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Do we love the lost like Jesus Christ loves the lost?

“The Lord is not slow concerning his promise (to return), as some regard slowness, but is being patient toward you, because he does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3.9 Parenthesis added.

But, do we anxiously pray for the salvation of the lost?

 “First of all, then, I urge that requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanks be offered on behalf of all people…Such prayer for all is good and welcomed before God our Savior, since he wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” 1 Tim 2.1, 3-4

But, do we actively seek and rejoice in the salvation of the lost?

“Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search thoroughly until she finds it? Then when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15.8-10

It’s convicting, I know. The line of thought could begin at “But, do you really love Jesus?” He tells us in John 14 and 15 that if we love him, we must obey his commandments. “But, do we obey his commandments?” Before this same Jesus left the earth, he commanded us in Matthew 28, to go and make disciples and baptize them, and teach them to obey these very same commandments…

We know the Lord is not finished working on us, and will continue His work. But, we do love the lost, and pray for more of the heart that Christ had for them. He has called us to share His love with all those He loves in South Africa.

“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped around their knees. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let no one go unwarned or unprayed for.” – Charles H. Spurgeon


There is no doubt, our God is one that provides. We are continually in awe of how He is supplying our needs and pulling together our su
pport one church, one individual at a time. Please join us as we pray ev
en more specifically for this next piece. We are required to attend three training seminars by our mission agency to help prepare us for the mission field. We have completed the first segment and the second is being offered in July. However, our support level must be at 50{94115f3f0ce78e17ae6fab5620d08dd86260dffed70bcd9a5a0ccd2442dba6d2} in order for us to attend. If we cannot make this particular date, our timeline will be pushed back as each seminar is only offered at certain times of the year. We have great trust in the Lord’s timing and provision, and we also certain of where He is calling us.

At 40{94115f3f0ce78e17ae6fab5620d08dd86260dffed70bcd9a5a0ccd2442dba6d2} of our required committed monthly support, we are sIMG_6483hort of the 50{94115f3f0ce78e17ae6fab5620d08dd86260dffed70bcd9a5a0ccd2442dba6d2} level by $1,000 a month. We are praying to the Great Provider to work as only He can. To break that number down, we are praying specifically for 20 new partners (churches or individuals) that might support us prayerfully as well as financially for $50 monthly. 20 new partners supporting us for $50 a month would put us over the 50{94115f3f0ce78e17ae6fab5620d08dd86260dffed70bcd9a5a0ccd2442dba6d2} mark and over the halfway hump! Please pray to the Lord of the harvest that he might supply our need for partners in His work!

New Year, Same Faith

IMG_0060 Day after day, regardless of work accomplished the day before and regardless of the geography, the Lord calls for obedience. The call of our mission is each and every day. Like Moses at the burning bush, the Lord has called and we cry “Here am I.” Like Moses, we have been given the privilege to serve the Lord and we are well aware of our incompetency. And like Moses, Lauren and I are blessed to know evermore the faithfulness of our Lord and His provision. Later, Moses would pray my favorite psalm, Psalm 90, as a reminder of our brief and fleeting lives. “So teach us to number our days, so that we may learn to live wisely (v.12).” Each day is a blessing to be a part of God’s mission. Each is an opportunity to reflect glory to God and make his name known. Regardless of the situation, our prayer is that when God calls, we answer, “Here we are” and we follow. “So we must not grow weary in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us do good to all people… (Gal.6.9-10)” God help us to be faithful in the present, continuing in the works you have prepared for us here, as we excitedly await your timing for the ministry you have for us in South Africa. Amen.


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November 16th, the Lord blessed us with our second child. Our daughter, Lola Dené, is now nearly three months and is just gorgeous. Our son, Lennon William, is a year and half. He is monster of movement and activity. He enjoys entertaining and just adores his sister. Too much actually. Once again, we are incredibly blessed as a family and have a wonderful network of support. God is too good.

God has blessed our ministry at our local church as well. We lead a small group that began with six, and has grown in the several months to 12-14. Praise God for a small group of followers to bear burdens, pray, encourage and study the Word together! Continue to pray for this group we call, “The Lesser Project,” as we just finished the 40 major events in the Biblical narrative and are transitioning into a study on godly marriage. Lauren continues to lead two discipleship groups with several ladies and I am still meeting regularly for “Theology Thursdays” at work and am beginning a new discipleship relationship.

