Calling on my Life

My name is Sophia Gilliam and I have a calling on my life from God. I am from Wichita Fall, Texas. I was born on May 12, 1981. I grew up like many children with two working parents, and a grandmother who reared me in the things of the Lord.  Proverbs 22:6 in the Bible says “train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart.” I recently celebrated my 37th year of living on earth, and I am pleased to say that I still love Jesus. I am so passionate about the things and the people of God that I felt the calling on my life from a very young age. I could never really explain what that feeling was that kept overtaking me, but I knew that it was something that I did not want to lose.

As a youth, I stayed away from people. I kind of attempted to stay in the background and just enjoy my own company. I, like many other children, participated in the choir and Vacation Bible School. There was always something to do in the church. Although as a child I was raised Baptist I ended up changing over to Pentecostal at the age of 16. It was then that I began to get serious about the calling on my life. Not only that, I liked the way that they praised and worshipped God. It kept me excited and wanted to be around the people of God.

After I graduated high school, I joined the army to gain my independence and see the world in a different aspect. I only stayed in the military for one year. It was during that time that I strayed away from God. Everything that I thought I was big and bad enough to do I did. I went to clubs, I drank, I partied, and I was wild until I ended up pregnant on my birthday. It was then that I began to cry out to God for help. My son’s father was soon to ETS and what made it so bad was he was married. He wanted me to get an abortion, but I was never okay with that. I can remember lying in my bed that very night and praying to God telling him that if it was for me to terminate the pregnancy he needed to give me a sign. My son Jeremiah would not sleep that night he kept moving letting me know that even though I made a mistake things were gonna be okay, I asked God for forgiveness, and on September 18, I was honorably discharged from the military.

I relocated to Hinesville, Georgia where I married my husband. As I prepared to live my life I held in secret from my spouse that the baby that I carried was not his. Three babies later that secret was revealed. The marriage then ended in 2006. It was in 2006 when I decided that being a single mother was not work that I felt I was ready for and I signed my kids over to my now ex-husband. I was living in and out of hotels and working two jobs to support myself. He filed for divorce, and I was ordered to pay child support making matters increasingly difficult. I can honestly say that period in my life was a challenge. It was through that pain, and betrayal that God began to minister to me in the spirit of brokenness. I felt so empty inside, and I kept looking for love in all the wrong places.

After many failed relationships I finally found one that I thought would help me to settle down. I was still living in sin though, so it was never really perfect. He was in college, and I worked at a Goodwill plant in Savannah, Georgia. I went from homeless shelter to homeless shelter trying so hard to get it together. It seemed like through the years I would surrender to God but not completely and wholeheartedly. This erratic behavior caused a lot of instability in my life, and it took several more years for me to finally get it together. I moved again in 2009 to Macon, Georgia where I got a job working at a Dairy Queen, and things seemed like they were starting to look up for me. I stayed at that job for a whole year before I left and went to work at a Walmart. Fast forward to 2010, I got a phone call from my mother that my granny was very very sick and that she probably would not make it through the night. In the wee hours of the morning, I received another phone call that she was gone. I was not close to her, so it hurt but not tremendously.

I think I was more affected by my mother’s hurt. I got the opportunity to go to the memorial service and see a lot of my family that I had not seen in years including my dad. My dad, all throughout my life was my hero. I looked up to him. I still do to this day. It was not until recently I experienced the soul-shaking news that my dad’s mother died. I was so angry and hurt, and I no longer wanted anything to do with anyone. I fell into a deep dark depression. I felt rejected and betrayed by God, and I became even more rebellious, but God continued to have mercy on me. He never gave up on me.

Fast Forward again to 2016, I was kidnapped and sexually trafficked. For the short period that I was in captivity, I was raped, sold, abused emotionally and tormented. It wasn’t until that year in July that I ran away from my abductor after many failed attempts. I was then sent to a safe house in Georgia. After three months in that program, I was sent to Cynthiana Kentucky. It was here in the program for women that God allowed me to find healing and restoration. I received counseling for one year. It was through that counseling that I began to grow and blossom in the things of God uniquely. My spiritual Goal in life is to minister to hurting women. I want women to realize that God loves them regardless of what mistakes they have made.

I want them to realize like I did that they no longer have to settle for ordinary superficial love. God’s love is sufficient enough to make them whole. I hope that through this training at Christian Leaders Institute that I will grow into more maturity in my calling and be able to evangelize in any form that God desires of me. The scholarship is necessary because I am now living at home with my dad and I am ineligible to receive student financial aid due to student loan debt.

Read Andrew Elliot’s testimony of how studying at Christian Leaders Institute is helping him achieve his spiritual dream of spreading the gospel through teaching and counseling with God’s Kingdom Vision guiding him:

Kingdom Vision

My name is Andrew Elliott and I have God’s Kingdom vision guiding my life. I currently live in Canada and am serving God’s Kingdom in whatever way He leads me to. I am studying at Christian Leaders Institute to gain a greater knowledge of the Bible and receive free ministry training online. I am doing this with the hope and plan to spread the gospel through teaching, proclaiming, and counseling.

