As promised, here is our newest update from our arrival here in Biarritz. We are getting this out later than we had hoped with jet lag, trying to get our bearings and spotty internet connections making for a difficult go at an update.
We hope you enjoy the video!
This particular video is password protected (not all will be in the future) so please don’t post or share without permission. If you are not on our mailing list and would like to see this video please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
*(just an FYI for people flying to Europe on a budget, which was us….more often than not its the same price or cheaper to just fly straight to your destination. We found really cheap flights to London and then figured we would take the train on in to Biarritz from there…because that's what you do in Europe right? The trains routed us through Paris and we had the joy of experiencing London, Paris and the train rides with our boys. However, after 5 days of travel, we were totally wiped out and spent as much as we would have flying straight in to Biarritz.
We made some really fun memories along the way and I suppose thats the most important thing!)
Caleb, Mimi and the 3 garçons
You know when you read a verse in the Bible and you sit there after feeling angry or confused by what you just digested? That is how I used to feel about this verse in Matthew.
“And everyone who has left houses, or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.” Matthew 19:29
Why would God ask us to leave our families; the very ones he has given us to love, look after, spend time with, share life with? I honestly thought “there must be something messed up in translation…surely God would not ask someone to do such a thing.”
As we are preparing to leave for France in a few short weeks, it finally dawned on me (and maybe this seems too simple or like a “duh” moment) that WE are walking through this very thing right now and, although there is grief in the process, God is giving us grace and hope for what He has ahead.
We have left our house. It was a rental, yes, but we loved it. We had it set up cozy and had made many memories there. Our neighbors had become our family and our boys had a large yard for running around and playing wild.
We are leaving brothers and sisters back home… and all of the little cousins that our kids so adore. It is painful to think about the visits being further apart and their relationships being more distant than we had hoped. We are leaving the friends who have become our brothers and sisters, and their children, who our boys have grown up with and grown close to as well.
We are leaving fathers and mothers… All in varying situations of life, some with stressors and unsure steps ahead, some grieving loss and simultaneously discovering new gifts and recreations. Our parents have made such impacts on our lives from the time we first laid eyes on them and we are watching them continue to seek the Lord and trust Him in all of their different paths. (Need I mention that this means we are also leaving our boys’ beloved grandparents? Insert collective ugly-cry.)
We are leaving our land; the country and culture we were born into and that we know so well. We will be learning a new culture, a new language, a new way of life. Our children will have a heritage of growing up cross-culturally and will know more about the world than we did; we are praying that God would continue to help them in this transition, in language acquisition, in making new friends, in leaving all that they know behind.
But the verse continues… and it ends hopeful. “…(whoever is leaving these) for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.”
We are doing all of this for the sake of His name; to see His name proclaimed throughout the earth and to tell others who have never heard of Him. (Amazing that there are still so many who are considered “unreached” and have not heard the sweet and powerful name of Jesus.)
And we have the promise of multiplication and eternal life. I don’t know that “receiving a hundredfold” means we will have all new family; new brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, although God continues to add to our family through His family. But, I do believe that our relationships, though far, will be stronger, our lives (when continually submitted to Him) will be more fruitful, and things that normally stay the same will shift and grow when we are walking in obedience to Him. We’ve seen this happen in our family when we are away and love watching God work even bigger things than we could imagine or produce ourselves. And eternal life! This is the filter and mindset we want to have all the time… it’s not about the here and now, it’s about the lasting and eternal. This life is fleeting (full of joys, grief, celebrations, hardships, stress and delights) and it is short. We want to make it count and follow closely to the Lord’s leading in ALL things, trusting that even when it is hard, “all the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.” (Psalm 25:10)
Thank you for your friendship, prayers and support!
- The Bells
Also, we had some friends and family request that we stay on social media because it is easier for them to stay connected with us via that platform as we transition overseas….sooo, you will still be able to find us on Facebook moving forward at CalebAmelia Bell and can Like, share, tag, Message, #, tweet, snapchat, Link, Youtube, Pin, Insta, Tumblr, Flickr, WhatApp, Vine, Periscope, etc. etc. etc.
It’s been many years since the Lord placed in us the desire to serve him overseas. At times it was frustrating because we didn’t know where or in what capacity he was calling us to serve.
