Grace Upon Grace.

She told me that she prays to God, but I know she doesn’t really know Him. I know she doesn’t know Jesus,” expressed my concerned friend in regards to his wife’s salvation.

He himself is only beginning to grasp the power in the gospel, but I’ve already seen change in his life. We had started meeting over God’s word one year ago. My friend had little interest initially in studying the Bible, and far more interest in other religions and I obliged. We studied and talked through other philosophies and religions before he agreed to examine the Bible. The study lasted for months and now the impact is eternal. My friend understands the truth of the gospel and has accepted it. Now, he wants his wife to discover what he has found. Praise God! Pray the Spirit continues to work in his life as I continue to disciple my new brother and we take steps forward in finding a good church home for them.

This is the highlight of the past month by far, though God has been very busy. We are excited to announce several new partners that have catapulted us to 75%! We need God to provide just another 10% in order to make our upcoming training in April! We have successfully moved out and sold our home and moved in with family. And recently we were privileged to help lead worship at a youth retreat with our brothers and sisters at Scioto Hills Camp and Retreat Center in Wheelersburg, Ohio. God continues to challenge us in our growing small group and discipleship groups. We praise God also as He has provided an opportunity for a friend in our group to lead a bible study in his workplace as well! May the name of Christ be known everywhere!

We cherish your prayers and beg you to continue! I have been reminded of this power and the heart of our God while studying in the first letter to Timothy.

First of all, I urge that requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanks be offered on behalf of all people, even for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 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. For there is one God and one intermediary between God and humanity, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself as a ransom for all, revealing God’s purpose at his appointed time.” 1 Timothy 2.1-6

We are praying that if it is God’s will, we might reach our next bench mark of 85% in the next several weeks. This will get us to our final training for our mission organization. Stay tuned for more updates as we do believe God will provide and we pray confidently as we hope do as well. Specifically, we are praying for five new partners that might help us reach this goal. May it be so!

And….we announce joyfully, we are expecting another addition to the Bell Bunch, due to arrive in August! Baby number three is on the way. Please pray for the Lauren’s health (and sanity) along with the development of our new child. Thanks for all the prayers to date. We treasure and are desperate for them.

God is moving. So are we.

When God moves, you move. That is how it works.

And He has been moving fast and for us.

We praise our sovereign God as our home is in contract. We are set to close on February 20th. Please pray all things move forward smoothly and glory to God for selling our home so rapidly (2 days!), and to the first to walk through the door.

We praise God for His grace as we sort through the many blessings He has poured out on us in our over five years of marriage. Please pray as we prepare this weekend to sell most of our belongings in preparation for our upcoming moves and transitions.

We praise our loving God for reaching the hearts of coworkers and guests. He is opening up more conversations in my workplace for me to share His love and the gospel which compels us. Pray for me, for boldness and words, and for my living testimony at work. May we not forget He is at work in lives all around, even here and now.

We praise God our Father for surrounding us with a community of brothers and sisters to encourage, challenge, and walk with through life. Our church has been a constant reminder of the steadfast love and beauty of Christ. Our small group and discipleship groups are daily evidence of the living and active power of the Holy Spirit. May we continue to be faithful to these ministries and fulfill our responsibilities in the local church.

We praise our Lord for the joy in obedience to his commands. As we have challenged each other in our small group to reach out to each of our next door neighbors, we are grateful and cherishing what may be some of our last meals with our neighbors as we move. Pray that we present our Christ and the gospel from a true place of wonder and awe that He might be found as the answer to the thirst of their souls.

Catching the theme, yet? God is good. And He has been so busy in our lives. And we are humbled by our countless blessings and His limitless grace. But all the aforementioned amazingness is not all…Visit www.reallygreatsite.com to k

We praise God, our Provider, has increased our monthly support level from 56{94115f3f0ce78e17ae6fab5620d08dd86260dffed70bcd9a5a0ccd2442dba6d2} to 63{94115f3f0ce78e17ae6fab5620d08dd86260dffed70bcd9a5a0ccd2442dba6d2} since we wrote last month. Pray that God would continue to glorify Himself greatly as He shows everyone around us His goodness and power in His provision for us. Amen!