My coming across Christian Leaders Institute has been a blessing for me in many ways. First, I am thankful for the pioneering work of Henry Reyenga in founding this free ministry training Bible school. It is very inspiring for me and it is the kind of work that I wish to do for the glory of God’s Kingdom. I can see God’s Kingdom vision in everything that Christian Leaders Institute does.

Second, the Christian Leaders Institute allows me the opportunity to study the Bible at a very high level and at my own pace. I also can study any time and anywhere at an extremely affordable price (free).

Thank you, Christian Leaders Institute, for this very wonderful opportunity to receive a college education and ministry training for free.

Learn about ordained minister study programs and minister ordination at Christian Leaders Alliance.

Kenya Church Planter

My name is Simon Ndungu and I am called to be a Kenya church planter. I am a Kenyan and living in Mombasa, Kenya. I am married to my God-given wife Margaret, and we are blessed with three children aged between 6-14-years. Mombasa is the second largest city in Kenya located on Kenya’s Eastern Coastline bordering the Indian Ocean. It is a cosmopolitan City with a large population of Muslim Arabs, Black Kenyan Coastal tribes and Indians. Mombasa is dotted with mosques and Indian temples. With the populace held in the yoke of Islam and witchcraft, the church is making significant impact lighting up the hearts of the people with the gospel of Christ. The wind of transformation is blowing.

How I came to know the Lord:
I was reading a book titled “Power For Living” by Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation, on July 17, 2009. It was a Friday afternoon. On page 46 of that book, there is an explanation of how to receive Jesus. The author says that you can receive Christ by faith through prayer. He adds that prayer is talking with God. So I read through the prayer of repentance in the book and meant it in my heart. I kept quiet about it for a month without telling my wife or anyone. But the fire within me became unbearable and finally after one month, I asked my wife to give me a Bible. Then I left the house to look for a church. The first church I entered is the same church I answered the altar-call to on that same day. I have been growing in the Lord there ever since. The membership of my church is slightly over 1,000 people and I thank God for giving me such a wonderful church family where I have served as a deacon.

My Ministry Dream:
I felt the call of God to a Kenya church planter ministry in 2012. So, I enrolled in a donor-funded diploma course in Transnational Church Leadership at Pan African Christian University. I graduated in 2017, and I have been serving the Lord in my area of gifting which is teaching God’s word and evangelism. For five years, I remained too shy to witness for Christ and I would feel inadequate whenever I had brethren share about how they led someone to Christ. I embarked on prayers asking the Lord to give me the courage to witness for Him. We serve a faithful God. Three years ago, I led three people to Christ while out on a door-to-door evangelism. That incident opened a new level of service to the Lord for me. Ever since I carry the burden for the lost in my heart and usually I forget the world around me when it comes to personal evangelism. My dream is to evangelize wherever the Lord leads me, even to the uttermost parts of the world.

Benefits from Christian Leaders Institute:
I desired more training and knowledge in ministry. So I searched and found CLI online. This first class at Christian Leaders Institute has greatly strengthened my Bible connection walk with God. I have experienced among many things the dark side of leadership. As I was going through it, the word of God came alive in me more. Romans 8:6 and Galatians 5:25 came alive within me and my soul has really prospered in God’s word.

The word I most identify with for ministry is  Kenya Church Planter. This is because church planting is the focus of my ministry vision. In my local church, I have served as a small group leader, a lay pastor, and an evangelist. Whenever church planting is mentioned, it pricks a certain part in me and reminds me of my ministry vision.

The key experience in life that prompted me to pursue a Kenya church planter ministry is when I led three men to Christ at one go. It placed a burden for the lost in me. Ever since I seize every opportunity the Lord presents me to witness and lead someone to the Lord. The most joyous moment in my life is to see souls come to Christ. Given that we have been commanded to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20), our ministry work is clearly cut out. But I bless the Lord for the weapons of our warfare that are mighty through God for pulling down strongholds like witchcraft and false religions (2 Corinthians 10:4).

My local church has supported me in my Kenya church planter ministry calling by creating a stage for me to grow and gain experience. It began with my bishop’s wife walking up to me and telling me that she can see a teacher of God’s word in me. She went ahead to assign me a role to teach the 101 discipleship class, and she sat in the class for one session to assess me. Then later my bishop assigned me the role of a lay pastor and instructed me to occasionally go visiting either of our two mission branch churches to preach. This is where I have been growing my ministry skills.

My wife and my children are supportive of my Kenya church planter ministry calling. I usually go out with them to preach in our mission churches. My 14-year old son has tapped into my ministry and one day he told me that he was evangelizing a Muslim classmate. He wanted me to support him in prayer as he planned to lead the classmate to Christ the following day. We held hands and prayed, and the following day he led his classmate to Christ. Praise the Lord!

A scholarship at CLI is the best thing that the Lord prepared for me after salvation. I thank God every day for leading me by His Spirit to CLI when I was blindly searching the web for free ministry training. In His foreknowledge, the Lord put the idea of starting free ministry training in the heart of our President, Prof. Rev. Henry Reyenga Jr. May the Lord richly bless you, Mr. President, and the entire CLI family.

