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  • Writer's pictureBradley Bell

Moving Upstream: March 2024 Newsletter

Not into reading? Watch this short video summary instead.

I've got big news—and it's no April Fools' joke.

In January we took the leap of faith to join Upstream full-time by raising partial support. Our audacious prayer was that we would be fully funded by April 1st. That meant $45,000 in three months. Well, it's April 1st, and based on recurring giving...our salary is fully funded for 2024. Thanks be to God!

We are astounded by his faithfulness. But that faithfulness has been tangibly expressed through his people. So, thank you for your generosity and prayers! Your overwhelming support has brought the much-needed affirmation that God is for us and with us in this new calling.

We will, however, continue to raise some support for strategic ministry needs, such as international travel. So if you have been considering giving, there is still opportunity to join our team.

To celebrate this milestone—especially after a few months of uncertainty—we told our girls that they could have a "Yes Day". They are so excited. One of them, who has actually struggled with this season of transition the most, said to me last night, "I think this is the most awesome time in my life." That means so much!

On the Mountain Top

All this excitement comes at the end of a family trip to the Cumberland Mountains. This was made possible thanks to Clear Creek Baptist Bible College, who allowed us to stay at their minister's retreat house. We spent our days mostly swimming at the campus pool and hiking trails to Pinnacle Overlook, Tri-State Peak, Clear Creek Hollow, and Chained Rock. After the busyness of the past few months this was a wonderful way to reconnect deeply with each other.

Introduction to Missions

Another significant part of March was helping produce an Introduction to Missions video series in partnership with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. I taught four sessions and my colleague Nathan Sloan taught four sessions, all recorded in downtown Louisville. The videos will be used as a resource for churches who want to give their people a solid foundation in God's global mission. The topics included:

Missions in the Old Testament

Missions in the New Testament

History of Missions

Progress of Missions

Theology of the Sending Church

Church on Mission

Thinking on Mission

Life on Mission

Upstream will also have access to these videos, and I will let you know when they're available.

The Sending Church Defined Español

It's always encouraging to meet church leaders who have been impacted by The Sending Church Defined. One missions pastor loved it so much he not only started giving copies of it to others, he rallied his church to fund its translation into Spanish. This will then allow his church to give copies to their Hispanic partners, helping them to become sending churches as well.

One of the things I get most excited about these days is God's movement among other parts of the global church. At Upstream we have the privilege of helping churches around the world begin to send their own people cross-culturally. The ministry of translating our books is a big part of that.

We are hoping to release the Spanish translation later this month. I'll be sure to announce when it's ready for purchase. If you know individuals and/or churches who might benefit from it, please let me know.

Join Us in Prayer

You can be part of what God is doing in and through us by praying in the following ways:

  • For fruitfulness as I can now give my full attention to the mission. Because of the work of raising support, thus far I haven't been able to take on all the responsibilities of my role. Pray for me as I establish priorities and rhythms in overseeing both Upstream Equipping and Publishing.

  • For God's provision of support for strategic ministry needs. It's possible that later this year I will need to travel to places like the UK and Cameroon. This will require extra support, especially if the girls need to join me on extended ministry assignments.

  • For our family to experience belonging in Christian community. Now that the demands of raising support have settled down, we have more capacity to invest in relationships in our local context. Pray for us to do this in ways that are mutually beneficial.

As always, thanks for your support!

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