Please, pray on our behalf over this next month. Our final necessary training, Field Preparation (yes, final! Eeek!) is being held the last week of April. “Nate, do you have to be at a certain level in your support to attend?” Yes. Thanks for asking. We need to be at 85{94115f3f0ce78e17ae6fab5620d08dd86260dffed70bcd9a5a0ccd2442dba6d2} in order to be invited. That could be the difference of a dozen, or two dozen or just one supporter if God so chose to glorify Himself that way.

Above all, pray that He may keep us faithful in work, in service and ministry, in pursuing His calling on our lives.

Your Partners for the Gospel,

The Bells

PS Some perspective that challenged me from the diary of David Brainerd, missionary to India in the mid-1700s;

“I cared not where or how I lived, or what hardships I went through, so I could gain souls to Christ.”

“I care not where I go, or how I live, or what I endure so that I may save souls. When I sleep I dream of them; when I awake they are first in my thoughts.”

2018 and The Things Ahead

 

“Not that I have already attained this – that is, I have not already been perfected – but I strive to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus also laid hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this.oliver-thomas-klein-161835 Instead I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let those of us who are “perfect” embrace this point of view. If you think otherwise, God will reveal to you the error of your ways. Nevertheless, let us live up to the standard that we have already attained.” Philippians 3.12-16

Another year has come and this time brings on reflection of a year past. 2017 was a year we saw God act mightily in our lives (and many around us did too!) and were blessed to share his faithfulness with more and more. We were blessed to see the fruit of evangelism and discipleship personally, in our workplace, local church ministries, and our pre-field ministry as well. God blessed abundantly and answered prayer faithfully. We prayed for God to provide in such a way that no man could take credit for – and He did! We prayed that He would grow our relationship with Him – and He did! We prayed that we would not be discouraged, but rather we would allow us to be encouraged in this pre-field season – and He did! We prayed that He would keep us focused and faithful on the current and present ministries – and He did! Praise God for He provides and He is faithful!

And we do not want to forget 2017, but we are single-minded as Paul wrote in Philippians. We are focused on reaching out for what is ahead. We have set our minds on striving towards the calling He has laid on our lives. Our prayer from the beginning was that He might provide for us and allow to continue our ministry in South Africa in 2018. It is here. Please pray for God’s provision. He has met our goal for our Outfit and Passage requirement and our remaining need is for monthly support! We need a remaining 44{94115f3f0ce78e17ae6fab5620d08dd86260dffed70bcd9a5a0ccd2442dba6d2} of our committed monthly support to wrap up this journey and fly out. We have one remaining training to attend for ABWE International, hosted in April. Our dream is to attend our final training there and leave shortly afterward. Would you pray with us?

jan2018

You are our faithful prayer partner.

Please pray that God would work in the hearts of those He has chosen to partner with us financially.

“Now to him who by the power that is working within us is able to do far beyond all that we ask or think, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3.20-21

And on top of all that, what an encouraging and blessed season of ministry since our last update! We have been enjoyed serving and ministering with Dayspring Baptist Church in Alton, Temple Baptist Church in Portsmouth, Maranatha Baptist Church in Columbus, Grace Community Church at Bigelow in Portsmouth, our home church at Memorial Baptist in Columbus, Polaris Church in Columbus and Faith Baptist in Commercial Point. Our small group ministry, hosted in our home, is growing and challenging our faith. Lauren and I have cherished weekly meetings with two dear friends and members of our small group, engaged to be married, then were blessed to each be in the wedding party and I was privileged to officiate their promises before God and each other! I had prayed this year for a solid group of men to pray, share and work through the Bible with and he answered. Both Lauren and I now meet with a small group regularly for discipleship outside of our local church ministries. And God has amazingly provided a buyer for our home through unusual circumstances! We posted our home online on Saturday night, received a call for a showing on Sunday, opened the home Monday, and received a full price offer within 20 minutes from the first to call and see our home! We are in contract now and God is still so faithful! Overwhelming faithful.

