons to which I actually wanted to listen. I learned about grace, forgiveness, and the personal love that God has for me. I began to actually read Scripture, and with the help of some online resources, succeeding in my first cover-to-cover read. I began to see how everything fit together; I began to have a faith of my own. Finally, in November of 2012, the Lord helped me work through some final exercises in forgiveness of those who had wronged me, and when he led me to ultimately forgive myself, I felt his love pour through me.

Since being born-again, God has given me a voracious appetite for learning about His ways. I have re-read the Bible, finding more and more truths within its pages, and I have devoured other Christian books on a myriad of topics. I know that God has blessed me with the gift of teaching and that he has called me to be a worship leader, using the very styles of music my sinful pride once kept me from appreciating.

Where I live, the Spirit of Religion has a stranglehold on the Christian faith, and churches throughout the region are bound. Revival is so desperately needed, and the only Bible schools in the area have either closed down or embraced Wicca and Eastern philosophies alongside the teachings of Christ. With a full-time job, student debts, family (I now have two children), and a volunteer music ministry at a local church, I don’t have the option of enrolling in a “typical” Bible seminary, either in person or online, and while I can listen to lectures and sermons at my leisure, I know I will never actually accomplish anything unless I am part of a structured degree program. It is my sincere hope that, through the education I can get at CLI, I can learn what I need to help bring real, Holy Spirit-inspired revival to my city. Please pray for Halifax, that eyes will be opened, hearts will be softened, and the Holy Spirit will be allowed to move freely in all churches and congregations.

Marisa D. Slusarcyk
Age 30
Canada

My name is Marisa, and I am a country girl born and raised in rural Canada. I am surrounded by a large group of people from different churches and have been blessed by all of them in many different ways.

You may be wondering why I chose the title of this essay to be “Raped for the ‘Glory of God’”, so I am going to tell you.

I was a teen mom before it was “cool”, the father of my children was raised in a strict Baptist church and his father was a pastor. I had been raised Catholic but considered myself a plain old Christian, someone who loved the Lord, nothing more, nothing less.

The title comes from the years I was held by this young man. The years I spent being raped, sold, beaten, and tortured in ways that I still haven’t managed to share with anyone but God, and the kicker was that his father, the church Pastor, was reciting scripture telling me that I wouldn’t need to be punished, raped, hurt, abused, etc., if I would only obey because “woman obeys man and man obey God.”

I was only 15 years old, and everything I knew about God was being twisted up in my head by this “leader” who was supposed to be guiding me right. I found out after I escaped with my children, at the age of 19, that this was what he was preaching to all the women who came to him with allegations of domestic violence.

I didn’t know what to do with my life. I sometimes still don’t. But one thing that I did the night I left and continued to do to this day is pray. I prayed that God would expose the truth, which He would protect the church and us. That he would keep my children and myself safe.

It took me YEARS to get myself to open up my Bible. I was terrified that what I would see would be the words that had been planted into my subconscious and fragile mind. Instead, I found that God is a loving God, not a God, who hurts or wishes anger or hurt. Not a God, who would allow his men to abuse the women, He created.

I found myself needing to read more and more to find the truth and the more I looked, the more I found and in a very cathartic way, I was well on the road to healing those old wounds, and more importantly, my fear of God was gone.
A priest I had talked to while on my journey told me, “even Satan can read and quote the Bible.” That was a moment I will never forget as we bowed our heads and prayed and not for what God could do for me, but for the protective shield He had placed around me and my children that allowed us to be free. I was praying my thanks.
So, in summary, I was raised knowing the Lord, my views were very much distorted through brainwashing as a young teen and my need to find the truth is how I came to the Lord the way I have.

I never expected myself to pursue ministry, after all, my church life was obviously not a good one, but I realized that through sharing of my stories, through my praying for others, my sharing of the Word, that I was in fact ministering. It hit me hard when a well known online ministry for women sent me a card in the mail thanking me for my ministry. I wept as I read those words because I had no clue that I was having an impact, never mind an impact in the fight for Christ.

I don’t attend church; I do attend youth group through the Mennonite church as my son attends each week and I enjoy the fellowship with the youth pastor and his family. It has been such an encouragement for me to be able to talk about the things the Lord has placed on my heart, get feedback and have people to pray with.

Most of my ministry is online. To groups of women who wear battle scars that are often worse than my own. I love being able to have a conversation with these people, pray for them, and let them know that they are not only loved and cared for by me, but by Christ.

I had rejoiced when a friend decided to be baptized, I have sent hundreds of letters to people in prison and have been so blessed by their stories and their words and of course their love for the Lord. It amazes me that in such a dark place these wonderful men and women focus solely on His Light!