We both attended Christian Universities and were surrounded by other students who seemed to have it figured out….it looked like they knew exactly where God was calling them. They had a particular people group, nation or ministry burning on their heart, and that's where they would be when they finished their studies.
As it turned out, some of those students went into those callings…and some didn’t. In the moment it felt frustrating but looking back we see the graciousness and goodness of a loving Father who was directing each step we took and not giving us a picture that was too big for us to grasp at the time.
Hebrews 11: 8-10 “By an act of faith, Abraham said yes to God’s call to travel to an unknown place that would become his home. When he left he had no idea where he was going. By an act of faith he lived in the country promised him, lived as a stranger camping in tents. Isaac and Jacob did the same, living under the same promise. Abraham did it by keeping his eye on an unseen city with real, eternal foundations—the City designed and built by God.” (MSG)
Through those verses God reminded us that our job is to be obedient to where the Lord calls, when he calls. Abraham was promised a country, a land and a nation. In one instance we see him try to build the nation under is own effort or understanding…. a mistake that had lasting consequences. However, moving forward we see him focus his gaze on the perfect Creator trusting that He could fulfill those things in ways that he never could.
We could have stepped into missions years ago… it was tempting. On a few occasions we tried and hit roadblocks every single time. It was when we stepped back and released the promise from God back to him (John 12:24), that we started to finally see those dreams come to fruition.
If we are building our own dreams, our own realities and our own safety nets we don’t need to lean on Christ….we are standing on the piddly pile of sticks that we created. We miss out on so much good when we operate in our own strength. Loren Cunningham, the founder of YWAM, often says that he wants to lean so hard into Jesus that when Jesus moves, he falls over. We want our lives to be aligned like that.
In not knowing the exact location, the exact people group or the exact ministry that the Lord was calling us to as a family, it has forced us to depend on God for every step forward that we take…and He has directed our path in such a magnificent way. He has led us to people and places that we would have never dreamed or imagined. It’s encouraging, life-giving, and humbling to know how the Lord cares about the smallest details and we see that it gives Him joy to give us joy.
So why France? France came about because we said yes a long time ago when God said to take a step. Then he said to take another and we said yes... then another and another until the steps led to where we are now. It doesn’t stop there; as any good “Fitbitter” will tell you, our life is made up of millions of steps…millions of opportunities to say yes, to operate in faith, relinquishing control and leaning in to God.
We don’t exactly know the full scope of why God led us to partner with him through YWAM France…. but we know he did and and we are excited to be on this journey with him. We don’t know what the next 2 years will look like and as scary as that reality is at times, we trust God because we know HE IS A GOOD FATHER….and like Dan Baumann likes to say, “God is more faithful to us than we could ever be to him.”
Not only are we thrilled to be on this journey with the Lord, but we are so excited that many of you are on that same journey with us! We are excited for you to be walking and sharing this road with us as the story unfolds. If you would like to learn more about YWAM Biarritz and the ministries they have going on, follow this link: www.ywambiarritz.com
On May 1st we will be jumping on a plane headed for Europe and as we continue to walk forward, we wanted to ask you to pray about a few things with us.
1. Grace for our family as we learn what it means to be immersed in an unfamiliar culture longterm.
2. Fast language acquisition. We will be enrolled in 4 months of language school upon arrival and we really want to have a good grasp on the language as quickly as possible. We are doing our best presently to learn French by checking out kids CD/ DVDs from the library and working our way through the Duolingo App. It is so much fun to hear the boys say words in French and it easy to see how much more quickly they are picking it up than us!
3. Sending budget: For the initial push and move to France for our family of 5, the remainder of what we need financially is $13,500. This cost covers flights, trains, vehicle/small amount of household goods shipping (we discovered it was significantly cheaper to ship our vehicle there packed with personal items than to ship those items separately and secure a vehicle once we arrived), apartment in France, mandatory longterm stay appointments by the French government, and language school.
4. Monthly Partners: Currently we are sitting at about 47% of what we need monthly to live and serve in Biarritz. We roughly need $1850.00 more in monthly commitments. Unfortunately there will be some loss in conversion from the USD to EUR, but we tried to account for that in the amount needed. If you are thinking about partnering with us and would like to see a breakdown of our monthly budget, please email us…we would be happy to share that with you.
