Bella is the founder of International Outreach Mission, Inc., which began in 2014 when she humbly answered the call to serve the homeless on the streets of Jacksonville, Florida. Her life has been a true inspiration, marked by encounters with God, angelic visitations, divine impartations, and tangible meetings with Jesus since early childhood.
Bella is originally from the Philippines and has a rich family heritage of serving the poor that she is honored to both continue and pass on. She, along with her son, two daughters, and granddaughter, reside in Northeast FL.
To learn more about Bella's ministry to the homeless, visit her social media page below or browse our Outreaches page.
My name is Bella Lamm, formerly known as Bella S. Guiab. I was born in 1950 in Dupax Nueva Vizcaya, in the Philippines. I went to Saint Anthony High School in Manila. I was married in 1968 at the age of 18 to my first husband, Edward James Lake. We had four children together. Their names are Diana, Michael, Mary, and Bernadette (who passed away in 2020).
My father's name was Luisiano Guiab, a Filipino citizen, and my mother's name was Emily Scott, a U.S. citizen born abroad. My great-grandfather was Robert Scott Orgine, who was of English Black heritage. He served in the Spanish-Japanese war in the Philippines as a U.S. military officer. He had six children, of whom Condrado Scott – my mother's father – was his firstborn son. My great-grandfather fell in love with the Philippines, so he provided a shelter and helped feed the poor people there. He died during the Japanese war, and we became refugees. We were lost American children in the Philippines.
My family really struggled, as there was no help for Americans in the Philippines during that time. We were left behind, with no identification papers, because those were lost along with all of our belongings when the Japanese soldiers took over our homes. Our family had discovered my great-grandfather’s military pictures, which was the only proof of our U.S. citizenship. The Philippines was liberated in 1945, but it did not become U.S. territory until 1950. Because we lived five hours away from the U.S. Embassy in Manila, and due to restricted travel and lack of finances, it took until 1968 to get our family’s paperwork processed from the embassy so that we could file for benefits and receive the help that our family was entitled to. There was no transportation because everything was destroyed, and thus we had to ride horses to get anywhere. I still remember particularly the hardship we endured in the Philippines in 1955, although I was only five years old.
I served the Lord at a young age, even though I didn’t know Him personally yet. The Holy Spirit was with me, and I was on fire for the Lord. To this present time, the Lord uses me as a vessel of His love to others. Even at a young age I heard God speak to me, yet I did not understand why I heard voices. I thought I was crazy. At age five I heard a voice saying, “American!” I wondered, “What is American?” That stayed in my memory, and little did I know at that time that I was an American refugee on my mother’s side.
My father left my mother when she was seven months pregnant with me, while she was living in a house located in the mountain province of Banaue. During that time, there was fire which destroyed the upstairs living area and the downstairs grocery store. As a result of that tragic experience, my mother developed amnesia. For this reason, my mother and I were never able to have a meaningful relationship.
Growing up, I experienced playing with Jesus, who would occasionally appear as a young boy to play with me outside. He was wearing short pants and a shirt – Spalding brand that I distinctly remember! I was playing around with Him like a normal child without even giving it a second thought. He was as cute as could be, and there was such genuine familiarity in the way we interacted with each other. But when we would play hide and seek, He would disappear and would not be found anywhere. The same thing happened over and over again. As a child, I thought that perhaps it was a ghost. One night while I was asleep, three angels carried me out to the top of the roof, and they sat and talked with me. I have no recollection of the specifics of those conversations, except for the fact that I was taken up during my sleep to talk with them.
I grew up not being aware of my American citizenship. As children, we were not allowed to listen to any adult conversations. I was not informed about my great grandfather’s citizenship until later in life. He served God as a Methodist pastor in the Philippines and attended to the poor there. I never got to meet him personally and had no knowledge of my family’s life history. My great-grandmother became a widow during the Japanese war, but I did not learn about my great-grandfather’s background until my great-aunt shared his story along with pictures on social media in 2016. I only heard of it after having served the homeless in downtown Jacksonville for two years, and I was very pleasantly surprised to find out that it is in our family’s bloodline to serve the poor.
I actually began serving the poor at a very young age myself. Back in 1962 at only 12 years of age, I took care of five cousins who had been orphaned. My sister, Elsa, was nine years old when she went to live with my uncle who had four kids of his own and later had another one. Two years later, in 1964, I moved to Manila and ended up graduating from high school there.
In 1968 I married my first husband, Edward, who was in the military service in the Philippines. We moved to the USA as a military family, and because of the uncertain circumstances surrounding my citizenship, I arrived here as a permanent resident through my husband. Our first destination was Jacksonville, Florida, in 1971, then Brunswick, Maine, in 1976. We then moved back to the Philippines in 1979, and in 1981 to San Diego, California. This is where I ended up at Balboa Hospital where I had surgery in 1983 and went to heaven for 22 hours!
