God in the Bush

What do an old man, an escaped criminal, and a Champion Forest trip to Kenya all have in common? 

They saw the power of God in the bush.


In the Old Testament, the catalyst for the story of God’s people is in the covenant Yahweh makes to Abraham; an old, barren man with no one to leave his legacy to. God promises the impossible: that the people of Abraham would be as many as the stars in the sky. That his bloodline would not only continue but that there would be an eternal throne through his people group. The seed of this promise was born in Isaac. The true son of Abraham was the fulfillment of God’s covenant. 

Yet, in all this hope, God asks for the impossible again. Abraham is to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham is to give up his one and only son, the hope of a future people, who are to be God’s children. How can the life of many come, if there is the death of the promised one? 

Abraham sets off on the three-day journey with his son by his side. When they arrived at the mountain in Moriah, Abraham took the wood for the sacrifice and put it on Isaac’s back.  The agony Abraham must have felt as he watched his one and only son, with the wood he is to be sacrificed with on his back, march towards his death. 

Abraham prepares the place for the sacrifice. He binds his son in obedience to the Father. He raises his fist, knife in hand, in full faith that God would still be true to His promise. Just before he deals the deadly blow, God stops Him. Abraham sees a movement in the distance. There in the thick bushes, God’s provision is wriggling. A ram, caught by the horns, is a symbol that God’s faithfulness can be found in unlikely places at unlikely timing. 

Abraham, an old man, found God faithful in the bush.


A thousand years after God’s covenant with Abraham, the promised nation of Israel is living in slavery in Egypt. A people shackled in hard labor and destitute in poverty. Moses, a murderer who once lived in the palace of Pharoah, is off in a desolate desert tending to sheep. In the middle of the ordinary, the extraordinary explodes on the scene: a bush on fire that is not burning up. In that bush, Moses finds the manifest presence of God who reveals to him a name to be called by, Yahweh. 

Yahweh, or I AM, is the first name that God reveals to His children. There in that fiery bush was the intimate and close God of Israel. He did not stay far away. There it was again, God’s personal provision in a bush. God’s sign that He is in the business of saving His people. 


After that encounter with Yahweh, Moses would go on to lead the Israelites to freedom, escaping the bankrupt life of slavery under Pharoah. More miracles than a burning bush would occur, but it all started with an escaped criminal and God’s plan for rescue in the bush.


This past summer, a team of Champion Forest members, led by Missions Associate Lezlie Armour, headed into the country of Kenya. There they met with longtime partner International Treasure House Ministries. During their time there, they got to personally experience what it is like to see God’s faithfulness in the bush. They were part of a team that went out into the countryside, the barren bush, and helped rescue two little girls who were in danger of being sold. The sisters were five and seven years old. Little lives, both precious to God, are rescued in the bush by people of God. 

When we hear stories like this, we are reminded that the stories of the Old Testament echo into today. The God of rescue and provision of times past is still the same God on the throne now. When we commit our time to serve and spread the hope of Jesus to people of all nations, we get to join in the spiritual army of what God is already doing. We get the honor of participating in the character of God by being people of provision and rescue. 

While not everyone can go to Kenya, everyone can serve in the story of God. That may look like being a person of provision and giving financially to partners like International Treasure House Ministries. Money towards them makes a holistic rescue possible. It funds giving those little girls a home to live in with warm beds. It ensures that they will have meals to eat and teachers to educate them with a knowledge of God and life skills. To be a cheerful giver to the Kingdom of God is to imitate Christ. 

Others can serve by being people of rescue. They can sign up for the next Kenya trip or they can serve right here in Houston. Champion Forest is a proud partner with Freedom Church Alliance, a group empowering the churches and nonprofits of Houston to come together and fight against the human trafficking happening in our own city. When we serve and help rescue others out of hopeless situations, we are following in the call to be like Jesus. 

If you are interested in the next Kenya mission trip or serving locally, please email missions@cfbc.org

Following Jesus Every Day… Wherever He Leads

“We’ve got five pieces of luggage between the two of us. The rest of what we own is in a storage unit.”

Owen & Leasha Barr

In 2013, two years after joining the CFBC Missions Team, Owen Barr traveled to Brazil to research a mission opportunity for Champion Forest. He spent the week serving alongside a local pastor there through a connection with the International Mission Board. Along with fellow CFBC Staff Members Lezlie Armour and Jared Richard, the team quickly came to an overwhelming sense that Champion Forest should begin a long-term partnership. Every January the past seven years, Owen led mission teams from CFBC to Sao Paulo to work with Pastor Eguinomar Souza and other Baptist efforts in the region.

Over the past year, Owen and his wife Leasha began to sense God’s call to take a step further in faith. After much prayer and seeking the Lord, it became clear that their next step was to move to Brazil.

On January 16th, Owen and Leasha boarded a plane for Brazil and will not be returning until November.

When asked what kind of emotions they’ve been experiencing leading up to departure, Owen said, “All of them. You’re excited, but then you’re terrified and a little sad, we’ve felt all of the emotions. But you know, for both of us, we came to a point where we knew we could choose not to do this, but to what end? I mean, this is what we’re called to do.”

In Sao Paulo, a lack of education and training among Brazilian pastors creates a lid on discipleship and church growth. Owen and Leasha bring a much-needed resource of ministry leadership, experience, and knowledge.

The things that you have are not just for you; they’re for you to use as a resource. Whether that’s your time, ability, or money, those are things that have been given to you to steward, not just to hoard.”

Owen’s wife, Leasha (formerly Leasha May), grew up at Champion Forest and began serving on mission trips at an early age. Her freshman year of high school, she participated in a mission trip to Columbus, Ohio. “That one was a game-changer for me. It was just something different that I’d never seen before, and the first time I felt like, ok, I want to do this. Then all through high school, I was discipled by so many people, like Cheryl (Spafford), who played a large role.”

When asked about the role her parents played in her life and heart for missions, Leasha recalled very clearly how her family modeled generosity. “I think one of the baseline principles in my family was that generosity is just part of what life is supposed to look like. The things that you have are not just for you; they’re for you to use as a resource. Whether that’s your time, ability, or money, those are things that have been given to you to steward, not just to hoard.”

“We know the culture shock is going to be huge. But what we’re most excited about is just getting to see what Jesus is actually planning. We have a vision and a vague idea, and contacts to go and start connecting with, but beyond that, it’s up to Him. It’s been pretty clear that He is orchestrating things in His way. It doesn’t matter if you understand them or whether everyone else understands them, if He’s working, then it’s good. God’s playing a very long game. This specific thing is not something we would have ever picked years ago. But everything up to this point has been leading us here, even if it wasn’t apparent along the way.”

Interested in Missions?

If you’re interested in going on a CFBC mission trip, or getting more involved in missions in a variety of ways, please contact our Missions Team or go to championforest.org/missions.