Unique challenges I face in my geographic area aren’t exactly challenges at all; we have a population of about 15,000 people, half of the students in town go to the Christian schools, and there is an active church on nearly every street. I suppose the challenge is finding the right church home where I feel safe, accepted and free to share my testimony, though like I said previously, I have had the opportunity to do that with pastors and friends.
These are the people who have been my support, encouraging me to dive into the Bible, to look up the Hebrew and Greek, learn, ask questions, work hard, study harder and to keep my faith when I feel like burrowing my head in the sand.

Interestingly enough, my one child doesn’t believe in God, while my other child goes to youth group and participates very much in Christian activities, he has even won recognition badges for his eagerness to share and be a good Christian role model. The lack of faith my other child has doesn’t sway me; it makes me want to share more, pray more and show how much God works in everything, all the time. While there are struggles, I know that the seeds I am planting in her will eventually grow as she decides to start reading about God herself.

I would appreciate prayer for me because I don’t know what exactly I feel the most lead to do. I know I am lead to share the Word, but I do not know in what capacity. I would love to have the Lord hang a big neon sign telling me what I am going to be when I grow up, but I guess that is unlikely, though not impossible. I need prayers for strength, courage and direction. I also need prayers to continue to have positive role models in my life who I can go to when I am at a loss.

Thank you for this opportunity. It has been a wonderful journey so far. Please know that the staff, volunteers, and other students, are in my prayers. I may not know what you all need, but God knows exactly what is needed, and I trust that He not only hears my plea but will respond to His will!

Kendell T. O’Brien of Toronto, Canada – Christian Basics Graduate.

Toronto Free Ministry Training – “READY TO ANSWER GOD’S CALL”

Heavenly blessings in the Name of The Lord Jesus Christ! My name is Kendell T. O’Brien, and I am 39 years old. I am married to my gorgeous and lovely wife Samantha, and we have two adorable children.

I live in the Greater Toronto Area in Ontario, Canada. Toronto is the most multicultural city in the world; it is very exciting to see. However, it is heartbreaking to know that millions have not surrendered their lives to Jesus.

When I was a little boy, I truly asked Jesus into my heart. When I got older, I began to make my own choices, which caused me to stray. I began to get full of the world; my eyes were blinded and my ears were dull to hearing the Truth.
In 1996, for about the entire month of August, God graciously began to pour out His Spirit upon my life in a series of supernatural encounters. I knew he was seeking me as according to LUKE 19:10, “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Then on August 31st 1996, I cried out to Him, surrendering my life to His Lordship. That day, I was born again and fill with His Spirit.

My dream is to see my city, my nation, and this world to encounter one of the greatest REVIVAL the world have ever seen, and to see others like me doing the same.
I have at times sought a way where I can be equipped to go and do whatever The Lord has purposed my wife and I to do, but there seemed to be no way. Then I stumbled across The Christian Leaders Institute website, after typing in “Ready to answer God’s call”.

I am currently serving as an Elder in my church. In the past I was involved in various ministries, the most recent as a Youth Leader. My wife and I are current Life Coach Leaders(one of our church various ministries). We mentor and lead a small group in our home, to help them grow in Christ and become disciples for Him.

Having a scholarship at CLI will be a tremendous blessing to me and my family. My wife and I prayed for God to make a way, and thank God, He did!  The fields are ripe for harvest and we must fulfill Jesus’s commission(Matt. 28:19-20).

Whereever you live in this world, this Toronto Free Ministry Training not just offered in Toronto. Enroll now yourself!

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Kelli Elizabeth Vance

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Faith-based Organization for Mental Health,

Addictions, and Homelessness

While growing up, my parents raised me, my brother, and my sister to know the Lord. When I was six years old, I invited Christ into my heart but some how lost my way. It’s hard to pinpoint what went wrong, but I was a troubled child. I had a learning disability and did terrible in school, I felt so dumb and embarrassed by it. My self-esteem was low, and my grades greatly suffered. I got kicked out of school, and ran away from home, and as a result, my life strayed even further.

I was eleven years old when I started acting out, most likely because I was sexually violated by a much older man. No one could control me, and I was always getting in trouble. At the age of twenty, I was pregnant with twins and didn’t know what to do so I got married to the father. I re-committed my life to Christ and sensed His power and Spirit active in my life but managed to slip away again. I discovered that my husband was unfaithful, and I tried to bury the pain but ultimately ended up blaming God.

Twenty-five years have come and gone, and God has been truly faithful. He never stopped loving and communicating with me, and I never stopped praying to Him. I tried many times to quit my addiction, but I could never sustain it for long. Until one day, Christmas 2008, when God dramatically intervened and profoundly changed my life forever.