Learn about minister local minister ordinations with Christian Leaders Alliance.

I’m Andrea Carlomusto, but many know me as “trainer Ande” here in the suburbs of Detroit, MI in the United States.

I did not really grow up with faith in Christ as any real type of focus. Sure, I knew His name…but that was about it. My entire life, I never felt like I fit in. What people liked and valued, just wasn’t my “thing”. I developed feelings of inadequacy which led me to OCD, eating disorder and harmful addictive behaviors. I hurt many people and faced death more than a handful of times.

It wasn’t until I hit 27 years old before I started praying. I had no clue what I was doing, but I was desperate. After 3 years of praying for God to either “take me out or transform me”, came the night where I got on my knees in prayer and cried until morning. When morning came, I felt scared but had a weird freedom too. It’s hard to explain. In literally one night, Jesus came into me and God took over everything. He put me on a path to recovery. He directed me to have a purpose and let me know I was valued. I was saved to serve Him!

Since then, I would like to say things were easy, but they weren’t. After the honeymoon period of being born again, the real work started. Now, I felt like I had a responsibility to be the best representative of Christ Jesus as I possibly could, had to say goodbye to many worldly possessions, ideas, and people; and it was time to let Him do what He will with me. Deciding to be a real Christian was the hardest and best decision of my life. I can’t wait to see where He takes me and what His plan is!

Spirit-filled Mind Renewal

My name is Ryno van Heerden and I have been on a journey of Spirit-filled mind renewal in Christ. I was born in Gauteng, South Africa on the 10th of October 1992. I have lived in Gauteng all my life. I grew up in a “religious” setting, where I went to church on Sundays and did the Christian thing but I never really knew God.

After school, I went to the University of Pretoria where my lack of intimacy with the Father took its toll. I engaged in a typical student life of drinking, partying, etc. I grew into that lifestyle to a point where I had ruined every relationship I had and was on the verge of being kicked out of university. I hit rock bottom when my high school sweetheart finally couldn’t put up with me anymore. I was down and out, depressed and completely alone, or so I thought.

Not long after hitting my all-time low, a friend invited me to attend a six-week conference on learning to hear God’s voice. With much skepticism and expecting a “God” that would condemn all my mistakes, I had the shock of my life when He supernaturally revealed His heart to me. I experienced the goodness of God that drove me to repentance. Jesus became real to me. After this conference that radically changed my life, The Spirit started patching up my broken life. He restored my broken relationships, gave me the resilience to finish my degree and even gave me a second chance with my girlfriend.

I once was moved by “religion” into church activities, now it was this new relationship that got me involved in church and ministry. After about 2 years of ministering where I taught on the prophetic and hearing God’s voice, I came across a certain Professor who taught on Biblical psychology and counseling. At first, I thought that the topic of the “soul” and Spirit-filled mind renewal was automatic and up to God. I started a 3-year course that soon made me realize how broken I still was on the inside and that mind renewal was my part as Jesus already did His part on the cross.

Although I still have many flaws and areas that need transformation, God has really helped me heal in the dimensions of the soul and renewed my mind to the reality of the finished work of Christ.

My vision is to be used by God wherever He requires. I have seen the lack of intimacy in the body of Christ and also the necessity of Spirit-filled mind renewal and healing in the soul of man. Therefore, I would like to enrich myself with as much knowledge as possible so that through His Spirit I can touch as many lives as possible and reciprocate the grace that I have received. The courses here at Christian Leaders Institute can help me do this.

Learn about minister ordination with Christian Leaders Alliance.

Life Journey

My life journey began when I was born on November 10, 1986. I was the first born son but the second child. Early years of life were spent going to church on Sundays. I had a passion for preaching the word of God early in life. My Mother likes to say I would preach the Bible to her from as early as the age of 4. I was strong in my belief into my teenage years. We grew up with not a lot of wealth but with a lot of love. As I went into middle school, I got caught up in being tough and my spiritual life suffered. I started to go to church and youth services less an less. I ended up dropping out of high school and getting my GED at 16. I started to smoke pot and drink, only caring about those activities.

When I was 17, my uncle was part of a 6-month school called Purpose and Destiny in Christ. My mother convinced me to go, but the only way I would go was if my girlfriend at that time went with me. She said yes, so we went traveling across the country from Florida to Texas. We arrived to find Pastor Jerry and his wife Diane. They were so sweet and nice, but I was not ready to receive them yet. As we started classes, I rebelled against them and their teachings, but Jerry would not allow me to just leave. Every day, Jerry would pray with me and counsel me. Two months in, I was reading the Bible. One day during my alone time with God and His word, God gave me a word. God told me, “Love.” At that time in my life journey, I surrendered myself to Him and gave my life to Jesus again. In the final month at school, we were asked to find our mission statement for our life in Christ or find our purpose. So, we were praying and meditating on God’s word to find that purpose.