 

 

Our Heart’s Desire and Prayer

Dearest Friends,

Our heart’s desire and prayer to God on behalf of all whom we will encounter in South Africa is for their salvation – though not just in South Africa, right here and right now as well! This occupies our thoughts and prayers constantly throughout the day. There is no doubt God is active all around us, each one of us, near and far! So many are hurting, desperate for answers and seeking solutions – but their eager search is not in line with the truth. They are lost, backwards, and way off-course. Deliberately or not, by ignoring God’s rescue plan, and attempting instead to heal their own brokenness by other means, they have not accepted God’s way out and continue in hopeless despair and emptiness. For Christ is the end of the just demands of God. He has met God’s conditions and requirements for holiness, perfection in faith and obedience.  And the result is salvation, forgiveness and new life forever before God, available to everyone who believes and trusts him! Moses wrote ages ago about those who would try to save themselves by their own means of doing good would soon discover they can never do enough, never be good enough and so never be perfect to meet God’s expectation. But trusting God to change us, to shape us to live right is a whole different story and doesn’t require us to work for something we could never achieve. But what does Moses say? “The word that saves is right here, as near as the tongue in your mouth, as close as the heart in your chest.” This is the word of faith that we share, because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and Master of your life and then believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved! For with the heart one believes and so has right standing before God and with the mouth one confesses and receives salvation. And the scripture reassures us, “No one who believes and trusts in him will ever regret it.” And it’s the same no matter what a person’s religious background may be for the same God is God of all, acting the same way, sharing the same grace, and abundantly pouring blessings out on all who call on him for help. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

How can they call for help if they don’t know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear about his rescue plan if nobody tells them? And how are they to tell them unless someone is sent and goes and shares with them? As it is written, “How welcomed is the arrival of those who bring good news.” But not all are ready to see and hear and act. Isaiah asked what we often wonder, “God, does anyone care? Do any believe?” Consequently, faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the shared word of Jesus Christ.

Much of this should sound familiar. This is adapted from Paul’s words in Romans 10, the words the Holy Spirit used to convict and call me into ministry. I enjoy internalizing Scripture by meditating over it and putting it into words I may use to share with someone who does not know Christ. This is a special text for the reasons listed above and how God continues to work it into my heart even today.

I pray we all share the same passion for the lost and hurting as Paul does here in this passage. I want to assume that is you. If you are reading this, you have partnered with us in prayer and perhaps financially as well. You have invested time to read our update and understand how you can pray better and wiser for our ministry. Thank you. As Lauren and I have shared before, we are most interested in presenting our ministry to God’s praying people – those who we know when they say, “We’ll be praying for you and your ministry,” will actually be praying for God’s ministry through us. As we’ve shared, please continue to pray for the following:

  1. May God be glorified and His name made great through how He provides. May no man take credit and all declare this was the hand of God preparing the way.

Praise God for his provision! Our Outfit and Passage requirement is over 70{94115f3f0ce78e17ae6fab5620d08dd86260dffed70bcd9a5a0ccd2442dba6d2} fulfilled. And our monthly need is now only around $3,000/monthly in total! He has us in awe over and over again!

  1. May God be glorified in the lives of those He has placed around us – both in evangelism and discipleship relationships. Please do not allow us to miss one soul you’ve placed in our lives for us to love as You have loved us.

God is answering our prayers and opening our eyes to the opportunities to share his love all around us. He has blessed us with a wonderful small group ministry, discipleship groups, several young couples to walk through life with and gospel conversations at work and among neighbors.

  1. May God be glorified by providing our remaining needs and ministry partners that we may proclaim His name in South Africa and train others to do the same!

Our next benchmark is 85{94115f3f0ce78e17ae6fab5620d08dd86260dffed70bcd9a5a0ccd2442dba6d2}. Lord willing, if He provides 85{94115f3f0ce78e17ae6fab5620d08dd86260dffed70bcd9a5a0ccd2442dba6d2} of our committed monthly support by November, we could attend our final training. Field Prep Seminar is offered the first week of November and is 10 days. God provides! If you or your church would like more information on our ministry, please reach out to us!

Visit www.reallygreatsite.com to k (1)

Nate and Lauren

nlbell@abwe.cc

Missionary Training?! What’s that about?

How was your vacation?

It really wasn’t much of a vacation. It was a weeklong training, actually. A requirement by my mission agency.

Training? What does missionary “training” look like?

