Hindsight 2020. A Look Back at a Special Year of Grace.

A Short Summary of our Ministry Emphasis this Year…

We are currently partnering with and leading the flock with our national pastors at Mountain View Baptist Church in Somerset West, Cape Town. We also teach and train disciples in the Ministry Training Centre’s four-year Bible and ministry program. We lead a Bible study at our home and disciple a number of individuals. We also manage a coffee shop inside the church facility and are actively connecting with community members in several ways, including a play café for mothers and young children. If the Lord wills, we will be assisting Mountain View in the effort of beginning to plant a new church this year! 

Some Highlights in our Ministry in 2020…

Over the past year, we served 5,000+ coffees at Summit Coffee, celebrating it’s one year anniversary in November. This provided lots of gospel conversations and opportunities for building into relationships in our community. One great relationship forged was with Helderberg International School across the street from the coffee shop. We now are able to minister daily to teachers, tutors and parents and have seen a number of them join us for church gatherings and ministries, not to mention lots of evangelism!

Celebrating the One Year Anniversary of Summit Coffee Culture in November.

The ups and downs of this year for so many allowed us loads of opportunities to build deeper relationships with our neighbors, spending time with them in our houses and theirs. We have been able to share the gospel with almost all our nearest neighbors on multiple occasions and have had a number of them join us for church on different occasions. Marlene, as far as we know, is the first convert of our ministry in 2020, by God’s grace, which has been primarily equipping and building up the saints through intentional discipleship. During the peak of the COVID pandemic here, she found herself with serious doubts regarding her faith and what she had been taught about God and her salvation. She spent a week calling churches, attempting to meet with pastors before she found us on Facebook and gave us a call. I met with her in the café at Summit later that day to open up God’s Word and share the Way of salvation, Jesus Christ. She embraced Him by faith and has consistently joined our Sunday gatherings, followed her profession of faith in baptism, joined our midweek Bible study in our home and attended MV’s women’s ministry. She is thirsty to learn and Lauren has been discipling her all along. Such a joy and testimony of the grace of our Lord!

Some of the Challenges and Difficulties in our Ministry in 2020…

Earlier in the year, we discovered some support shortages, yet as always, the Lord provided. We are still under-supported, but have always had what we needed each month. By God’s grace, we applied for and received financial assistance to have the children’s school fees reduced. Praise the Lord that Lennon and Lola have begun school and love it thus far! 

This year, we had to be additionally flexible and creative as we continued to be obedient to our calling. Of course, the mission never changed (make disciples), but our means and methods changed. It was challenging to adapt many of our ministries to online or Zoom. It was difficult observing different responses to all that was happening and being unable to be physically present with many of those suffering through hardships. As our partner put it, this lockdown and pandemic served as a true spiritual barometer for the church. We discovered the extent of the work we have yet to do among our people within the church.  

Ministry Goals for this Upcoming Year… 

  1. Summit Coffee Culture and MV Play Café: Grow the ministry of Summit and the play café ministry and organize community events to serve and bless Heritage Park, connecting them with Mountain View Baptist Church, but most importantly with the Truth of the gospel. Hand over complete management of coffee shop and play café to competent disciples. Praise the Lord that both Summit and the MV Play Café can operate in our absence, but there is still some dependency on us there. Lord willing, we will hand over these ministries this year.
  2. Life Groups: Grow and hand over our current small group to other competent disciples and start another. We would like to explore opportunities to reach the campus of Stellenbosch University, perhaps beginning with a Bible study up there.
  3. If the Lord wills, we would like to begin the process of planting a church this year in our community in partnership with MVBC. 
  4. BTIM: This is an acronym for an idea at the moment, “By Trade Institute of Ministry.” We would like to build and launch a skills development/trade program to pair with the Ministry Training Centre’s Bible and ministry program. The goal would be to provide employable job skills and equip people to share the gospel and make disciples wherever God takes them.

