…..this is long, long, long overdue…please forgive us.
As many of you know we had a sooner than expected departure from the YWAM base where we were on staff in Biarritz, France.
When we arrived home we had so many questions about what was next…. Were we finished with YWAM? Were we done with missions? Are we taking a break and looking for normal work here in the states or maybe another ministry role? Most of them were meant with the best intentions but having only been back less than 2 weeks, it was a bit overwhelming. We knew we were not done with missions, we have known for many years that God has specifically called us to live as full time missionaries. But we were in a very hard and weird transition.
France had been wonderful and the people at the base feel like brothers and sisters to us. The Lord used us and a small team to travel to various YWAM Refugee Circle locations to document the work that they are doing and to cast vision for future volunteers. We even had a small role in opening up a Surf and Coffee shop in the heart of the Basque country that has a steadfast mission to share the love and message of Christ with the myriad of surfers that pass through that region.
We cherish that year, but it was difficult. It was hard to leave what was normal to us. (you know….Target, Chick-fil-A, cheap gas etc.) Even harder to leave family and friends. When we left we were not funded fully enough to cover monthly expenses, but we knew and still know that God called us there. It was a hard year financially, we had a few people that had to stop support because they were facing a financial crisis of their own, and many months we just didn't have what we needed to meet basic living expenses. Debt grew and that stinks. BUT…. God did amazing things and provided in incredible ways in other areas. We saw that He was and is faithful and we want that to be heard above any hardship that we faced.
Back in Florida 2 weeks after arriving….. the world went crazy and shut down. Suddenly all of the questions aimed at us and our future stopped. Everyone was so concerned with the uncertainty of their future, that ours paled in comparison.
It went silent…….
…and you know what happens when things in our world go silent? God speaks.
And he did start to speak…. he started to speak new vision and life over the calling that he gave us years ago and he started to remind us and invigorate us for passions that he had given us in previous seasons as well. Hold on to your “proverbial hats” as we share what he was telling us…. the renewed vision that the Lord was giving us was ministry with ships. Not just any ship but a particular kind, large sailboats…in the 150’- 200’ range (this came from a very clear dream the Lord gave us a little over a year back.)
We love the ocean, we love everything about the salty life…. but we aren’t sailors, and Mimi is pretty certain that she gets seasick. (I mean, we do have a kid named Sailor Makai, which has to count for something.) But, you know…. that’s the beauty of the Lord giving direction and leading your steps…. he equips and he brings the right people on board (pun intended).
We started taking the steps of faith to explore what this would look like…. very quickly God started opening up doors. He gave us names of specific people to ask about joining us in this ship venture. He miraculously reinstated our 501(c) 3 that we had started in 2015, named Harbor 58 (something that we would need for this new ministry). He provided a new CFO for Harbor 58 as well as a Captain who is more than qualified to help sail the ship where needed. Finally he opened the door for us to be invited by the Director of YWAM Ships based in Kona to start the newest ships ministry with YWAM operating out of the Oceania region of the world. This blew us away… it was unexpected, but was a crazy blessing!
We want to invite you to visit harbor58.org to get a better scope of what all of this will look like but here it is in a nutshell:
Within the first 1-3 years:
Build partnership team, raise funds to buy a ship, buy ship, outfit ship to sleep 40-50 people to include families, also outfit the ship with a doctors office/small operating room, make space to facilitate Discipleship Training Schools and other volunteers, train with crew for a few months in the states, move ship to Kona to work alongside of YWAM Ships for a short season, finally move ship into Oceania region to reach and serve some of the most isolated people groups with the message of Christ!
Why a ship, why a new ministry with YWAM and why that part of the world?
Oceania is comprised of thousand and thousands of populated islands that can literally only be accessed by ship. The people that call those islands home have little to no access to anything outside of their island. (this would include access to the Gospel, medical and dental care and resources for community development)
With so many islands in that part of the world, there is a need for new vessels to go out. We are excited to link arms with YWAM Ships to help expand the work they have been doing since the 70s, while also adding things that make it conducive for families to serve aboard longterm.
…obviously there is so much more involved in this, but that’s the shortened newsletter update version. Visit the Harbor 58 site and email us with more specific questions. We will be sending out more regular newsletters and the Harbor 58 site will constantly be updated in the next few months as well.
The next part is where you can take action!!
Through this process we realized that we need to build a stronger and more broad partnership team. We have some amazing people that support us regularly through their finances and through prayer…. they mean more to us than we could begin to share here. But they can’t do it alone, they need the help of other committed brothers and sisters to partner with them in supporting the call that the Lord has directed us in.
Towards the end of June we have felt the need to go on a vision casting/partnership building US road trip
a.) To spend time with close friends and family
b.) To share the vision that the Lord has given
c.) Build a partnership team for Harbor 58 and the purchase of a ship
d.) Strengthen our own partnership team
This trip is completely open ended and up to where the Lord leads and where we are invited. Right now our first stops will be in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and then later on in Colorado.
But we want to see you and want to ask you to help share this vision and ministry!
We have friends scattered all over the US, from Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas,Tennessee, Kentucky, Maryland, Maine, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, South Dakota, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, Wyoming, Montana and California.
Did you see your state in there? If you did, then we were probably talking about you! (and for any friends that we missed we’re sorry…we need to update our address book.)
Thats a big list, right?! Together we can do this, together through Christ and as his body we can make the impossible, possible.
I have found that there are three stages in every great work of God; first, it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done. - Hudson Taylor (mic drop)
Would you be willing to host our family of five to share this vision with you? Your small group, close group of friends, neighbors and your church?
We realize that a family of five is large (and can be a bit crazy at times)…. and with the current climate the way it is, we plan to do a good bit of camping/boondocking on this road trip. We completely understand if hosting us in your home isn't a reality but we would love for you to pray about hosting one of these gatherings with us to share this God-size vision with your network of friends. (If you want to host, but are unsure of how to go about doing that logistically please reach out to us and we can help you with some ideas that might be beneficial.)
If you made it to the end of this long update, thanks for hanging in there with us.
We appreciate your prayers as we navigate the future together!
Everything for His name!
- The Bell Family
PS- to our current and future partners. Our primary giving method will change soon. We are waiting on some details to be finalized on a new giving platform... so nothing needs to be done just yet. But in the next month or so we will be moving finances over to the Harbor 58 ministry to consolidate donations and provided a space for other missionaries who work with Harbor 58 to receive tax deductible donations as well. We will keep you posted and make sure everything is as clear and easy to modify when the time comes. Until then you can continue to follow this link. Partnership
Here are a few fun pics of the past couple of months, if we are not friends on Facebook be sure to connect with us as we tend to post some more pics of family there!