These are great questions and we’re hearing a lot of them lately. Seems like good fuel for a bit of an update on our Essential Missions Components training and what God has been doing since then. Volumes have been written on church planting strategy and methods. At this time, I do not have much to add to that conversation, but I will present a bit of a synopsis on our training and what we’re learning in this area.

Our week began by laying down a basic philosophy of cross-cultural church multiplication. The key to this philosophy is developing contextually appropriate ministry forms in order to conduct biblical ministry functions most effectively. Three principles lay the foundation for this philosophy. “Ecosystem thinking” is the first principle. It means considering both the natural “God-made” dimensions (people, geography, vegetation and animals, climate, etc.) and the cultural “man-made” dimensions (customs, time orientations, economic systems and levels, political systems, education and literacy, arts, etc.) which ought to inform and affect church multiplication. The second principle is church forms and functions. When church-planting in a particular ecosystem, there are two questions which must be addressed. What does a church need to do? Meaning, What are the biblical purposes or functions of the church? And the second question; how does the church need to do it? In other words, what forms will the previously addressed functions take? If the function of the church is to meet and fellowship together, pray and study the Bible together, worship and serve together, go and make disciples and teach them; what do these functions look like? Who? What? Where? When? How? And lastly, the Three Lenses principle provides a system to evaluate church forms. First, the Scriptures contain the supra-cultural directives from God as to the purpose and function of the church. Next, lessons of history can help us determine what forms the functions of the church may take. We can learn from the Old and New Testament, church history and a given ecosystems history to avoid past failures and build on successes. Lastly, the third lens is context. What applications do these church functions have on this ecosystem at this particular time in history? In all these things, we must be reminded that functions dictate forms. Not the other way. And an ecosystem provides everything needed for a healthy church plant needs to grow. This means the Western church does not have all the solutions to all of the problems. The church is multi-cultural. It is supra-cultural. May we not forget the vision John was able to see and recorded in Revelation 7:

After these things I looked, and here was an enormous crowd that no one could count, made up of persons from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb dressed in long white robes, and with pal branches in their hands. They were shouting out in a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God, to the one seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (verses 9-10)

Since we attended EMC, God has been extremely active in our evangelism and discipleship relationship. We continue to pray that we would open our eyes to the needs in lives around us and that we wouldn’t miss them. Another discipleship group has formed around prayer and bible study and our small group ministry is preparing to kick off after the summer break. We will be focusing on how the gospel in us should impact our neighborhoods and communities. We have gained several new monthly supporters and booked several more churches for this fall! God is busy in each aspect of our lives and we praise him! Our request for prayer remain the same as He continues to bless and provide for us.

  1. May God be glorified and His name made great through how He provides. May no man take credit and all declare this was the hand of God preparing a way.
  2. May God be glorified in the lives of those He has placed around us – both in evangelism and discipleship relationships. Please do not allow us to miss one soul you’ve placed in our lives for us to love as You have loved us.
  3. May God be glorified by providing our remaining needs and ministry partners that we may proclaim His name in South Africa and train others to do the same!

53{94115f3f0ce78e17ae6fab5620d08dd86260dffed70bcd9a5a0ccd2442dba6d2}

Our next benchmark is 85{94115f3f0ce78e17ae6fab5620d08dd86260dffed70bcd9a5a0ccd2442dba6d2}. Lord willing, if He provides 85{94115f3f0ce78e17ae6fab5620d08dd86260dffed70bcd9a5a0ccd2442dba6d2} of our committed monthly support by November, we could attend our final training. Field Prep Seminar is offered the first week of November and is 10 days. Praise God that our Outfit and Passage requirement is nearly 70{94115f3f0ce78e17ae6fab5620d08dd86260dffed70bcd9a5a0ccd2442dba6d2} fulfilled. Our monthly need is now only around $3,000/monthly! God provides! If you or your church would like more information on our ministry, please reach out to us!

Nate and Lauren

nlbell@abwe.cc

The Harvest Is Now!

We’re on a journey. All of us. Everyone is going somewhere, looking forward to something.