We can’t thank you enough for your continued love, encouragement and support… it means so much to us. We have a little less than 6 weeks left in town and would love to get together with as many of you as possible before we head out. Most of our weekends have filled up but if you have any weekdays free we would enjoy some face to face time before we head off. Send us an email, or text us if you have any free time and would like to hang out!
Also, if you want to check it out, we have created a separate Photography page on our website to share some of our favorite adventures!
Because He is worthy!
The Bell Family
Caleb, Mimi, Banyan, Sebastian & Sailor
Dear Ministry Team Family,
Thank you so much for your prayers and support for us over these past 5 months, you have been such a crucial part in the life of our family as we stepped into the call to partner in the work God’s doing overseas!
We are writing this update somewhere over the Pacific on our way back to Florida having just completed our DTS with YWAM Kona. There is so much that has happened over the past month and a half and we are really eager to share that with you.
We have had many of you ask what a DTS is with YWAM or what an Outreach looks like… and we know that we will get those same questions asked many more times while we are back in Florida. We welcome those questions and hope that we can appropriately illustrate what encompasses a DTS. One very important principle we learned and want to remember is that a DTS, as with "the Christian life is an invitation to discover that God is really, really good, over and over again!"
In this newsletter we will focus on what the past 8 weeks of Outreach has looked like and if you are interested in learning more about the rest of what our DTS (lecture phase) looked like, please see the earlier blog posts leading up to and during our time in Kona in the fall of 2018. (Or, if you are in Florida we would love to share those details with you in person!)
In mid-December we boarded a plane bound for Baja, Mexico to serve on the YWAM central Baja base for the following 8 weeks. Did you know Mexico was cold? Neither did we! However, it was a welcome change to the heat in the Pacific and a treat to sip on a hot cup of coffee while wearing a sweater.
Our team of 5 families was the first ever YWAM DTS
team to serve on that base and it was a privilege to pioneer that endeavor.
As with any situation where you take 5 individual families from different nations and have them live and serve in constant proximity with one another in a foreign context… there are bound to be some moments of friction. However, this provides an excellent opportunity for the Lord to strengthen our love and grace for one another while showing that he can still use broken and messed up people like us.
Sebastian summed it up the best during his week of having chicken pox towards the end of our time in Mexico when he said… “this country is hard”. It was hard, but it was also joyful, beautiful, engaging, stretching, fun, compassionate, life giving and life altering. We can look back on our time in the Baja with affection and see how the Lord orchestrated relationships, ministry opportunities and deepened our faith and joy in Him!
So what did we do while we were there?
Well, we ate a lot of tacos and sprinkled a little ministry time in there as well. Just kidding… we did eat a lot of tacos but there was much more than a sprinkle of ministry.
We will give you a basic rundown of what a typical week looked like for us:
Each day we would gather as a team for worship and prayer. We would take those mornings to intercede for each other, the community of Vicente Guerrero (where we were living and serving) as well as for our other DTS families that were ministering in the Philippines and Uganda. From there we would head off into the community as a team…sometimes to the same location and sometimes splitting up.
Mondays -Triki Community evangelism and prayer
Tuesdays - Dorothy’s House (A recovery home for women and their children who have been imprisoned or in abusive relationships.) As a team, we served in many different capacities here; work projects, discipleship classes, childrens’ ministry, etc.
Wednesdays - Triki Community evangelism and prayer
Thursdays - Dorothy’s House
Fridays - Surf Ministry/ Womens prayer meeting and food distribution/evangelism at the town trash dump (there were many people who resided in the dump)
Sunday - Visit an area church and serve by running the worship, sharing testimonies, preaching and prayer with the congregation
It’s hard to put words to all that the Lord accomplished and did, not just in the community where we served, but in our own hearts as well. We wish we could pluck you out of your day to day to experience it first hand. Your prayers through that season were appreciated and felt!
Our last week of Outreach was spent on the YWAM base in Chico, California. We spent the week working with survivors of the California “Campfire” wildfire. It was a surreal experience driving through the city of Paradise that had been completely decimated by the fire. There are so many people who have been displaced and are now living in RVs, cars or on the street. Our time was spent praying with them, sitting and listening to their stories as well as providing practical help in the form of clothing, food and other necessary items for daily life.