With two weeks left in school, we did a mission trip to New Orleans. A pastor and I went out and did some street ministry and went into the juvenile dentition center. Our last night there, the pastor said that I would be a great preacher one day and gave me a book about preaching. We headed back to Texas to get ready for graduation. The first night back, God gave me a vision of me standing on a hill overlooking a house with lots of children playing and my wife standing next to me. When I woke up the next morning, I found my mentor and told him of this dream. We prayed on it and both came up with my mission statement which is to be a father to the fatherless by lovingly leading them in Christ.

We graduated and my girlfriend and I were now engaged. We headed home to Florida full of passion and energy, but once we got home things started to change. I got a job and started to work but was not making much money. I wanted to marry my finance so I joined the army. That stirred things up. While I was in basic training, my finance stopped taking my calls. One day, I called my mother and she told me that my finance had come by and given her the ring. I went into anger and depression, a dark time in my life journey.

I ended up getting out of the army not long after due to medical reasons. I went home to nothing or at least what felt like was nothing. I spent a few years working dead-end jobs. Then my uncle from Texas called and invited my family to move there. I jumped at the opportunity because it was a place I had been happy. I spent the first couple of years there working a dead-end job. I was having some issues with my mouth and this caused lots of pain. I could not afford to have the surgery I needed. I was angry, depressed and living in fear. One night while I could not sleep because of severe pain, I was lying on the floor of my apartment crying out to God. He heard my cry.

About a year later, I was able to find a job that I was really good at and worked my way up the company into leadership. Life was going well and then I met a girl on my life journey. We fell in love and she became my wife. Then we had a son and that day changed my thinking forever. I wanted to be a better man for them both. Then my mom called six months after my son was born and told me she had cancer. A week later our apartment burned down, and then a month later my mother find out she actually had two cancers. So my wife and I decided to move to where my parents were which happened to be across the country again to Pennsylvania.

We went up there for three years helping my mother through this time, my mother had two surgeries and they were able to remove all of the cancer. My wife was pregnant but the fetus never developed. I could not find a job in the career I had in Texas, so I became a caregiver helping individuals with developmental disabilities life was going well again. One day, my mother came to us and asked if we would like to open a business with her and my uncle in Florida doing in-home care. We were excited and everything was moving along nicely until my dad had two strokes. Then we started having trouble getting the two licenses we needed to operate the new business. My wife had a miscarriage, our second failed pregnancy, and I was having the work done on my mouth. This was a hard time for all of us.

I was searching for answers for my life journey. So I turned on some motivational videos and found one of Steve Harvey talking about God and the works of Jesus in his life and the difficulties he had gone through. It hit me and I cried and started seeking Jesus again praying and getting back into the Word. I was praying to God and meditating on the Word and listening to His voice. I heard three simple words: “Remember your Promise.” It had been twelve years since my time at the school and six years since that promise I made in my room. I put my headphones in and walked around the trees and the river listening to Christian music, sermons, and the Bible. Then I saw the hill with the house and children playing again, but this time there were also adults of all ages. I remembered my mission statement to be a father to the fatherless by lovingly leading them in Christ. I started searching for knowledge to get this done with no money. All I have is a computer so I searched and found Christian Leaders Institute. With a smile of disbelief, I started taking classes and that is where I am right now. I praise the Lord for his work on my life journey thus far!

Learn about minister ordinations with Christian Leaders Alliance.

Cynaria Reynolds shares her testimony with us about her Christian education pursuit at Christian Leaders Institute.

Christian Education Pursuit of Wisdom and Understanding

Hello, my name is Cynaria Reynolds, and I am on a Christian education pursuit with Christian Leaders Institute. I reside in the United States. Ever since I was about seven years old, I knew that God had a calling on my life, but I didn’t know to what extent He was going to use me. As a little girl, I soon realized that God had blessed me with the gift of singing. I enjoyed it so much I joined the music ministry at my church. I would also soon become one of the choir leaders. As I sing, I remember all of the smiles on the faces of the people in the audience. It was as if my voice encouraged them to hold on a little while longer. That made me feel that God was proud of me using the gift that He had given me.

While going off to college to pursue my degree in Business Marketing, I was blessed to be able to continue to use my gift of singing and to receive a music scholarship along with it. Since college, I have really grown to know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I have begun to grow and understand His great love for me. I am now the worship leader at the ministry I attend. Being the worship leader has allowed me to see how important it is for me to take the love that God has shown me and use it to pour back into His people to draw them even closer to Him.

As the worship leader, I come across so many people who are broken inside. They want to know more about God’s love for them so that they too can grow even stronger. I also come across people who don’t know God but want to know Him. To be able to minister His word through song and share with those people how important it is to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior is a great blessing. My desire is that they will be able to get into a place of worship with Him, so that He may begin to show Himself in their lives.

