November 26, 2014


The message at church on Sunday November 16 confirmed once again that I was doing His will.

Basically, the thing that stood out to me is OUTREACH.  I really felt this word being repeated over and over again in different ways.  God was telling me to reach out.

The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.  Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest (Luke 10:2)

November 25, 2014

How this Africa thing came to be...

If you didn't read yesterdays post, I would suggest starting there.

The next morning, after a little crying and a lot of praying I was folding some laundry that was on my bedroom floor.  There was a t-shirt.  A well loved t-shirt.  A very old t-shirt.  I picked it up and looked at it, it says on it "Love God / Love People".  I smiled.  I felt like that was a little message from the Big Guy saying this IS what I have planned for you.

Matt and I discussed it a big more.  He's still not fully on bored, I think the dollar amount intimidates him quite honestly, but I fully believe that God will provide.  And I have NOT been disappointed.

Did I mention that Amy is going too?  (That was a huge influence in my decision... Thanks God for providing that little piece)  Oh, and sleeping arrangements?  It's not huts with pit toilets folks.  It's a dorm.  With the best showers on campus.  Even though I don't deserve it, God is providing some of the comforts that I feel like I need (but know in reality it's all a want, not a need).

So, here's a few details that I have (and I only have a few):

We will be traveling with a group of approximately 12 people mostly from Community Reformed Church, to Lesotho Africa, it will take about 2 days of travel, we will spend approximately 6 days there and then 2 more days of travel to return.  While in Lesotho we will be serving at Beautiful Gate Orphanage.  I need to raise approximately $2,300 in order to go on this trip.

I am confident that the Lord will provide!

I will be sharing updates here on this blog and a few other God things that have confirmed that this trip is where he wants me!  Be sure to check back.

And, if you feel like contributing please see the sidebar for different ways you can help!

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 24, 2014

So, about this Africa thing

Some of you may remember about 6 years ago when I was planning to go to Africa.  We were going to go to Ghana with IN Network.  That didn't work out unfortunately, thankfully I was blessed with a very lovely gift instead.  So, while I was disappointed, it all worked out well!

Then in November of 2013 Christina Terpstra came to Community's MLIFE program to talk to us about Beautiful Gate.  My heart just broke.  The stories she has are heart breaking and amazing all at the same time.  Just look at those faces, I dare you!

I knew that I had to go.  It was very clear to me.

And then time went on and my brain started processing all of those scary things, like weird bugs, lions, pit toilets, eating pig intestines (or worse) and I talked myself out of it.  In fact, I remember one evening one of the people organizing the trip through our church said "I heard you were in for Africa?" and I told him "I don't think so, to much crazy stuff for me, way out of my comfort zone".

Ha.  God had that covered too.

Fast forward to November 9.  There was going to be a mission trip meeting at church, right after the service.  I had brushed it off, wasn't going to go, to outside my comfort zone, etc.  Then, Amy (one of my dear friends) asked if I was going, she wanted to go to the meeting too.  So I went.  Just to get information.

We started talking cost and again, I was out.  Holy buckets of cash batman!  Not to mention time on an airplane, time away from the comforts of my home (notice that comfort word coming up again and again?) and my kids and husband.

And then Christina walked in and started talking again.  I felt my heart softening.

She stated that this would be a relational mission trip.  Going and loving kids, helping with day to day routines.  No building houses, no digging wells etc.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not against physical labor, but hey, this sounds way more like me!

She told us that this would not be like going to the African Savannah and seeing Lions, this would be more like going to Colorado (hey, I can do that, we just did that this summer).  Heart softening even more!

Then I asked one of the most important questions of all... "What will we eat and how many granola bars do I need to pack"?  Ready for this... We eat food just like we eat here!  There is one traditional meal served, but hey, granola bars, right!  My heart was melted into a big puddle and I was IN!

Convincing Matt wasn't as easy.  Matt is drawn more toward U.S. needs, as in "There are plenty of needs here in the US, why do you have to travel to Africa?" and "It's so expensive, we could buy Bailey a car with the money it will cost".