My testimony is long, and I’ve done the recovery work. It’s been seven years now, and I continue to live drug-free. My relationships with my family and children have been restored. My place of employment encourages me to pray and minister to the lost. I have deep compassion for the lost and broken-hearted. I love to study and teach. Ordination is important to me because it demonstrates that I have studied hard and met the qualifications to work and fulfill various commitments in church.

When I found out CLI was free, I signed up not knowing where it would it would lead. That was three years ago. I fell in love with the professors and programs, and the learning is never ending. The quality of education from CLI, is evident by the Holy Spirit manifested in my life. I can honestly say I’m making up for lost time, and the process is still on-going. My hope is to finish Ordination then complete the Diploma program. And I plan move on to an Associates Degree. My goal is to reach others with the essentials of the Christian faith, by the Authority of God and His Word.

I sincerely thank Christian Leaders Institute for the learning and training experiences they continue to give me. May God continue to bless this school.

Passionate Calling – “Phoenix” Risen from the Ashes!

Sometimes you experience incredible obstacles and sadnesses in life. Some blame God. Some curse God and die. Others come to see God as their only hope. And when they find hope in God their lives are changed forever. Many who find hope in God will be given a passionate calling to change the world for God.

Alysha Wolf (now 22 years old) was born in a home where her father abused her mother. Her mother fled from the United States and escaped into Canada.

When I was young and still living at home I was raised as a Christian, to uphold the faith of God and always believe fully in Christ. When I was 5 years old my mother left my abusive father and literally fled from the U.S.A into B.C., Canada with me and my older sister of three years…it was only by the grace of God that we made it across the border that night.

Her mother divorced this abusive man. By the time Alysha was eight, her mother had remarried and moved to Quebec.  From British Columbia, this new family ended up thousands of miles away in Quebec and then in Ontario. By age sixteen, Alysha left her home in Ontario and went to British Columbia. The first step in a passionate calling to serve Christ begins with trials. Alysha fills us in.

Years later in 2002 (I was 8) my mother moved us to Quebec, there she married my step father, I was always raised to go to church and I felt that I had a deep connection with Christ or so I thought. But by the time I turned 16, I left home from where my family was living in Ontario and I ran away to Vancouver, British Columbia.

I thought that I could handle myself on my own, and to me God was a thing of the past and I didn’t need him anymore. My deep love for God broke due to trials that I believed were his fault (I know now they have only made me stronger). I rebelled against everything I thought that I believed and I felt that I was finally free. I ended up getting pregnant when I left home. I was scared and didn’t know what to do, but I was too proud to go home. I had my baby, a beautiful baby girl. However, events happened where I learned the true nature of the father and the secret that he was hiding from me. These facts led me to allow my child to be adopted by a family that could provide so much more for her then I could (this was 2010). I hated God!

But God loved Alysha.

I believed that is was God who made it so that I had to give up my baby girl in order to keep her safe from her father. I got in with the wrong crowd, and I began doing drugs (finally gave in to peer pressure from my “friends” that this would take the pain away). Also, during this time I received a phone call from an officer in the States telling me that my birth father (the one my mother left when I was 5) had recently committed suicide and that my years of searching for him were over.

Alysha stopped blaming God for all the bad things that happened to her. And God was placing a passionate calling in her heart as He drew Alysha back to Him.

By the time I was 19, I began looking at my life and realized that every choice and every event that I had blamed on God, the situation that I was in was not his fault but my own. I took a hard look deep down and found that I was the one that needed his help and it was time to go home. After four years of never seeing my mother, it was time to go home! It was time to go home to God.

God opened new doors for Alysha as she found work and found the man of her dreams.

After I was home things turned around. I stayed home for a while and then found a job in Creston BC where I met my husband. We have been happy ever since! I am now 22 years old, married for almost a year now, and soon we will have the first addition to our family!

Alysha has a passionate calling into ministry. Her husband and family share her passionate calling.

The reason why CLI is something that I want so badly is because one day I want to be a Christian Youth Leader. This is my passionate calling into ministry.  I want to help other youth not go down the same path that I did. I want them to feel the deep love for God. I want them to have a passionate calling to serve the Lord. But not just because their church or parents tell them to, but because they choose it. They can be shown what a personal walk with God is all about, and they can be on fire as I am! I want my child that is on the way to be brought up in the right way, knowing that God is the savior of all. No matter how hard the trials are, no matter how dark the path may be, God is right there beside you; all you have to do is call on him. I want the youth of this world, the next generation, to know that no matter what you have been through….You can always become a “phoenix” risen from the ashes!! Newborn in Christ!

Christian Leaders Institute is for those who need an opportunity to serve Christ but have no other way to get high-quality training. Sometimes you experience much disappointment, heartache and pain in life. God may be summoning you with a passionate calling to do something for Him. You are passionate because you know that only God can save you and everyone in this world.

 

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