Big Changes Coming in December (Sep 2013)
As you may know, we have been diligently seeking the Lord’s direction for our family because our visas to legally live in the UK will soon expire. Many of you have been praying for us in that regard, and we greatly appreciate it! We wanted to let you know that we have recently reached a decision and have complete peace that we are moving forward in line with God’s will for His next season for our family.
God’s mission for UK for Jesus has been to serve, evangelize and teach in the UK for as long as He wants us to. Through earnest prayer and seeking over many months, God has shown us that our part of His work here has been accomplished. As we step out in faith, God has assured our hearts that this is a necessary part of the next season for His ministry here. Many adults and youth we have been working with are now beginning to actively step into greater ministry and leadership roles, and we have peace that it is God’s time for us to step out and allow them to minister and lead as God directs. In that sense, your faithful prayer and financial giving to UK for Jesus has born fruit, which should now continue to grow on its own.
Through God’s and your help, we have accomplished God’s assignment for us in the UK. The impact of UK for Jesus over these last 2.5 years has been significant and, we believe, will carry on long after we’ve gone. We are so thankful to the Lord for choosing us for this amazing ‘faith adventure’ on the mission field, and we certainly couldn’t have done it without your help. If you have been a part of our prayer or financial support team at any point along this journey, YOU have been a crucial part of making an eternal difference in England, and we sincerely thank you.
In light of this, we are excited to announce that our family will be moving back to the USA. While our visas do not expire until July 2014, we are faced with unique circumstances because we are expecting a baby due in February 2014 (also a wonderful answer to prayer!). For this and other reasons, we have decided it would be better to move back before the baby arrives, rather than trying to do so just a few months after. As such, our plan is to make the move in December. This will allow Brooklyn to resume schooling in the USA at the beginning of the new year. In short (cue music)… “We’ll be home for Christmas…”
As a supporter, friend or follower of UK for Jesus, we thought you might have a few questions, so we’ve done our best to outline some key details. If you have any additional questions or would like more details on anything at all, please just let us know!
With sincere love and gratitude,
Trevor, Connie, Brooklyn & Baby ‘Bun’ Smith (UK for Jesus)
>>>NEWSFLASH!!! Less than 24 hours after completing the draft of this post and the Q&A section, God had already miraculously answered our prayers about “what’s next!” We thought it’d be neat to leave all of the original info and just add in the updated info, to allow you to see how greatly God has moved already! This does make it quite a bit longer, but we do hope you’ll take a few minutes to read it through. God is faithful!
Upcoming Changes for UK for Jesus - A few key questions and answers!
1) So, what’s the bottom line?
God has confirmed to us that our part of His work here has been accomplished. So, we are moving back to Texas in December 2013 and eagerly awaiting our next assignment from God! >>>Newsflash Update: We now know our new assignment! Woo-hoo!! More details further below!
2) What about all the things you do at Souls Harbour?
God has already been raising up and inserting new leaders who are eager to step in and be involved in many of the areas that we serve in now. For the things that are left, we’ll be actively working to recruit and train people to help take the load, so it doesn’t all fall back onto Pastor David’s shoulders. Just as God has His next season planned for us, we know He has a great plan for the next season of Souls Harbour and L.E.D (another ministry we regularly support), and we will be praying for God to bring an abundance of provision and blessing to Pastor David and Joy, Chris and Nikki and all the amazing people of Souls Harbour and L.E.D/Oriel Ministries.
3) How do you ‘feel’ about moving back?
While we are so very excited to soon be reunited with family and dear friends, it will be very very hard to leave Camelford. Even though we came to minister and impact the people here, their impact on us has been even greater. We have established some very deep and incredibly special ties here and have seen God do so many wonderful things… in individuals, in the community and in the church. But we are comforted in knowing that these connections are eternal! We also hope that in the future, we’ll have the provision to continue supporting God’s work here in some way and, hopefully, even make a trip back to visit from time to time. “You can take these missionaries out of Camelford, but you can’t take Camelford out of these missionaries.”
4) What will you do in Texas?
