Where I’ve Been

So I haven’t posted much to the blog lately.  For the past three weeks, I’ve been trying to support E.J. and Amber as they’ve dealt with the premature birth of their son Chance, visited my Grandpa and then attended his funeral a week later, and traveled to Kansas City to attend ROCK International’s Tribal Gathering.  So it’s been a busy couple of weeks.  I’m going to try over the next week or so to chronicle our trip to KC if only because it may be helpful to me, but maybe someone else will benefit as well.  Also, in case you’re interested, I posted notes on a teaching by Tim Johns on “Apostolic Strategies for Regional Revival” on my other blog, Jesus, the Church, and The Coming Kingdom.

 To give everyone a better idea about what has been going on before that, I’m going to post a letter E.J. wrote to his friends and family to update everyone on their situation.  His description is basically what our lives have been like lately if you add us praying fervently for the healing power of God to descend on this little guy and helping raise prayer and financial support for their family.  Christy and I really believe that Chance will pull through this, but keep praying for him, he’s not out of the woods yet. 


E.J and Amber Bell

1331 O Ave NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402
(319) 560-0503


Hey Everyone

I just want to write everyone a quick letter to update you all about the events that have happened in the last couple of weeks.  About two weeks ago, Amber was admitted to
St. Lukes Hospital and diagnosed with preeclampsia, a disease that affects both the body of the mother and the baby she is carrying.  After several days in the hospital, Amber had a seizure and the doctors had to remove the baby by emergency C-section.  Thursday, September 21st at 10:32 A.M. we welcomed John Thomas Chance Bell into the world.  He weighed 1 pound, 6.5 ounces at birth and was 11 inches long.  Needless to say he was born very premature (about 14.5 weeks) and so he was immediately placed in the NICU of St. Luke’s Hospital. 

Since that time, Amber has remained in the hospital, battling the after effects that the preeclampsia has had on her body.  The doctors have been trying to regulate her blood pressure and keep her from having another seizure. We have been in the hospital for about two weeks.  John (or “Chance,” which has become an appropriate nickname) has been in the NICU since birth.  His under-developed lungs have been a source of concern on his road to recovery.  Currently Chance is suffering from major lung failure, which the doctors call Chronic Lung Disease.  Another issue in his recovery has been a bleed in the brain.  Though not as severe as it could be, we have been continually praying that the bleeding would stop because sustained and more severe bleeding could cause severe brain damage. Just recently the doctors called us to tell us about an infection that has also developed in his body.  We will know the seriousness of that problem in the next day or so. The pictures below will give you some clue as to the state of his condition. 

Through all of the struggle, we continue to hope for a full recovery of both Amber and Chance.  I’ve been staying at the hospital with both of them most days, only leaving to go run a few necessary errands and get some sleep from time to time.  We’ve enjoyed support from a number of family members and close friends, all of whom have helped us in so many ways.  Many of the people around me have been asking how they can help us during this time of need. 

First of all, I just to thank everyone for all their thoughtfulness, prayers, and support through this tough time that we have been going through.  I can’t explain what I’m going through, but it makes me want to hold on tighter to my family than ever before. God has already blessed us so much in my life and right now we need support more than ever.  It’s hard for me to write this letter because it feels like I’m letting my family down to ask for help.  But by talking to family and friends, they have encouraged me to write this to let everyone know what’s going on and to let them know what we will need for help.  As you know, it’s hard to ask for help, and for those of you who know me and my family, you know that this is something that is hard to ask.  With the situation God has placed on us, we are asking for a miracle in which I’ve never seen.  So the only thing I know to do is to let all my family and friends out there know about our needs.

We have a couple of pressing needs right now that we would welcome help with.  The first major need is prayer for the health of the whole family.  Amber and Chance especially need prayer to recover.  Chance is fighting for his life right now up in the NICU, and he needs all the prayer he can get.  If people want to pray over Chance personally, please feel free to contact me and set up an opportunity, because he really needs as many people praying for him as possible. 

Another need we have right now is financial help.  With Amber in the hospital, our income is more than cut in half, and obviously we weren’t planning on the baby coming this early.  Financially we weren’t ready for it.  Some of you have asked how you can help, and if you have means to help us financially, we would really appreciate it.  You can get a hold of me and ask me for more details or if you’d like to write us a check, you can mail it to the address at the top of this letter.   We know that everyone can’t help us financially, but we know many people have a heart that is willing to help.  If this sounds like you, and you have some other way that you’d like to help, please get a hold of us and let us know. 

Again, I want to thank you all for everything that you’ve done so far.  Amber and I don’t know how we could have made it without God’s help and those He’s brought to us to help us.  Please be in prayer for us and Chance in this time. 


E.J. Bell


About traviskolder

Travis Kolder is a follower of Jesus, a husband, a father of five, an organic church planter, and a writer. He lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he serves as part of the Cedar Rapids House Church Network.

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