Now, I wonder what I have missed all around me…

“I tell you, look up and see that the fields are already white for harvest!” John 4.35b

If you recall the context, the Samaritan woman at the well had just run back into town to tell everyone of the graceful Messiah she had just met. The disciples had returned from town with food and supplies, but were stunned to find their Rabbi talking with such a woman – and in public! Before the crowds arrive, intrigued by the woman’s encounter, Jesus takes a moment to gently remind his apostles of the mission.

Yes, they were on a journey to Galilee. Yes, they were traveling through a racially tense area. Yes, like Jesus, they were tired and thirsty. This is when Jesus reminds them that he is sustained and energized by doing the work of His father – namely, His mission to rescue and save the world. The whole world! That means the people of Samaria too! Right where they stood!

Or in other words, Jesus said; “I’m telling you to open your eyes and take a good look at what’s right in front of you. These Samaritan fields are ripe. It’s harvest time!” (The Message)

This summer marks 11 years since I surrendered my life to Christ in missions. 11 years. And I’m not as patient as I hope to be one day. This is not the journey I had in mind in high school – that over a decade later I might still be awaiting the full realization of a vision God put on my heart. But we praise God for how He has matured, developed and prepared us for our future ministry by being faithful here in this ministry right now! Sure, it took me years to realize what He was doing and why, but we couldn’t and wouldn’t trade the countless opportunities to minister and share His love everywhere we have been and are working and serving. Praise Him for allowing us to see and molding a heart within us to the need of the present around us. As we’ve shared with so many of you, please pray that we would continue to see with Christ’s eyes the opportunities to share love, hope, joy, peace and grace and boldness to speak and act in these moments He gives us for ministry right now!

This has been our prayer throughout our pre-field ministry, that we would not miss God’s work around us looking forward to ministry in South Africa. He has answered and blessed us abundantly! Both with fruit in ministry and in providing and continuing to build our ministry partners. With this we announce that God has worked in hearts and we are over our 50{94115f3f0ce78e17ae6fab5620d08dd86260dffed70bcd9a5a0ccd2442dba6d2} support level! That’s right! God provided over the $1,000 in committed monthly support we were requesting! We will be attending Essential Mission Components, a required training with our mission organization the last week of July in Harrisburg, PA! We are beyond excited, overwhelmed by God’s grace! He has also answered our prayer that throughout this experience, His name would be glorified! Amen!

Copy of Visit www.reallygreatsite.com to k

We are excited to now be over the hump and heading nearer to the goal of full support. Please let us know if God has put it on your heart and you would like to talk about becoming a financial partner as well. In addition, we value prayer above all. And we do it! If we can share life in ministry together, please let us know how we can pray for you and your ministry!

7 Days After Easter

“Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him.” John 3.14-17

Oh how we see the heart of God in this created universe! Father, Son, Spirit eternally existing in perfect union, perfect love, perfect relationship, perfect satisfaction and some 6,000 or 7,000 years ago, they create this world.

Why?

There is no need, nothing missing, no lack, no “hole” to fill. They literally exist in a perfect scenario. Yet, God speaks creation into existence anyway. And they create the most wonderful and awesome universe imaginable! And then He creates humankind in Their image to share it and care for it. He creates to share Himself; His perfect glory and majesty, His perfect creativity and power, His perfect love and grace with a creation designed to admire and adore Him through it.

All of this, while perfectly aware of the great cost and great pain this creation would bring Him. All of this, with the entry of sin into His most wonderful and awesome universe on His mind. All of this, with the decay, total wreckage and complete perversity of His intentions for life on His mind. All of this, with the understanding that He would be required to experience this destruction, volunteer to accept full punishment and consequential death in order to fix it…
All of this on His mind from the very beginning.

Who would do this? It makes so sense to create something you do not need and that you know will bring the greatest pain imaginable. So who would do this?

None, but a God so full of love that He doesn’t need us to love Him. He wants to love us. He wants to share His love with us that we might share it with others, and reciprocate the love we have received.

God, forgive me for not loving as you have loved me. Give me your heart to WANT to love others. To death. 


 

1We are praising the Lord for His goodness, grace, and mercy as He continues to provide! Within days of our request for 20 new monthly supporters for $50/month, God answered with the first 3 pieces! We are now continuing to pray for 17 more supporters by July! Please pray for God’s provision and for Him to work in the hearts of our future ministry partners for His glory! 

20×50

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.


IMG_0211

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 