Monday, October 23, 2006

October 16-22

        Things were very busy this week, as all of my classes have now started. I had good Bible institute classes on Monday and Wednesday. The students are excited and asking good questions. Our Thursday prayer meeting was back down to normal attendance, but we had a very good service. On Saturday we met with Lorenzo and Ana María for our weekly Bible study again. They continue to respond well to the teaching. Yesterday was a very interesting day. We drove up to Elda, the city right next to Petrer where we plan to begin a new work in January, and we took Israel, one of my students from the Bible institute who feels called to the ministry and who will be helping us start the work in Petrer. The purpose of the trip was to visit the only non-charismatic church in the area. It was a good opportunity to clarify our goals. Please pray for us as we continue to take steps towards this goal.
        I preached in the evening from 1 Thes. 4 in the last of my series about not being ignorant. Here Paul instructs us about the resurrection. The difference between us and those who are without Christ is our hope. Those who died in Christ will return with him and we will see Him together with them. The emphasis on Christ is beautiful. Heaven is not a time just to be reunited with loved ones; rather it is a time to be with our Savior. This makes the joy and comfort even greater. After the message we had the Lord's supper. It was the first time that Viviana had ever experienced this celebration. She was very touched by it and is looking forward to being baptized soon!

Monday, October 16, 2006

October 9-15

        This past week was a rather strange week because we had two holidays (Monday and Thursday), so there were many special activities instead of our normal routine. On Monday we were able to spend the day with Lorenzo and Ana María, and we visited several families in the church. On Thursday we spent the day with Juan and Cristina and then had our couples' study with Lorenzo and Ana María in the afternoon before church. Since Thursday was a holiday, we had an extra large attendance at church for prayer meeting.
        But the biggest activity of the week was our men's retreat on Friday and Saturday. Pablo Portugal came down from Barcelona to be the speaker, and we had a total of 25 men. The topic was prayer, and the studies were very practical. The Lord was so good to us in many ways. Emilio was a great help to me for the last retreat, taking care of all of the food and other organizational matters, but he went to the hospital last Monday morning with yet another heart attack. When I visited him, he told me that he wasn't going to be able to be at the retreat. But he got out of the hospital on Wednesday and was there helping out and entertaining at the retreat as if nothing had ever happened to him. On Friday morning I checked the weather report and noticed to my horror that they were calling for rain Friday night and thunderstorms during the day on Saturday! I could just imagine all of our tents getting washed off the camp site. But the Lord overruled, and we had perfect weather all week end. Praise the Lord for answering our prayers about this retreat.
        Yesterday I preached from 2 Corinthians 1.8-9 about another of Paul's "ignorant" passages. In this case he warns us not to be ignorant that even the strongest trials can be used by God to teach us to trust in Him.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Bell Nouvelles 9.4

October, 2006
Bell Nouvelles in short:
- a good start to the Bible Institute (10 students)
- a good trip to Austria (a great encouragement to us)
- Viviana, new contact at church
- we found a good house in Petrer
- the sale of our current flat!!
- Men's retreat next weekend
- evangelization in Petrer

Dear friends,

I'm trying a new format. I have started writing a weekly summary which I am posting on my blog for those who would like to follow our ministry in more detail. In my email, I am mainly going to focus on our prayer requests. The weekly summaries are included down below for those of you who cannot make it onto the blog.

Thank you so much for your prayers!

David Bell

Sunday, October 08, 2006

October 2-8

The Lord gave us a good week. We were able to make a down payment on the house in Petrer that we have been looking at for over a month now. We also put our present flat up for sale. Now we pray that the Lord would help us sell it soon so that we can move. My Bible institute class is going well. I have ten students this semester for the New Testament Introduction class. We have been covering some general topics like the canon and the historical background of the NT. Our study with Lorenza and Ana María continues to go well. They continue to be very open and interested in the topics we are covering about marriage. Dr. Garlock spoke this morning about Joseph's God-centered view that made the difference in his life. This evening I preached my second sermon in my series about not being ignorant. I spoke from 1 Cor. 12 about spiritual gifts. This week we will be getting ready for the men's retreat next weekend. I'm really looking forward to that time.

Monday, October 02, 2006

September 25 - October 1

This last week was the start of academic life once again. My classes at the university began on Monday as well as the classes that Maribel is taking. The kids went back to school after our time in Austria, and I began my class for the Bible Institute. I have a nice group of about 10 students for my New Testament Introduction class. We began by talking about the canon of the New Testament. I feel that is especially an important issue in the wake of the DaVinci Code and other such material. Viviana has been a special blessing this week. She started coming to church a few weeks ago through a contact with a lady in our church. She is in a motorized wheelchair and through that situation came to know the Lord through a local charismatic group. Since she started coming, she has been very faithful and seems to really be drinking in the teaching. She especially thanked me for the study before our Thursday prayer meeting. On Saturday morning we had our monthly men's prayer breakfast. Dr. Garlock was visiting and spoke. I found his challenge very direct, and it was a real blessing. He has been preaching on the family in Elche all weekend. Today at church I preached about one of the things that Paul warns believers not to be ignorant about: past blessings do not guarantee future success (1 Cor. 10.1-5). We had two visitors last night. After the service I spoke with them and found out that they are strong Catholics. They enjoyed the service and especially the preaching, but do not think that they should read the Bible. Reading and understanding the Bible, in their opinion, should be left to people who are trained to do so. They were just content to listen to the "exerts". I praise the Lord for the opportunity to preach to them, but I encouraged them to read for themselves. May God touch their hearts (they did promise me that they would attempt to read) and bring them to a personal relationship with Christ! After the service we had a time of fellowship to say good bye to Claudia who will be returning to Argentina this week.