Since I have taken CLI’s introductory class, it has allowed me to identify even greater with who I am in Christ and the order and structure that leaders need for the ministry to run smoothly. In the Christian Ministry that I attend, my pastor has always encouraged me to go further in the ministry through a Christian education pursuit and ministry training. My pastor also encourages me by providing me with additional material that will help me in my studies. The scholarship to Christian Leaders Institute is important to me because I am doing something that I am passionate about, and that is learning the word of God and how to minister. It will help me pursue my goal of receiving ministry certification or a degree while not having to worry financially about how I will pay for it. Proverbs 23:23 says “Buy the Truth and sell it not, get wisdom, instruction, and understanding.” This scholarship will help me to receive even more wisdom, instruction, and understanding that comes along with this opportunity to study here at CLI.

Learn about local ecuministry ordination with Christian Leaders Alliance.

God Calling Me to the Ministry

My name is Mark W. Mathis and I have a God calling on my life for ministry. My wife, Debra, and I live in Lindale, Texas. I am the middle child of three. I was raised in a Christian family of leaders, teachers, and preachers going back as far as the civil war, as far as I know. I came to believe in Jesus Christ as my Savior at 9 years of age, and I have ridden the stormy seas of life with God ever since.

It was several years back that I heard God calling me to the ministry. I began looking into online seminaries and Bible schools. As I was talking to God, I told Him I could make time for studies but could not afford the training. However, I knew when God was ready for me to train, He would make the money available. Three days later, I came across Christian Leaders Institute and your scholarship program. I knew right away it was God’s hand at work showing me the way to receive free ministry training.

It was not until recently that I began talking with a local pastor I hold in high regards about this God calling on my life. He was the one that started talking about a meeting schedule and possible others to meet with at the same time as mentors for me. To my shock and amazement, he told me it was time to step into my position in ministry and that it was long overdue.

Thank you to Christian Leaders Institute for this opportunity for free training without which I would not be able to afford to study to prepare for the ministry.

Learn about ordained minister study programs and local ecuministry ordinations with Christian Leaders Alliance.

Read how God the Faithful Father has been working in this man’s life through tragedy and triumph to lead him to the ministry like his late grandfather. God has called him to train at Christian Leaders Institute to prepare for the ministry.  

God Is My Faithful Father

My name is Jesse and this is my journey from faithless to faithful by God’s grace and timing. I am excited to serve my Faithful Father in the ministry. I grew up in that stereotypical genre of “I was raised in a church but never really lived my faith.” My late grandfather was a retired Baptist Minister. I spent many a weekend with him and my grandma. He often told me over the years, “You better go into ministry.” I had no clue that God would call me to this very thing until many many years later.

Many years later, I met my dear wife, Carrie, on eHarmony. We suffered through much early in our marriage. We experienced infertility and then the loss of our first daughter McKenna. After that, we have had to see our other daughter Lily suffering through her constant seizures. It was not until the loss of my grandfather in 2018, that God spoke to me about the ministry. He made it obvious what His plans were for me when I inherited my grandfather’s library. It was filled with his sermon notes and various theological books for me to learn and grow from.

So now, I am spending every evening after our daughter goes to bed and falls asleep, studying for free at Christian Leaders Institute. I am working to further my knowledge and practice in becoming a minister for God’s Kingdom through the training I am receiving from Christian Leaders Institute. Soli Deo Gloria.

Learn about local ecuministry ordination and ordained minister study programs with Christian Leaders Alliance.

Christian Music Leader

My name is Dylan Bailey and I am studying at Christian Leaders Institute to be a Christian music leader. I am 26 years old, and when I was 10, my family and I came to know Christ. While we spent years seeking Him, I started to drift away when I was 16. I fell into a life of sin, where my only focus was to please myself. Years passed, and I struggled with depression, loneliness, and just a general lack of fulfillment.

Around the age of 22, I had a serious problem occur with my wrist, where I couldn’t even hold a remote. The doctors told me I would have to stay on arthritis medicine, and I’d have to be extremely careful with my wrist. I was pursuing music at that time, so not being able to play guitar threw me into a deep depression.

It was around this time that God made himself clear to me. My family and I were attending one Sunday at a nearby church and the pastor preached on Mark three about the man with the crippled hand. I felt God speaking to me. So like the man from Mark three did, I just reached my hand out and I believed I was healed. While my healing didn’t come immediately, God did perform a miracle. I do not need medicine anymore.

I play guitar and sing every week at my church now. Not only that, but God has shown me my calling as a worship leader and a Christian musician. Being able to minister through music has brought me an immense amount of joy. I am so thankful I can do this! I am also thankful that I can study to be a Christian music leader at CLI!

Learn about ordained minister study programs and local ecuministry ordinations with Christian Leaders Alliance.

My Testimony

I’d have to be insane to NOT love, trust and put all of my hope in Jesus, my Savior, Deliverer, Redeemer and dearest Friend.

Words alone could never express my love and gratitude for the grace and mercy shown, in my life, by God my loving Father, who never let go. He already had known I was His.

As I sat praying and wondering how to share with you today, this story of God’s grace, a song began to play and has continued to sweetly run through my heart and mind, because it’s words ring true, in my life, from the very first day.