While we were living in the 1970’s at the Mayport military housing in Jacksonville, Florida, I had a visitation from Jesus. At that time, I was angry with my husband, Edward, who was always out drinking at the military bar. I had just finished feeding and getting my children ready for bed and began to drink, after which I got drunk and passed out. This is when Jesus appeared to me and confronted me saying, “What are you doing?” Imagine that! I was not even saved, yet He came to rescue me!
In 1984 we were transferred to Patuxent, Maryland, and later that year my children and I returned to Jacksonville, Florida. I got divorced in 1985 and then remarried in 1986 to Jeffrey W. Lamm, to whom I was married for 20 years. That same year I met Dr. Bonzon and his wife Tita and ended up working as an assistant manager at The Beach Motel in Atlantic Beach, Florida, which they owned at that time. This couple had a tremendous impact on my spiritual life. My son, Michael, received Christ at Bethesda – an evangelical church – at the age of 14. With the help of Mr. and Mrs. Bonzon, I ended up attending a Bible study together with them while I still considered myself to be a Catholic. On Father's Day of 1986, I got saved at Bethesda when I met Jesus Christ as my Savior. It was the happiest day of my life! I will always be grateful to this couple for inviting me to church, being so patient in mentoring me, helping me grow spiritually, and for their continuous involvement in my life through the years – even from a long distance. They played such a key role in my life, which I will always remember.
At that time my husband, Jeffrey, happily committed to attending church with me. However, we ended up being transferred to Charleston, South Carolina, where I attended church and served handicapped children at a hospital. For two years I gave so much love and attention to those children, drawing them to Jesus. However, my husband was not happy in Charleston, and we were transferred to Key West in 1990, then to the island of Guam in 1993, and then back to California. In California I attended a Pentecostal church under Pastor Hodges. During my three years there, I assisted senior citizens to come to church and helped teenage children as well.
I then returned to Jacksonville, Florida in 1996 and began attending New Life Christian Fellowship, volunteering in the women’s prison ministry for one year. I subsequently became involved in the children’s ministry at New Life for 11 years and ended up fostering children in 2006 – Melody, who was just two weeks old, and then her brother, Sullivan, who was born 13 months later. I picked up Sullivan from the hospital and took very good care of those two infants as if they were my own. They are now 16 and 15 years old! I am still involved in their lives by occasionally providing for their personal needs. Part of my ministry has also been to serve destitute single mothers. In the last several years, I have been able to help a total of eight such women by offering them shelter, food, and assistance to be able to support themselves and live a decent life.
My husband and I divorced in 2006, which made me very sad and depressed for three years. I felt like I was the walking dead. However, Jesus Christ spoke comfort to me, saying, “Be strong and don't let yourself feel downcast. I am here for you.” A still, small voice in my inner being was speaking strength to me. While I was serving the Lord by helping little children that needed me, my husband was not very supportive. He was not happy that I was a Christian. He liked his worldly life, and that was the cause of our divorce. I am now fully committed to serving the Lord with my whole life.
Each time I did not have enough means to make it, something miraculous would happen to help meet my needs. I lost my house to a tornado in 2006, when it ripped off the roof one morning at 3 A.M. Due to insurance complications and attorney fees, I had to withdraw money from my 401K to be able to afford fixing the roof and was left nearly penniless as a result. I ended up being homeless for four months. I cried and questioned the Lord, “Why is this happening to me?” As I wondered why I was going through such trials, the Lord showed me His great favor! My friend, Celia, who at that time was the owner of the house I am now renting, was very sympathetic about my situation and offered to me to live in this house rent-free until I was ready to start paying rent. She just gave me the key and told me to clean up the house and move in. I ended up not paying rent for one whole year – just utilities! When the new owner came, he asked me, “How much can you afford to pay?” Wow, I was astonished that he would ask me that question. Another way God showed me His great favor!
In 2014, I was led to establish an outreach ministry to the homeless in Jacksonville. I have been serving my community for over eight years now. I thank Jesus for the people He has brought alongside to help me. Our group has been hand-picked by God to serve the poor and do the work of His Kingdom. In 2018, through a sequence of supernatural events, I was led to meet Neil and Neolla Hanekom, who are also members of my church. They were sent to me by God and came at a critical time in my life when I needed them the most! They have become an essential part of our outreach ministry and have partnered with me in many different ways. We have been serving the homeless together for over four years now, along with the rest of our amazing team. I am extremely thankful for all our other team members – my son, Mikey, my daughter, Mary, Debbie, Mary Anne, Barbara, Janice, Don and Myrna, Barb – and all those who have served with us in the past.
I have spent my life serving and winning souls for our Lord Jesus Christ and will continue to do so until He calls me home! Even though I have not fully understood all of God’s purposes for my life, I realize how He had planned my family’s footsteps from the beginning. The purpose of it all was and is about Jesus. When things we had not expected in life happen to us, it is still all about Jesus. He makes a way for us to serve Him alone. Thank you, Jesus!