At the end of that week we said goodbye to our wonderful leaders, Patrick and Courtney Danielsen (along with their 3 amazing kiddos) ; they will be living in Mexico longterm and did not return to Kona with us for the final week of debrief.
Debrief in Kona
This was a special week to connect with the other families in our DTS who have been scattered around the globe. It was a time to decompress, hear stories of victories and even what looked or felt like failures. It was a week to encourage and pray for one another, reintegrate into “normal” life after 2 months in a foreign context and a time to celebrate what the future holds for these dear families. We will miss them, but we are excited to see how our paths will cross in the years ahead.
As promised we will reveal where the Lord is calling us next.....................................drum roll please...................................................................................................................Biarritz, France!
Where is that? We'll let you Google it.
Years ago the Lord connected us with one of the leaders at the YWAM Biarritz base because of work they were doing within the refugee population and our desire to bring a team to do the same. That connection and a prompting from the Lord led us to explore the opportunity of serving with this YWAM community longterm.
There are still many details to be ironed out which we hope to share with you in the next month or so. (What exactly will we be doing as staff on the YWAM Biarritz base? What will daily life/ministry life look like? etc.) We can tell you that we will be there for at least the next two years and we would welcome visitors. We would also welcome your prayers for us and the boys as we transition into this new longterm reality. Not only will it be a big undertaking physically and financially, but also emotionally as we learn to live in a culture and speak a language that is not native to our own.
Check out the YWAM Biarritz community here: www.ywambiarritz.com
We will be back in Florida from Feb 17th - May 1st. We have a pretty open schedule at this point and would be thrilled to hang out with as many of our Florida friends and family as possible.
Feb 23rd - Caleb will be at The Send in Orlando. Everyone should go…its free and will be awesome. Check it out here: www.thesend.org
March 17th - We will have a missionary Window at Oasis Church in Bradenton to share more about what we have done and what we will be doing.
April 25th - Caleb will be officiating a wedding for our dear friend Andre Willard .
May 1st (ish)- Move to France
We love you guys and appreciate your prayers, support and partnership in ministry!
- Caleb, Mimi, Banyan, Sebastian and Sailor
Oh and P.S. - During our lecture phase last fall, one of our teachers spoke about a really neat principal that struck a chord with many of the students in our class. One of the students is a filmmaker and put this video together to illustrate that principal…. it’s cool, give it a look!
Today sees us back in the United States after 6 weeks serving in the Central Baja of Mexico with YWAM.
Tomorrow we will be headed up to Chico, California to serve on the YWAM Chico base and assist with relief efforts in Paradise, California (one of the worst hit areas of the Campfire Wildfire).
On the 9th of February we will be back in Kona, Hawaii for DTS debrief and graduation followed by our return to FL on the 17th for 8 weeks. When we get to Kona we will send out a more detailed update which will include our next (and longterm, 2+ years) location with YWAM in Europe this May.
In the meantime we wanted to share some audio recordings from our lecture time with Dan Baumann. Dan radically amplified our view of Jesus and who we are in Him. His passion and simple devotion is infectious and beautiful!
He has an incredible story which includes 9 weeks in an Iranian prison. If you like the recordings, be sure to check out some of his books here: http://www.danbaumann.com/books/
Thank you for your prayers and continued support, you are invaluable partners with us in the ministries that the Lord has called us to.
The Bell Family
Hola friends and family!
This will be a short update wishing you all the best this Christmas season and that you have a great New Year.
Currently we are serving with YWAM Central Baja in Vicente Guerrero, Mexico. The WiFi is almost non -existent so we will be offline for the most part while we are here.
(We get some data that is spotty, so we will post some photos on Facebook when possible.)
Please be praying for three primary ministries that we are working with in partnership with the base here.
We will be located here in Mexico until the 30th of January. At that point we will head to Chico, California to serve in the surrounding communities that were recently devastated by the “Campfire” wildfire in that region. February 9th will see us back in Kona for 1 week for DTS debrief and graduation, then on to Florida on Feb 17th.
We will be in Florida for what looks to be 6-8 weeks at this point….. I know we promised a big reveal on where we will be going in this post, but we can’t share the specifics just yet… however we can tell you that we will be headed to Europe longterm.
We want to thank you for your continued prayers and support, you have no idea the comfort it brings to us knowing that you are thinking and praying for us as part of our ministry team!
Some specific prayer points:
We are looking forward to seeing you all in February for our time back in the States!