Here is the chorus of that song:

Mercy Said No

Mercy said no
I’m not gonna let Melissa go
I’m not going to let her slip away
Melissa doesn’t have to be afraid
Mercy said no
Sin will never take control
Life and death stood face to face and
Darkness tried to steal my heart away
But thank you Jesus, that mercy said NO.

Keeping those words in mind:
Climb on the express train of Melissa’s life so far, with me.
Let’s journey back in time and see where in my life His great mercy took hold, and how it continues even today.

As God began to knit me together in an unsure, abused, teenage girl’s womb, my life was not plucked away, Mercy said NO and I’m here today.

A few months later, nameless in a crowded foster home, I fell asleep sicker than anyone knew. Lying there in a coma, Mercy said NO, I have a plan for her, and I am here today.

Through the years that followed, it is because of God alone, His great love, mercy and grace, that I am even alive and sharing with all of you right now.

From abandonment, to adoption, receiving a name, hearing about God in a church, placing that first seed and spark in my heart.

Followed by abuse of every sick kind, rejection, attempts to silence me, fear, confusion, suicide attempts, group homes, running away, promiscuousness, homelessness, doing what ever it took for my next meal, rape and alcoholism to numb, then finally turning 18, marring an abusive and much older man, thinking it would be freedom, then several times almost dying at his hand.

I believe through all of this, though I didn’t know Him, God definitely knew me. He was my shield and fortress and continued to stir in my heart a desire and need for HIM.

I’d like to say it ended there, but many more years followed with abuse, tremendous loss and so much more, all because I wanted God on my own terms. I just wanted him to hand out justice to those who had hurt me, and in this thinking I had missed something huge.

What about my own sin? the punishment I deserved? Hmmmm I was guilty of doing some pretty awful things too.

It was three years ago that place of brokenness arrived. My need for Jesus became suddenly and overwhelmingly clear, that only through His grace, believing Jesus died in my place, removing my debt, only in this would I find life.
I needed His mercy and forgiveness and realized through Him alone would I begin to heal, forgive others, learn about love, and in Him find hope and my reason for living.

Is my life perfect today? Uhh nope, but doesn’t change His love for me.

Have I been abused since then? Yep quite recently actually because of this new found love for Jesus❤, but He’s even working that out for His glory and my good.

Here is why my heart joyfully chooses to trust Him each day, no matter what occurs….

He who began a good work in Melissa will be faithful to complete it.

He is the reason, I get out of bed each day with hope, the reason I have breath to share my story, because of His love for me, I can love others no matter what they do to me. He is how I find peace when things seem impossible, I no longer need to feel ashamed, I am redeemed and I am loved!

Because there in NO condemnation for Melissa who is in Christ Jesus, I can now boldly approach the throne of grace with confidence and receive grace and mercy to help in times of need.

Get Free Bible Training – This Woman that He Made

Jennifer Champion
United States

I live in Northport which is a small city in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, USA. Tuscaloosa is a vibrant place that is home to the University of Alabama. It is known for the Crimson Tide, a nationally ranked college football team as well as it’s place in history as the birthplace of Segregation among whites and people of color. On every corner there is a church yet attendance is in decline. It is a beautiful place that is still rebuilding after a tornado came through and destroyed over 5,000 buildings and took almost 50 lives. Apartments are booming left and right yet we do not have enough shelters for the homeless. My mission field is Tuscaloosa County. It is my passion to reach the lost and hurting in the wooded homeless camps or those in jail. I was led by the Lord to reach out and take the gospel to those that struggle with addictions and poverty. Below is my personal testimony of God’s grace in my life and I take the opportunity to share it with others seriously.

See, Jesus picked me up right where I was and forgave me. On a nasty hotel room floor in Las Vegas almost twenty years ago he freed me from over twelve years of drug and alcohol addiction. It was a sin I had lived in for way too long.
He freed me from the guilt of an abortion at seventeen and from years of promiscuity.

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He forgave me of the pain I had caused so many people like my mom, my grandparents, my friends, my husband and my child. He stayed with me as I struggled in a failing marriage to a man I loved for over twenty years. He did not leave me as I went through a painful divorce.

Later in my life, Jesus would rescue me again from the sorrow I suffered from the sudden death of my ex-husband. On steps in the parking deck at Druid City Hospital, he gave me the strength to tell our daughter about her daddy’s death. A year later he gave me the courage to forgive the man that had caused his death.

Jesus wasn’t done rescuing me though. A short time later he stayed with me and my daughters and protected us in my second marriage to an emotionally and physically abusive man. In June of 2011, he made sure that we escaped from what would have been a murder-suicide.

My life had become unmanageable and I was ashamed. I was embarrassed, scared and had no confidence. Jesus stayed with me as my girls and I found ourselves starting over alone in a garage apartment with very little to call our own. Jesus gave me the resources and patience to get through another divorce.