That is a GREAT question and one the Lord has not yet answered! It’s not unlike when we first felt called to the mission field. We knew generally ‘where’ and approximately ‘when’ but had no idea about the ‘why’ or ‘what’. But once we stepped out in obedience to move forward, God did what He does best and directed us step-by-step according to His plan. We are eager to see Him do that again! We are praying that God will open a door for us to continue in full-time ministry sooner rather than later. However, the reality is that we will be starting from the ground up financially and materially. So, your prayers for His provision and ‘open doors’ are appreciated. Moving back doesn’t mean our ministry ‘stops’… it’s just changing. We will be actively searching out opportunities to minister through worship and evangelism, even if just on the side to start. There may also be a need for Trevor to pick up some additional work for awhile, so if you know of anyone in need of a top-notch graphic designer, please keep us in mind! >>>Newsflash Update: Well, we aren’t moving to Texas after all. On the night we sat down with Pastor David and Joy to tell them of our decision, we were very clear that we were stepping out in complete faith as we had no prospects for ministry, jobs, or anything like that. We simply knew God was telling us it was time to go and we had chosen to say, “Yes, Lord” regardless. Well, the very next morning, Trevor received a phone call from Pastor Orlando Juarez at The Bridge Church in Bixby, OK. He was calling to ask Trevor to please come join his full-time ministry staff as the Worship Pastor. WOW! This is EXACTLY what we were praying for. To be honest, if God had told us we were going back to the U.S.A. and had then asked us to name our ‘dream job’ once there… this would be it! The Juarez’s are so very special to us, some of our most trusted spiritual advisors and they even played a huge role in our coming to England. Trevor has long hoped to work alongside Pastor Orlando again (they were on staff together at The Crossing in Texas for several years). And now, that door has opened. We simply cannot get around how much GOD is in this. Pastor Orlando did not know anything of our recent decision or discussion with Pastor David. He just knew that God told him “Trevor’s the guy.” Had he called just a few days sooner, our own decision making about leaving may have been clouded. However, God’s timing was perfect. We stepped out and made a decision in complete faith. We began moving forward to act on that faith-decision and God took it from there, bringing the desired provision. Thank you, God!!
5) Where will you live?
We are blessed to have family with a small guest house on their property just outside of Montgomery County (TX), so we’ll be able to stay there for the short-term. As you might recall, we sold EVERYTHING when we moved to England… cars, furniture, appliances, everything. So when we are able to get fully settled, we’ll be starting from scratch. However, our prayer is that Trevor will soon be established in stable work (praying it’s ministry related!) and we can begin setting up a household… especially with the baby on the way! We don’t know for sure that Montgomery County is where God will have us long-term, but we are going with that assumption for now as a starting point. >>>Newsflash Update: Our assumption was wrong! We’ll actually be settling somewhere in the Bixby, OK area (though still starting from scratch), and God has already provided the stable work in ministry. We aren’t sure if we’ll be buying or renting once there. We are, however, beginning to check the prospects in the area and are confident that God will help us find the right place for the right price.
6) Are you moving back to Texas for good?
We don’t know. Just over 3 years ago, we never would have imagined we’d be moving to England. We will follow the Lord’s call, wherever He takes us. But ONLY if it’s clearly Him. So in the meantime, the Conroe area will be home-base until He says otherwise. >>>Newsflash Update: It will be more of a ‘visit’ to Texas as it turns out!
7) What about Brooklyn?