I went to bed very discouraged that night.  I prayed hard.  God, please change his heart.  I know this is where you want me to go, but I need him to be on board too.  But God, if he's so against it, is this really where you want me?  Am I missing something?  Am I acting to quickly?

To be continued...

October 16, 2014

I Surrender All

I know, it's been a year and a half since I've posted, I could try to catch you all up on life here at the Bell's, but then that would take forever, and I would have to do it all over again in another year and a half when I post again!  :)  So, long story short, life hasn't changed much except that we've all gotten older.  Lila is in Kindergarten, Elliot in 2nd, Bailey in 8th and Landon in 11th.  That last one stresses me out a little lot.  That means college is not far off.  Eeek!

Anyway, why post to a blog after one and a half years?  I don't know.  I really don't.  Honestly, I was cleaning my desk area (which is currently sprawled over the entire front living room of our house) and I though I should post.

Yesterday was a ROUGH day for me, to put it mildly.  And, without giving out to many details I will say that my character, ethics, love of my family (extended), and my faith were all questioned over something that (didn't) happen years ago.

When a person tears you apart like that, even when you know better, it hurts.  A lot.

And then it makes you cry.

Even though you haven't really cried in years.

Ugly cry.

Cry so hard your abs hurt the next day.

Yeah, so that might have been me.  Not proud of all of that, yet not really ashamed either.

And then my mind replayed the whole thing over and over and over.  And I was trying to figure out why.  And then I put some of it together.  Stay with me here, there are a lot of pieces that go together on this one.

All of the questions surround the death of a special person in my life.  This person passed away quite a while ago.

I believe that when I die, I will go to heaven, I also believe that the people close to me that have currently passed have been believers in Jesus and will also be in heaven waiting with open arms.  I have hope that I will indeed see them again.  They didn't just die and go into the ground, the end.  I realized that this belief makes death a little easier for me.  I definitely don't like when someone dies, I cry and mourn, but I am a little happy for them, seriously, they are in HEAVEN.  I can't even imagine how amazing that is.  Earthly life is a little (or a lot) harder without them, but each day is a day closer to being reunited for eternity.  SERIOUSLY!!!!  :-)

I realized during circumstances yesterday that this other person is not a believer.  So for this person, life just ends.  They bury their loved ones in the ground and that's it.  Then they go back to their life.  How sad.  (Please understand that I'm not condemning anyone that doesn't believe, of course I want EVERYONE to believe in Jesus and go to heaven for eternity, but I don't like you any less if you don't).

Not having that hope of eternity is part of what caused the issues I experienced yesterday.  Material things are all that matter to this person.  Because that is all they have left of a deceased person.  That is all they have to hold on to.

Do I have things that make me remember those I love?  Sure thing.

If my house burned down and I lost all of those things would I be sad?  Sure thing.

Would my life go on without bitterness and anger?  Sure thing.

I REALLY let this person get to me yesterday, like I said, UGLY cry, but I slept good last night.  Really good.  And I woke up this morning singing (sorry if that thought makes you cry)!  Singing "I surrender all".  I haven't heard this song in a long time.  Pretty sure someone special (Jesus) placed that song in my head, just when I needed it!  The words of the songs are EXACTLY what I needed:

Just a few of the lines (I didn't know the whole song until I looked it up) that directly correspond to yesterdays events:
I will ever love and trust Him, In His presence daily live
Worldly pleasures all forsaken
Fill me with thy love and power

So, all those pieces I talked about in the beginning, I'm realizing as I type that I can't even put it all into words, so that is all you get!

Thanks to all of my friends and family that listened to me cry yesterday and encouraged me.  Thanks for the advice and verses that lifted me up throughout the day!  Thanks to God for the encouragement just when He knew I needed it, whether it be through song or friends or any other number of ways!  Thanks for letting me be real!

I can't be upset over things which I have no control, and so I'm letting this go!

And, just to update quickly, in case you made it to the end, here is a picture of my crew!

And, no, my son does not chew tobacco, he does however chew gum and I instructed him to make sure I didn't see it while I was taking pictures.  Clearly he thought hiding it in his lip was sufficient!  And, the girl on the left, yes, despite looking completely different from the others, she does indeed belong to us.