Caleb, Mimi & the boys
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the Word, to declare the mystery of Christ… Colossians 4:2-3
"To Know God and Make Him Known"
What is this season all about? I’ve asked myself this question a number of times since arriving here in Kona. We came into this “Training Time” thinking that we would be going deeper into what it means to do missions as a family… and although there have been moments of this in our lecture time, it’s mostly been about going deeper in knowing God and figuring out who we are in this journey…the “making Him known” (intentionally) part will come soon.
Throughout the 9 weeks that we have been here, we have covered topics such as; The Father Heart of God, The Cross, The Blood, Fear of the Lord, Inner Healing, Hearing God’s Voice, Marriage and Parenting, Identity, and we have heard from “YWAMers” and ministry leaders from around the world. Each week, we have been challenged to dig deeper and open up our hearts to allow God to do His work. It has not been without challenge; the schedule can be exhausting, our kids have been sick off and on more than they ever have before (as have we), and the heat inside our non air-conditioned apartment can be oppressive. (First world problem, I know.) This training time has been different than we expected, but, in the end, we KNOW that God has had great purpose in bringing us here. We have felt this season to be a real refining time… it has been an uncomfortable process but one in which we have been able to “count the cost” and continually find Him worthy.
During the week, when we are not in class, we are involved in times of Corporate and Family DTS Intercession, Family Worship, Community Outreach, Small Groups, Ministry Nights on Campus, and One-on-One times (with an individual on staff.) Our small group consists of all of the families that will be going on outreach with us to Mexico. That time has been really sweet as we get to know these families and prepare together for our time there. We are really excited to step out and practice the things we have been preparing for, specifically as it relates to loving people and asking God for practical ways in which we can be a blessing to them.
We leave for Mexico in less than two weeks, December 15th marks the end of our lecture phase and on to outreach.
We will be located in the Baja California region of Mexico in a town about 2 hours south of Ensenada called Vicente Guerrero. Located on the Pacific coast, it’s a smaller fishing/farming community. We will be serving in a few different capacities in orphanages, and homes for young mothers, but our primary goal will be relational time within the community. One exciting opportunity that has arisen is to help pioneer a surf school for the local kids. If you know anything about our past ministry with YFC and the 180 House, you know that this is near and dear to our hearts. Practically we will be able to teach valuable skills in the water with a pastime that has brought us so much joy…. and spiritually we will be able to share the Hope of the Universe that is within us. We are excited to see the relationships that are forged and the lives that will eternally be changed in Christ.
Please being be praying for our team of 29 individuals (19 of which are kids!) and the people that the Lord leads us to over the coming weeks. We will be purchasing surfboards and wetsuits once we arrive in Mexico, all of which will be left with the local YWAM base when we leave for continued ministry. If you would like to sow into this aspect of what we will be doing, that would be immeasurably helpful! (you can do that on the connect/donate page)
We know that we can get a good beginner board for about $120 and the wetsuits, from what we have heard, are less.
At the end of January 2019 we will be flying up to Chico, California to work at the YWAM Chico base for 1 week. During that time we will have the opportunity to serve in the town of Paradise which has all but been destroyed in the recent fire that swept through the area. When we were told that we would be going to Chico, the fire had not yet happened and the ministry that we would be doing looked somewhat different. We are so sad for everyone that lost their homes, friends and family and we feel so honored that we have an opportunity to serve them in some capacity while sharing the restorative love of Jesus. We don’t exactly know what to expect for that time but would appreciate your prayers as the Lord leads in that area.
Mid-February we will be in Kona, Hawai'i for our debrief and graduation and then back to Florida on the 17th. Currently it looks like we will be in the states for about 4-6 weeks as we prep for our longterm assignment to Europe. (more on that in a later update:)
From the bottom of our hearts we want to express our deepest gratitude for your friendship, partnership and prayers. You are part of what the Lord is doing through our family, it’s not just the Bell family on mission….it is all of you… the body of Christ working in beautiful harmony, to know God and to make Him known in all the world!
Caleb, Mimi, Banyan, Sebastian and Sailor
We are now just 88 days away from embarking on our journey to YWAM. Please take a minute to watch the video below and share it with your friends & family.... seriously, we would be so grateful if you passed this video down the line!
The Bell Family