Our amazing 5 year old daughter has just started her second year of school here (equivalent of 1st Grade) and will be very sad to leave, we are certain. However, she has never stopped speaking of friends and family in Texas and has, many times, asked when we’d live there again. In short, we expect she’ll be sad but thrilled! Our biggest concern is her education and ensuring she will have access to quality and reasonable stability regardless of where we live. We are praying for God’s provision to put her into a private Christian school in the Conroe area so that when we are able to move into our own place, she won’t have further disruption. >>>Newsflash Update: As sad as we are that we won’t get to live near family after all, we are very pleased that God is bringing this all together right away so that we can settle Brooklyn into school where we will be living rather than having to move her again in a few months. We think she might be a bit more confused about what’s happening when we try to explain it, but still she will be getting to spend Christmas with her family and will definitely get to see them more often ongoing, so we feel she’ll be excited. Again, we are praying for the provision to put her into a private school in the area we’ll be living in. There is one in particular that comes highly recommended, so we are praying for favor and provision to have her accepted in and be able to afford it long-term. >>> >>>ANOTHER UPDATE: We have explained what is happening, and her reaction is as expected. She’s sad to leave but so very excited that we’ll be closer to Texas (and her grandparents!). Her exact words were, "We get to be Americans?!?!?!" I’m sure as it becomes more real, she’ll be more affected but for now it’s business as usual. The neat thing is that she loves to play school games and pretend she’s the “new one” in school. She loves visiting a church and being the “new one” in the Sunday School class. So, when we told her she’d be going to a new school after Christmas and would be the “new one,” she was super-excited!
8) When will the need for financial support for UKFJ end?
We would be so very grateful if our current monthly supporters would be willing to continue to give at least through the end of the calendar year. We will continue to have our monthly living expenses here until then, plus the additional cost of moving (shipping, etc.). We will be selling our few possessions here (and giving some away!), but we will need to put much, if not all, of the proceeds towards getting our feet under us again once back in Texas. Moving back to the States doesn’t mean our ministry ‘stops’… it’s just changing. So, if you’d like to continue to be a part of our ministry support team beyond 2013, know that we plan to be actively searching out opportunities to continue to minister through worship and evangelism, even if just on the side to start. >>>Newsflash Update: This one doesn’t actually change much as we do still expect to incur living expenses through December. However, from the new year, Trevor will be in a paid staff position. If your heart is still to give toward UK for Jesus and/or the work in Camelford, could we suggest you consider giving directly to Souls Harbour? There are so many great dreams and visions for the future still in Pastor David’s heart to reach this community, but so often the lack of funds hinders progress. Additionally, there are many practical needs to be met (new/repaired chairs, updated equipment, etc.). If you are interested in giving to Souls Harbour once or ongoing, please let us know and we’ll help you sort the details!
9) What about your personal finances? Do you have any savings set aside?
While the giving we’ve received over these 2.5 years has been amazing and beyond generous, the cost of living in England is much higher than in Texas. That combined with an unfavorable currency exchange rate has led to a regular shortfall. So, we’ve used our savings to supplement many of our ongoing needs and special expenses, meaning there is little left to fall back on. Another great opportunity for God to provide! >>>Newsflash Update: This doesn’t change either, but we thought we should mention that we are blessed to be debt free - a status we are going to work very hard to maintain even as we work through trying to acquire all the basics to set up a new household. Getting a mortgage might be our one exception, but otherwise our hope is to find decent cars for a low cash price and keep the ‘plastic’ safely tucked away as we seek to acquire the many other things we’ll need. Our primary need will likely be in the area of being able to support a down payment on a home. Still another great opportunity for God to provide!
10) What can I do to help?
The biggest need, of course, is continued prayer. However, we also want to emphasize once more that we believe that our ministry is not stopping, just changing. We’re eager for our next full-time assignment from God, and we’ll be on the lookout for open doors in ministry in the meantime… to lead worship, share our missions stories, etc. So, if you have any connections to churches, organizations or other ministries that might be interested, your referral would be a fantastic blessing. Additionally, there may be a need for Trevor to pick up some work on the side, so if you know of anyone in need of a top-notch graphic designer, please keep us in mind!. >>>Newsflash Update: Wow! God so miraculously already answered this primary need. However, we do still desire your prayers. For a smooth transition, for His favor and direction in this new season for our family and ministry, for the safety/health/wholeness of our little one on the way, and for His continued favor and great blessing on Pastor David and Joy and Souls Harbour and Chris and Nikki and L.E.D/Oriel Ministries as they also enter new seasons and look to the Lord for His guidance and direction.
What if I have more questions?
If there’s something else you want to know or if you want more details on any of this, please just send us an email. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- The Smiths (UK for Jesus // OK for Jesus) 😉