I am hardheaded and the Lord has used times in my life when I was at rock bottom to speak to me. See, when I was in the craziness of my addiction, I couldn’t hear him. When I was high, my focus was not on him so he could not be seen. When I was drunk, my hangovers sickened me to the point that I couldn’t feel him near. It took life getting hard, unbearable even before I knew he had never left me. The choices I had made during my life were sinful and they didn’t affect just me. They affected everyone around me.

Jesus showed me that I mattered to him even though I felt worthless as a mother, a daughter, a woman, a friend, a granddaughter and a human being. He showed me that life could be different.

Today, my third (and final) husband Patrick and I along with our five children look to the Lord daily for guidance in all that we do. Jesus guides our steps into the homeless camps around Tuscaloosa County where we minister to those in need. He has placed me as a Celebrate Recovery Inside leader in the Tuscaloosa County Jail to minister to women inmates struggling with their own addiction and losses.

Jesus keeps our cars running so that we can pick up homeless people or women released from jail and bring them to church on Sunday. He provides food for our pantry to feed the hungry. He has blessed us with a home that we open to groups of men and women that are hungry for his saving power.

My life is not without troubles and pain. I still grieve when someone dies from an overdose or is killed in a car accident caused by drunk driving. I suffer alongside my homeless friend in the ICU as he watches his wife die. I still get anxious when the bills come in and it doesn’t seem we have the money to cover them. I still cringe when I hear a siren and our daughter is on the roads. Life is not ever going to be without problems and sadness but it is so much easier to get through it all with Jesus going before me, walking beside me, and standing behind me. I am also reminded by Jesus every day that this life is just temporary and there is something far greater waiting on me in heaven.

If you are tired and broken tonight, give it to Jesus. If you are fighting a battle that you cannot win, give it to Jesus. If you are ashamed, scared, depressed, miserable, and lonely – give it to Jesus. Do not leave here without asking him to forgive you and to take away the load you have been carrying around for so long.

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As the Founder and Executive Director of The Find HOPE Here Project, I am constantly looking with new eyes at the world around me. There was a time before the Lord called me to minister to the downtrodden right here in my own community that I would walk or drive past the man on the corner, dirty and begging for a couple of dollars. There was a time when I would say things like, “they brought it on themselves” when someone was arrested. Now, the Lord has taken that hardened heart of mine and humbled it. He is still molding me into a person with growing empathy and compassion of the people in my world. I thank him daily for the vision he has given me of building twelve missions centers in Tuscaloosa to serve those living in poverty and to build The Refuge, a shelter and transitionally living home for people without a home. I pray daily that he will use me in a mighty way to grow his kingdom.

My family and I attend Rosedale Baptist Church where I have been a member since 2011. My husband and I teach Sunday School, help with missions such as Operation Christmas Child and Vacation Bible School. We love our church family and love seeing the Lord at work there.

I have attended briefly New Orleans Theological Baptist Seminary but he just got to be too expensive for me to continue. Then I came across CLI and praised the Lord for this opportunity to delve deep into his Word and grow closer to him. I never finished college because of the lack of money and time but CLI allows me to do my classes on my own time from the comfort of my home. I was so excited to see in my first Connections Course at CLI an entire section devoted to personal and family devotions. My bible is ragged, held together with paperclips, staples and a little tape. It goes with me everywhere. It is where I go for decision making and it was the first place I turned to in prayer when it came time to make a decision about whether or not to attend CLI.

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Biblically Sound Training

My name is Shanna Coker and I am from East Tennessee, US. I am married to my high school sweetheart, we have been married for 7 years now, and we have a beautiful 5-year-old daughter. My life can be crazy at times but I am so grateful from where God has brought me.

Growing up, my family didn’t talk about faith, God, etc. My father was an abusive drunk and my mother liked to stir the pot. I was very sick as a toddler ( 3 years old), I had what is called ITP. At the time, they had no idea about it, so I was having lots of tests run on me. I was always in and out of the hospital. I remember finally being home, yet I was still sick, and a Pastor and his deacons came to our house. They spoke with my parents and I remember them bringing me to the living room and sitting me down on the floor as they began to pray over me. I remember feeling a relief as they prayed. I was so young I wasn’t quite sure what was going on, but I was so grateful, even then.

As I got older I began to seek out Christ, going to local churches and such. But it wasn’t until I was about 22 years old before I decided to turn my life over to Christ and be who He wants me to be.

I have always felt like God has had some kind of calling for me, I know he has something amazing in store for me. I am still not quite sure what it is exactly but I am so excited to find out. Ideally, what I would like to eventually be some type of Christian Counselor. I have always been the “Go To” person for anyone that needs advice, but I would love to be able to do that on an everyday basis with the most Biblically sound training preparation. Ultimately, I plan to take this blessing with Christian Leaders Institute (CLI) and allow it to lead me where God wants me.

I happened upon CLI when trying to google free online bible study courses. And it is so hard for me to believe this opportunity is real because all I have ever wanted is to go to school to get Biblically sound training and further my knowledge of God’s Word and strengthen my faith. Unfortunately, it hasn’t always been an option, due to my husbands off and on health conditions, we are a low-income family and being able to afford a Bible college was not in our budget.