Personal Development Goals…

Nate: I have a goal of reading and studying through a number of books this year for my own personal and ministry development. A number of these I will be reading with other disciples. Apart from the Bible, this list includes the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, The Valley of Vision, Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion (1541 Edition), Heroes by Murray, Spiritual Parenting by Spurgeon, Let the Nations Be Glad by Piper, The Holiness of God by Sproul, Grace Alone by Trueman and Christ Alone by Wellum, Puritan Piety by Haykin, Preaching and Preachers by Lloyd-Jones, Calvin on the Christian Life by Horton, Beyond the 95 Theses by Nichols, Some Pastors and Teachers by Ferguson and 21 Servants of Sovereign Joy by Piper for starters. 

Lauren: I also have a number of books I plan to read through this year. One particularly having to do with “kitchen table counseling”. I have found myself in many situations over the last two years of feeling a bit under-equipped for some of these situations and wanting to know a better way to encourage these women. I would like to add some more in-depth study to counseling though a course or seminar. 

Henry (2), Lennon (5), and Lola (4)

Specific Evangelism and Discipleship Relationships…

  • Evangelizing:

Our final gospel conversation of 2020 was an exciting one! Neighbors we do not regularly see, Brad and Lindsay, invited us and the other neighbors over for a New Year’s Eve braai. Later in the evening, Brad was curious as to why we were here and what we do. As we shared our faith and what compels us, we was fascinated. Admittedly, he is an atheist and usually does not want to talk about these things. He confessed however, he felt very comfortable talking to me and has many questions he would like ask and continue the conversation another time. 

Continuing gospel conversations with our neighbors in our complex, residents in the Park around MV, parents and teachers of the school next door to Summit.

  • Discipling:

Lauren and I have been invested in several couples (dating, engaged, and married) throughout 2020. We see these couples usually twice a month or more for counseling and discipleship.

Nate: I meet in varying frequencies with James, Martin, Warren, Ps. Mark, Ps. Dave, Blaq, Julio and Nivan for discipling relationships. We are also making more intentional discipleship opportunities available for others so this list will likely grow, Lord willing. 

Lauren: I meet with Marlene biweekly to work through a bible study of how to better study the Bible. I also meet with Jade biweekly for bible study where we discuss biblical motherhood/wife. I continue to meet with Bianca, Mercy, Leonorah and Summer.

And how can you help us this year?

Be certain, there is nothing better or more effective and helpful than prayer. We have faced many challenges and difficulties this past year, and we do not expect anything different in this new one. 

As the apostle Paul explained the afflictions experienced in his ministry to the church in Corinth, he revealed why we encounter trials in this life…

“…But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.”

2 Corinthians 1:9b-11

We encounter hardship in teach us to trust in our trustworthy God. We serve a God who can RAISE THE DEAD! What affliction could we face, that He cannot handle? No. He will deliver us again. But YOU MUST HELP US BY PRAYER. Why? So many will give God the praise He deserves for the many blessings He grants us. 

And we know you are tired, run down and afflicted. And we also pray for you, brothers and sisters. Christian, stand firm! Hold fast! Take heart! Our Saviour is coming! So be alert! Be busy with the Master’s business as his return is near and he will settle accounts with his servants. Do not be ashamed of the gospel! It is the power to save all who believe!

So please, please pray to the Lord of the Harvest to wake the dead. And pray that He would raise up more servants for His work. Maybe even consider joining us for a ministry experience. Could the Lord be asking you to spend a few weeks, months or years in His service in South Africa? Shoot us an email and let’s talk (nlbell@abwe.cc)! 

Some of you also ITCH for ways to tangibly help and get involved in the Lord’s work here. Here are a few ideas for ways to bless some of our ministries

  • A bicycle for my disciple and Summit Coffee barista, Black = $200 USD
  • A television for the children’s ministry at Mountain View = $300 USD
  • A basketball hoop (or two) to teach basketball in our community = $400 USD per hoop
  • A jungle gym for Mountain View and Heritage Park community = $500 USD

Or consider becoming a financial partner and supporting the Lord’s ministry through us here with a monthly gift. The Lord does not call all of us to cross the world to proclaim his Name, but He does call all of us to the same mission of making disciples of all nations. Some are called to go, others called to equip and support. What is your role? 

“[Christ] we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyonemature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.”

Colossians 1:28-29

Grace and Peace in Christ,
Nate and Lauren Bell
nlbell@abwe.cc

Sermons and An Magazine Interview about Summit…

And another blessing from our Lord…

…Joining up with the rest of the Bell Bunch late June 2021!