Mountain View Baptist Church in South Africa is seeing the fruit of the work of the Holy Spirit; souls rescued, repentance and baptism. The Somerset West campus is growing and developing leadership. Praise God for raising up national leadership to begin to take on more responsibility in the church. The Hermanus campus church plant has moved to a location neighboring a provisional settlement (township or “slum”). This has drawn many children to the church. Praise God! Pray that by loving and investing in these children Christ so loves, their parents and families may come to know this love as well! Pray for teammates and campus pastor Wade and Tara McComas who also just welcomed their fourth child!

As for us, if it hasn’t been made abundantly clear, we are blessed. God is providing us opportunities upon opportunities to share His love here and invest in lives. We had a busy end to 2016, sharing our ministry and God-given passion and call in churches. Beginning last March, God has provided us with 32{94115f3f0ce78e17ae6fab5620d08dd86260dffed70bcd9a5a0ccd2442dba6d2} of our necessary monthly support, and 40{94115f3f0ce78e17ae6fab5620d08dd86260dffed70bcd9a5a0ccd2442dba6d2} of our Outfit and Passage. We have been encouraged by each of these opportunities and conversations, hearing how God is working in each of these communities.

We are filling up the schedule with church visits and appointments with individuals interested in being more involved in our ministry. Please be praying over the upcoming ministry dates:IMG_5322

Friday, February 17: Journey Church – Columbus, OH; Sunday, February 26: Grace Baptist – Minford, OH; Sunday, March 5: New Community Baptist – Avon, OH; Saturday, March 11: Private Event – Columbus, OH

 


Praises & Prayer Requests

Answers:

Thank God for the additional partnerships of First Baptist, Tallmadge and the Kenoyer Foundation!

Thank God for all the rest of the Bell Bunch prayer and financial supporters (32{94115f3f0ce78e17ae6fab5620d08dd86260dffed70bcd9a5a0ccd2442dba6d2} of our committed monthly support has been provided)!

Praise God for healthy babies and a healthy mom!

Thank God for a new position that grants more flexibility and personal development.

Thank God for the blessing of discipleship relationships, fruitful ministry, and encouragement!

Praise God for a few hours to catch up with Tom and Nancy Wolf and worship together!

Praise God for all the children attending the Children’s Church at Mountain View Baptist in Hermanus, South Africa.

Thank God that He indeed is Almighty and sovereign above all.

Requests:

Pray for clear communication as we present our ministry and for those the Lord is preparing to partner with us.

Pray for the number of upcoming transitions (housing, ministry, etc.) as we move closer to our ministry in South Africa.

Pray for the ministries in South Africa and for our team there as they share the love of Christ.

Pray for guidance as we navigate many responsibilities and for wisdom as we balance our time.

Pray that we continue to grow and follow as God leads and guides us.

Pray that God may provide the next 18{94115f3f0ce78e17ae6fab5620d08dd86260dffed70bcd9a5a0ccd2442dba6d2} of our support in order for us to reach 50{94115f3f0ce78e17ae6fab5620d08dd86260dffed70bcd9a5a0ccd2442dba6d2} of our committed monthly support by July, and attend our next ABWE training seminar.

A Baby-like Faith

If you know our son, Lennon, you know his favorite activity is eating – eating bananas to be exact. He is eating us out of house and home already! One morning, while I was feeding him breakfast, I realized this kid will eat anything. If it is on a spoon, his mouth is open and ready to devour it! I could put peas on a spoon and he would eat it (he actually LOVES peas). But I thought to myself, what faith he has in me to give his little belly something good

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This made me realize, how greater should our faith be that God will continue to direct us and provide for us as we push for the mission field. Sure, I’m his mom and I love him and won’t give him something his dad wouldn’t even eat, but how much more should we trust our Savior with everything! Nate and I have realized that when we put our worries and our dreams in God’s hands, not only is it less stressful, but amazing things happen that we couldn’t even dream of in His perfect timing! We have witnessed God’s grace and provision when we lay our burdens at His feet. And, oh, is it so much sweeter!

“So I tell you: Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, although you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke11.9-13

Is your faith ever increasing? It is something I’m still working on, and I am so thankful for my sweet, patient husband who reminds me to trust and not rely on my “plan”.

We have a poster in our garage we can glimpse at before we leave the house that reads “Today You Die”. While that sounds morbid and a bit scary as we drive away, it reminds us daily what Galatians 2:20 says. “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” We do not exist anymore, it is the Spirit in us who directs us (if we let Him).
So thank you little one, for reminding us to constantly live by faith and rely on our Savior. We will be better parents for it.

**PRAY**
-That our faith would continue to increase
-For the next church we get to share our ministry to and serve on July -24th, August 28th, and October 9th
-For future partners
-For another baby bell on the way 

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.