We have decided for me to stay home officially,  and homeschool our daughter, which is very exciting and scary. But we want to be able to give her the most Biblically sound training as possible, and I feel that CLI is going to help me do that!

I also babysit 3-5 children through out the week and kind of do a pre-school type atmosphere with them, we learn Bible stories and songs and do lots of crafts to go along with the bible story. I just am so excited about  CLI. I am trying not to break down in tears of joy. I can not thank you all enough!

Immigrant Free Ministry Training

My name is Mildred Eshun. I currently live in New York. My father lives in New York and my mother lives in Ghana. I migrated to the United States last year to live with my father. I am a Ghanaian. I completed Cape Coast Polytechnic in 2010 and I studied HND in Tourism in the Central Region of Ghana, West Africa.I am currently a home health aide in Long Island, New York.

I served in a local church of a small congregation of about 30 people in Ghana. Since I migrated to the United States, I am serving in a local Church here since my mother Church is only in Ghana and does not have branches outside the country. I intend to open a branch here with time as the Lord gives me the green light to start.

Growing up as a young woman, we always went to the local Pentecost church. My mom took us to church every Sunday and she made sure that no one stays home on a Sunday without going to church. I was really into the things of God from a tender age because of the gift of singing that God has blessed me with. I was always present at crusades grounds, church services and rehearsals. But all these times I had not yet accepted the Lord Jesus as my Lord and personal savior. I was just a church goer. I finally accepted the Lord as my savior when I want to high school. I will really loved that experience when I finally joined the scriptural union. I had water and Holy Ghost baptism at high school.

But everything turned around when I started Tertiary education, I joined bad friends so I started making wrong decisions, sleeping around with married men, young men and women at the same time, drinking alcohol and going to the club. My family had no idea of what I was doing because I was on campus.

I had always had an inner conviction of the call of God on my life. I had dreams to confirm the call right at a tender age. In 2011, the Holy Spirit captured my heart back to the Lord and has made the calling of God on my life so clear to me. My dream is to be a pastor, share the word, win many souls to the kingdom and see many lives blessed by my ministry. I dream to become a trained Christian leader within my community. The Lord delivered me from all my past bad behaves so I want to be used by God to save and deliver others too who are in that same situation.

My pastors ( both in Ghana, my mother church and the one here in the States) has been very instrumental in my growth, they always give me an opportunity to preach on Sundays, Fridays and anytime there is a program in or outside the church.

I had always wanted to enroll in a Bible school but I have always struggled with tuition since 2011 when I released I had the call; this has made me search for free lectures on the internet until one time the Lord revealed CLI.

My scholarship will help me build my knowledge of the gospel and also be more confident when sharing the word. It will also enable me to be recognized as a trained Christian leader through my certificates and diplomas eventually in ministry.

Please, pray for me so that my ministry dream will be fulfilled.

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Worship Leader

My name is Renee Hopper and I am studying to become an ordained worship leader. I currently live in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and am part of the Mustang, Oklahoma community. I am the worship leader at Freedom Fellowship Church in Mustang. I sing, play the keyboard, and am developing my skills as a songwriter. I am also a 3rd grade public school teacher in Mustang. I am a wife, mother of three amazing kids, and Nana to two beautiful grandbabies.

I was adopted by my grandparents when I was two years old. I grew up in the Assemblies of God and Non-Denominational churches. We attended church faithfully and were very involved with our church communities. I accepted Christ as my personal Savior at a Vacation Bible School in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma at the age of five. As soon as I was old enough, I began helping and serving at my church in the children’s programs, teaching kids in Sunday school and Missionettes, and leading them in praise and worship during children’s church. I was actively involved in girls’ choir, drama teams, a traveling puppet ministry, and church orchestra.

My heart for ministry started when I was very young. I can’t ever remember a time in my life that I didn’t have a song on my lips. As a young child, I couldn’t wait to find my friends on the playground or at church so we could get together and sing or play school. I started trying to play the piano when I was a toddler and learned a few things from my mom and sister in my younger years. I began taking piano and voice lessons at the age of 12 when I told my mom I might need these lessons in case I was going to marry a Pastor.

All through the years I have played the keyboard, led praise and worship, served on praise teams and in other areas of church ministry including Missionettes, teaching Sunday School, serving in Puppet Team Ministry, Drama Team, Orchestra – Keyboardist, Choir, Passion Play, Worship Team for Juvenile Detention Ministry, Children’s Church ministry, and Burn 24/7 –  A city-wide worship and prayer outreach ministry. I have continued to follow my heart for ministry even through some very difficult setbacks and devastating times in my life. I have used these times to grow and strengthen my faith and trust in God.

I am very thankful for the opportunity to grow in ministry through Christian Leaders Institute. I am seeking ordination to continue on my path of becoming a Worship Pastor. I am also seeking education in the area of counseling to help my team as they become leaders, and to minister to others in our congregation and community. This opportunity for free online education is extremely valuable for me as I am recovering and rebuilding from a recent devastating financial crisis.

Learn about minister ordination with Christian Leaders Alliance.