Cliff – Up Close

Cliff 1BAn interview with Cliff… out from behind the pulpit.

  • I will ask some questions I think others want to know along with some fun questions.  I’m talking about questions that reveal who you are when you’re NOT behind a pulpit.  Who IS Cliff Bell?  We’ll start with an easy one.  What are your favorite colors?

Thanks! That is easy. Blue and green. It reminds me of the colors I see in nature.

  • Coffee or tea?

While I enjoy teas, I still like a good cup of coffee! Medium roast. Dianne is the tea drinker, and quite the connoisseur.

  • How old are you?

Born in November, 1962. I’ll let you do the math. I’m not sure how that happened so fast!

  • How long have you been married to Dianne?Cliff 2

Since June 25th, 1988. That’s 29 years so far. I thank God for her every day. Besides Jesus, she is the best gift God has ever given me.

  • Do you have any children?

Dianne and I have four children. It seems funny to call them “children” now. We have three young ladies and one young man (ages: 27, 25 21 and 18) who are just getting started with their lives. My son, Jeremiah, is the second of the four. The youngest just graduated high school. The others are either beginning their careers, in training, or preparing for training. At this point all are still at home and single. Dianne and I are enjoying this extended time with them.

For several years we also raised our nephew and niece. So for a while we had six teenagers in the house. As homeschoolers, people asked us about socialization. We would laugh… Our home IS a social event! Between family, church, homeschool co-op activities, 4-H, and friends, if someone was to be concerned, the more likely question was whether or not anyone ever got a moment of privacy!

  • That’s great to have had a big family! Did you have brothers and sisters growing up?

I have two sisters. One older, one younger. Both beautiful inside and out.

  • Do you have any pets?

I don’t have a pet that’s exclusively mine right now. I miss Zorro, my former Labrador/retriever who is now in Doggy Heaven (according to Disney). He was the best.

Our family currently has two cats, a dog and a turtle. The turtle, named Min, is a 21 year old red eared slider. We got her when she was the size of a silver dollar. Now she’s the size of a dinner plate and lives in a 50 gallon aquarium.

The rest of our pets were adopted off the street. Two were literally born by strays on our front porch where they sought refuge. We found homes for all except for these which we eventually adopted. They seem to belong one each to my three daughters. By default, my son got the turtle.

  • What about helping around the house? Do you cook?

Yes! I find it relaxing and enjoyable when I cook. …So does Dianne!

I usually do the major cooking for holiday dinners. Dianne and girls now do the desserts and sides.

  • So you make a good team! What’s your favorite food to cook?

I enjoy cooking what I enjoy eating. I love Mexican food. Good thing! I love all the “antojitos” (traditional Mexican dishes) – especially chile rellenos and enchiladas.   …sopes, tostadas, salbutes, panuchos, tacos, tlacoyos, espadas, quesadillas, chilaquiles, the list goes on!

I was raised in the South or South of the Border. So I also love southern cooking, but try to keep it healthy. I do insist on making cornbread in a cast iron skillet. However, I will readily admit Dianne still makes better biscuits than I do.

  • What was the last book you read?
Angela Victorian

Angela Bell

Besides the Bible, you mean? The last three were: “Kingdom Awakening” by Dr. Joseph Mattera, “How Can These Things Be?” by Dr. Bill Hamon (re-read), and departing from my usual genre of reading, I really enjoyed “The Best Man in Brookside” by my daughter, Angela Bell (a novella published in “The California Gold Rush Collection” by Barbour Press. If you like Victorian historical fiction you will love Angela’s writing. Check out her webpage: www.authorangelabell.com

  • I will check it out! It sounds interesting! Now tell us where you grew up.

There is no one simple answer. I grew up as an MK, a missionary kid.  I was born in Southern California but was raised in Mexico City; Pensacola, FL, Mission, TX; León, Guanajuato; and Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.

  • Do you regret growing up on the mission field? Were there things you missed out on?

I don’t regret it at all. No, I didn’t go to a typical American high school and have a prom. We didn’t vacation at Epcot. We didn’t have many luxuries growing up. But I had adventures others could only dream or read about.

We lived in Guadalajara, Mexico. The churches which supported my parents’ ministry were in the Southeast US. My paternal grandparents lived in Northern California. So we had some amazing budget road trips traversing the Continent!

