This past September was one that will for sure go down in the record books. Massive hurricanes, widespread tornadoes, earthquakes, Bali volcanoes, political unrest, military offensives and a growing number of worldwide refugees…. it’s overwhelming and frightening at times. But there is one thing that has given us strength and hope through all of this.
Each month our boys work on a memory verse at church and for the month of September their verse happened to be from Deuteronomy 31:6. This verse takes place when the Israelites were preparing to finally cross over the Jordan to the promised land. Moses is stepping back and Joshua is being commissioned to take the lead. There is a great deal of change and uncertainty that is taking place. They have been waiting/preparing to enter this land for so long and the time has finally come…you can just imagine the nerves from the years of built up anticipation!
Moses encourages them in this moment in verse 6, and says “ Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave or forsake you.”
I love that this verse was our anthem of sorts for this past month…reminding us that no matter the circumstance or situation, the Lord will always be with us and because of this we can be strong and courageous. This doesn’t mean that everything will always work out the way we hope or envision…. sad, difficult and overwhelming things will happen, but Jesus will be there to give us the strength we need.
We live in an older, wood frame home and seeing a category 5 hurricane heading our way was unsettling. We landed on the decision to drive north to spend time with family in Chicago. It was weird packing things up, driving away and not knowing if we would be homeless in a few days….. this feeling was shared by many people and social media was abuzz with anxiety, fear and doubt (with the occasional “Lt. Dan” machismo-ism of being a Floridian sprinkled in there as well).
Driving north we started talking about all of the millions and millions of refugees around the globe. Many of those families were displaced because they were running for their lives, not from of a giant storm, but because another group of people wanted to kill them.
The storm that we were running from (in many cases) actually brought out the best in people. Neighbors and strangers alike came together to care for the people who were evacuating. Globally, many refugees don’t experience this warm greeting but rather, are met with resentment and closed doors. I can’t imagine the feeling of losing everything because someone wants you, your wife and your children dead only to be met with anger and resentment on the other side…… what a terribly isolated and lonely position to be in.
In light of the slight discomfort we experienced we had a massive burden to share some amazing ministry partners with you … we have dear friends around the world who do incredible work with refugees and displaced people groups. They are in constant need for more resources and volunteers to continue doing what they do. We want to encourage you to take some time to visit the links below and connect on some level.
Frontier Alliance International (FAI) - “Is a company of people committed to exalt the worth of Jesus Christ among the unreached and unengaged. At the end of the age and through: Local (Evangelism and discipleship) Regional (training and mobilization) and International (recruitment and advocacy)” www.faimission.org
The Refuge Initiative - “Building camps of refuge, restoring dignity and hope, and providing pathways back to independent living for those running from persecution.”
YWAM Refugee Circle - “Besides the biblical command to love the stranger and foreigner amongst us, we believe God has greater purposes for those who are displaced and seeking refuge.
In a time where mass migration is mostly associated with fear, and responded to from a place of self-preservation, we believe God has called the global Church to step forward - to not only receive the foreigner amongst us with dignity and love, but to also go - at the cost of self - to serve those who are seeking safe passage.
The YWAM Refugee Circle is a platform for teams and individuals that desire to serve in this time of crisis, as well as a place of connection point with long-term partners in the field who need committed workers, willing to lend strength in ministry”
In our next ministry update we will share more about the happenings of Safe Families for Children, the 180 house and the happenings of the Bells. We will be announcing some big and exciting news! (not the new baby…. that is exciting but thats not the news. Little dude is doing awesome, growing strong and is due Dec 29th.) So be on the lookout for our next update!
We love all of you guys and covet your prayers and partnership. We can do what we do because of your support! To sow into the Bell family and the ministries in which we serve please visit the donate page here
Caleb, Mimi, Banyan, Sebastian and soon to be, baby Sailor