The Bell Bunch Takes It on the Road

Somehow, we often manage to trick ourselves into believing that our struggles are isolated. We assume that no one else wrestles and fails in the same areas as we do, so we keep it to ourselves. Can you imagine what they might think or say if they find out? The truth is, followers of Christ often are stuggling in the same areas, and if not, they did. There is power in prayer and transparency within the Body of Christ. We were definitely reminded of that power by multiple individuals that approached after last Sunday’s teachings. They told us about how much they identified with our stories and our struggles and how helpful and encouraging our words were to them. In some of those moments, it is easy to forget, but we mustn’t. God is working good out of bad.

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In a short five hours trip through farm lands and through town centers of decades past we arrived in Otsego, Michigan. The town sits just outside of Kalamazoo. We had been invited to come share at First Baptist Church with rather short notice after a cancellation provided an opportunity which we could not turn down. Another chance to see and hear what God is doing in the lives of another community and share what He is doing in our lives?! Sign us up!

imageWe arrived Saturday evening and spent time with Pastor Paul and Beth Laborde and their three too-much-fun little ones (Cameron, Wesley, and Braden). I can’t remember the last time I had any more fun smacking a balloon around the room! Jumping into as much ministry as we could, we shared our testimonies and stories of God’s maturation process for the Sunday School hour. I shared from the Word and we presented our ministry during the main hour. And later Sunday evening, we spent a few hours with the Jr. and Sr. High youth groups playing in the gym and I provided a short devotion and challenge to them. We felt an incredible amount of encouragement and energy from it through a busy weekend. Many conversations and with ministry leaders, elders, retired missionaries, a former pastor and more that left us so blessed and excited about the future and the path we are walking with our Lord.

 

Just the Beginning…

FullSizeRender (2)This past Sunday, March 20, Lauren and I had the privilege to launch our pre-field ministry amidst many of the most impactful people in our lives – our home church. Sunday, March 20th was the annual Missions Conference at our sending church, Memorial Baptist. What an encouragement and blessing to share our ministry and begin our support raising journey among such close family and friends.

Sipi Falls, Uganda May 2010

Sitting at the edge of a cliff overlooking a lush and dense waterfall-fed jungle valley in Sipi Falls, northern Uganda, I struggled with understanding God’s call on my life. My faith was small and weak and I doubted much. I glanced out over the cliff and observed all the grass-roof huts that spotted the ravine like the bug bites on my own arms and legs. I was discouraged that my dream relied so heavily on so many others. Who would put their faith in me? What kind of person would commit their hard-earned wages to a kid like me to chase wherever God is leading? Who would want to support me? I found some hope while I stayed with my host family. I could sell all of my possessions, empty my savings, buy a plane ticket, purchase some land, plant a garden, and survive just like the locals and still fulfill God’s purpose for my life.

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Nate sharing from the Word at Sunday’s Mission Conference.

Lauren and I have both matured some over the past six years and God has stretched and grown my faith tremendously as I have continued to see his work, provision and guidance in my life. Such a work in our hearts has both Lauren and I so excited to move forward with this new phase in our adventure of chasing God wherever He leads. We are praying for our continued excitement and encouragement as we share what He is doing in our lives, and hear what He is doing in the lives of the many, many others we will meet on this journey. We trust He will bring along just the right churches and individuals to join our team that will faithfully pray and support us as we do the same for each of them.