Cliff 2 BI got to experience other cultures, learn another language, travel with my Dad to churches in cities and villages all over central Mexico. I didn’t get to accompany Dad all the time, but I did when I could. In the process I got to observe and participate in the Body of Christ in many different denominations and networks, from the wild Pentecostal to the “Frozen Chosen”, from large churches to small home groups, established churches or participating in a crusade that would help plant a new congregation. I learned early on what it meant to live by faith and not by sight. I got to see miracles happen!

Dad is one of my heroes. Only God knows how many people have been saved and how many churches have been helped because of his ministry.

  • Are your parents still alive?

Cliff 3My Mom, Madeline, went to be with the Lord in May of 2015. She loved all of us deeply, but she is now in the Presence of the One she has always loved the most. Dad, Bob Bell, now lives in the border town of Del Rio, TX. He still ministers effectively for the Lord on both sides of the border. I encourage you to check out his ministry at: www.bobbell.me

  • How do you spend your free time?

Free time? What’s that?!   …Well, yes, I do know what free time is. There just seems to be less of it now than ever before.

I enjoy being with my family, watching movies together, listening to music, and making things with my hands.

When I have an opportunity, I enjoy the outdoors, hiking down nature trails, the mountains, enjoying the beauty of nature. (Can’t you tell by my header picture?).

  • What other things do you like to do?

I enjoy wood-working. I made a pergola for the yard (for my grapes to grow on), and a planter stand for the porch. But most of the time I use my tools it’s for home repair or maintenance… One year I was able to buy a dishwasher for Dianne for Christmas. She was thrilled! But of course, that meant I needed to modify the cabinets and the plumbing in the kitchen to install it.

  • What languages do you know?

English, Spanish, and Portuguese (still polishing up the Portuguese, but I can minister effectively in Brazil without an interpreter.)

  • Do you plan on learning more languages?

    Cliff 4 D

    In Bogota, Colombia

If Jesus tarries, after I polish up my Portuguese a bit more, I’d like to learn French and Italian. It seems like a more reasonable goal at my age rather than to dive into a completely different kind of language such as Mandarin or Mayan. I can work on those during the Millennium!

  • What countries have you personally visited?

So far: United States, Mexico, Canada, Spain, Italy, South Africa, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Colombia, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Brazil and Paraguay. Of course mostly the Latin American countries.

  • Which was your favorite country?
In Asuncion, Paraguay

In Asuncion, Paraguay

At the risk of sounding like a politician who wants to avoid answering… The Bible says it’s not wise to compare ourselves with others (2 Corinthians 10:12). So I don’t like to compare nations either. Each has its own culture, beauty and uniqueness.

Actually, within most nations (like Mexico, for example) there are multiple cultures. The native peoples influence the culture in their region, as does the immigrant population. These two mix or marble to create a diversity and beauty unique to their region.

Everywhere I go I ask God to help me see the beauty He does. So I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed every nation. Of course, it’s always great to arrive home!

  • Who has had the most influence in your life?

Besides Jesus, it’s really impossible to single out just one person. I’ve been influenced by a lot of people. I will name five in chronological order:

Cliff 5My parents, Bob & Madeline Bell – I include them together because they were always one in heart. Because of my parents I received Jesus as Savior at a very early age, and was baptized in the Holy Spirit by age 6. They made sure I knew the Word of God and instilled in me a hard work ethic, love for God, love for the nations, respect for others regardless of race, religion or economic status, and so many values important in life.

Dr. Ken Sumrall – “Brother Ken,” or “Papa Bear” as some knew him, was a true Cliff 7apostle before we knew there could be any today. He was my pastor and looked to as a spiritual authority for most of the first half of my life. I learned so many things from him. Among the most important: 1. Being true to God’s Word and seeking the whole counsel of God, 2. Discerning the difference between an spiritual fad and a genuine movement of God. He was also an amazing ping pong player!

My wife, Dianne – I have been deeply impacted by her love of truth, righteousness and justice.  God has used her and continues to use her to speak to my life God’s Word which brings freedom. She is a living epistle to me in many ways. I’ve seldom seen anyone press in to God as she does. I am definitely a better man because of her.  She and the Holy Spirit work on me all the time.

Cliff 8 2Dr. Bill Hamon – Bishop Hamon has been an example and a mentor in prophetic apostolic ministry and has become a true father in the faith. A man of righteousness, truth, mercy, and generosity on so many levels. He is a true apostle, prophet, theologian, Church historian, and a friend when you need one the most.

There are many more I could name who have made a significant impact on my life, but those are the main ones.

  • Thanks for opening up and telling us more about who you are and what makes you tick!

It’s been my pleasure!

Cliff 9