Hi, my name is Raymond Bell. Let me start by saying that all the glory and honor be to God for the changes God has made in me and my family’s life. Well, here is a small part of what God has done. I grew up in a family of drug addicts and drunks. By the time I was five years old I knew of just about every kind of drug that was on the street at the time. When I was nine my uncle gave me my first bag of weed. When I was eleven my Mom and Dad split up; at least I thought he was my real Dad, until my mom informed me that he was not. That brought rebellion against the world. At the age of thirteen I started using crystal meth and crack cocaine, acid along with alcohol. By the time I was eighteen I was in pretty bad shape. That’s when God started to work in my life but I still had not figured it out yet.
God enabled my to go to work on a commercial fishing boat for six months, and that allowed me to see life with a clear head. But then the fishing season ended and we were back in San Diego where all my friends were and in turn started using drugs again. Some friends huh? Well needless to say they are no longer my friends. After three years of fishing I was only smoking pot and drinking, actually I became an alcoholic out on the water in thirty-foot seas. You kind of get to know God a little there, well at least I did until I got back on dry land and abandoned God again. But God had not abandoned me.
I moved to Arizona in April of 1990 and I met my wife Tanya. We got together and my life was pretty much the same, drinking and drugging. The only change was I had a partner in crime. On April 29, 1997 God again brought about a change in my life for he blessed me and Tanya, my girlfriend at the time, with a son. At that time, I quite drinking and found steady employment but I was still smoking marijuana. Well, we moved across town and there I ran into this guy by the name of Tony (see Tony Hall’s Testimony). I did not like this guy at all. I thought that this guy was bad news all the way around, and one night on my way home from work my suspicions came true. I heard on the radio that my neighbor Tony Hall had been arrested for attempted car jacking. Later, I heard from his girlfriend that he was going away for fifteen years.
But about two years later Tony showed up at my door looking for his girlfriend. At first I was thinking what is this guy on? Come to find out Tony was on fire for Jesus. As time went on, Tony and I became best of friends and it is that way to this day. Then one day we were having a BBQ and Tony invited us to a Vacation Bible School at New Life Community Church of the Nazarene. We attended a few services at church but it wasn’t long before we stopped going. It wasn’t until, on August 4, 2004 when my brother-in-law hung himself, that I really realized we truly need God in our lives. We started going to church, but that’s all we were doing. God was still not the center of our lives. But then in 2005 I had the opportunity to go to a Promise Keepers convention called the Awakening. Boy, they were not lying when they said Awakening. I had never before experienced 10,000 men yelling “we love Jesus yes we do, we love Jesus how about you?” You could really feel God’s presence there. Well they had a call to the alter that day and that is when I submitted my life to Christ Jesus our King.
I have a lot more to say about how God has changed me and my family’s life. If you would like to know more about what God had done for me come to our little white church on the corner. You’ll find me and my family there and we will gladly tell you how God has changed our lives. I am not saying that it is easy following God, but I will say this, as for me and my house we choose to follow Jesus!!! Thank you for reading my testimony I hope God speaks to you through it. All Glory and honor be to God! And thank you Jesus!
Sunday, June 24th 2012