Six Months in South Africa

Remember that time I sent you 3 updates in 3 weeks? Me too. And you were probably hoping you wouldn’t hear from me for awhile…Well, I have good news and bad news for you. The bad news is here we are, updating you again. But the good news is that I have asked a guest to share with you. So its not really us. But we thought, since it has been six (6) months (yeah, you read that right. S-I-X. Praise God!), maybe it’d be nice for you to hear from a partner in ministry on this side. And not just that, but quite a close one. Enjoy this perspective from our South African pastor and friend!…

Guest Writer: Pastor Mark Osborne

Good day from Sunny South Africa,

I’m honoured to contribute to the Bell Bunch letter as a guest this month. My name is Mark Osborne and I’m a Pastor at Mountain View Baptist Church, where the Bell’s are serving. Today I’d like to let you know how this precious family, that you support in various ways, is doing. When a friend travels overseas for an extended time, it can be hard to tell how they’re really doing when the only perspective you get is theirs – are they really doing that well, or should we be concerned about something? Nate thought that it might be good to hear from a local about their adventures… or misadventures. Having given me almost zero requirements for this update, hopefully this will be as unbiased as you could get. At the end, I’d ask you to simply pray for something – I’ll get to that in a bit.

Time has flown. It’s been just over 6 months since Nate, Lauren, Lennon, Lola, and Henry arrived on our shores. What have they been up to?

Serving One on One

Nate is incredibly passionate about discipleship. I’d even go so far as to say that he is inspirational in this regard. He even has our leadership team going through some material to do with discipleship and it’s been a joy to watch him do this. Both he and Lauren have formed close bonds with several individuals within the church and are doing a great job discipling them. As a result of their ministry I know of several others who have begun one on one discipleship relationships.

Serving One to Many

At Mountain View, small group ministry is incredibly important. It’s within this context that we seek to “Do Life Together God’s Way”. The Bells immediately slotted into our Young Adults group, although Nate is pushing the upper age limit :). Not satisfied with only one group, Nate and Lauren chose to form their own group, which opened space for more people within the church to be a part of this very important part of church life. They’ve taken the lead in organising social gatherings within these life groups as well. Apart from these smaller gatherings, both Nate and Lauren have  become involved in our larger men’s and women’s ministry groups respectively.

Young Adult Volleyball at Mountain View

Serving in Church Life

Both the Bells have joined various ministries. Nate is involved in the worship team, has preached twice in our local body, and has helped out with the preaching in our church plant in Hermanus over the last two weeks. Until recently, they were seeing other churches on a regular basis, but, now that they are more settled, Lauren is going to be involved in our children’s ministry, helping in the creche. Nate has also been instrumental in getting a coffee shop up and running. We will be opening the doors in early November – this is very exciting!

Woman at the Ladies Bible Study at Mountain View

OK, great, but how are they doing? I’m certain that they miss friends and family back home. I’m confident that there are days when they long to see each and every one of you. I’m equally sure that they are resting in God, trusting Him for their future, and finding joy in Him. Spiritually, they are doing well – I accidentally caught a glimpse of Nate’s calendar and the only thing in there was three appointments daily, simply labeled “Pray”. They are a huge encouragement to us and I’m grateful that they are here!

So, what can you pray for? They are involved in so many lives. Pray that this ministry bears much fruit for the gospel as Christ builds His church in this part of the vineyard.