Hello & Happy Christmas! (Dec 2017)
Our little family has been on mission in the UK for just over 4 months now, and there’s so much to share! It's seriously mind-blowing that December is here and Christmas and the New Year are upon us. So, news and pics coming right up!
MINISTRY WORK WITH ORIEL
We are honored to serve with an established Christian charity here called Oriel Ministries. It’s run by our best friends, Chris & Nikki Uglow, and we've joined up with them for this new season of missions service in the UK. Below are the key ministry projects we’ve been focused on since arrival. (And in case you missed it, here's a fun video tour down our BIG hill from our house to the ministry office.)
- Innocence Girls Conference - On October 26th, 118 teen and tween girls from across Cornwall and Devon (counties, like our “states”) gathered for this amazing event, which is the only of its kind in this country. Completely evangelistic in nature, the aim of the day is to bring hope. While this was the 4th year of the conference, over 80 girls were attending for the first time. Some were from churches around the area but many were unsaved and unchurched, invited by friends or through the public schools work that Oriel Ministries does throughout the year. In the midst of having a blast in fun workshops on crafts, dancing, cupcake decorating, singing, drama, make-up, skin care and more, the girls also attended seminar sessions throughout the day to hear critical messages like they are loved by God. They are valuable. They have a purpose. They aren’t alone. Their future is bright and full of hope and potential. They received practical advice on how to face the very real struggles and challenges in their life such as dating, self-esteem and change. At the final seminar of the day, 49 girls responded to the presentation of the gospel and had a conversation and prayer with an adult leader to accept Christ, rededicate their life to Him, or seek prayer or advice for a personal need or struggle. PRAISE THE LORD! Beyond that, many, many seeds were well-planted into hearts. We are now in the process of personal follow-up with each girl who responded, including connecting some to local churches and youth leaders and/or Christian counselors and inviting them to join StarGirlz. Don't miss the event highlight video… it’s fantastic!
- StarGirlz - We are super excited about the newly formed follow-up to Innocence, which is called StarGirlz. It’s still in its infancy and will surely evolve over time, but initially this will be a community of girls who meet fortnightly (that’s every two weeks, for our USA peeps who don’t use such words!) for encouragement and Bible study and to connect with mentors to walk alongside them on their faith journey. (FB: https://www.facebook.com/stargirlzuk or IG: https://www.instagram.com/stargirlzuk)
- Technical & Admin - A BIG part of what we do is in the nuts-and-bolts aspect of running a dynamic outreach ministry. There’s the outward ministry-in-action part, but to make that possible, there are loads of things going on behind the scenes… calls, emails, meetings, spreadsheets (So. Many. Spreadsheets.), designing, building, programming, printing, planning, organizing, calculating, mailing and so on. It’s a lot, but God has gifted us for these tasks, and we’re blessed to use them for His purposes.
- Worship & Music Ministry - We are honored to lead the worship ministry branch of Oriel. It’s something they’ve been asked to facilitate in various situations for many years but haven’t been able to do so.Going into the new year, we’ll be expanding this even further, including a coffee shop/cafe tour around the county as an evangelistic outreach through song and testimony.
- Projects for the New Year: Planning for 2018 is well underway. You’ll be hearing more from us after the first of the year about the exciting ministry projects God is leading us to focus on for the year to come!
OTHER MINISTRY WORK
CHURCH LIFE: We’re blessed to attend our home church of Souls Harbour, where we previously served full time from 2011 to 2013. They really are like our family after having been fully involved in every single aspect of ministry there for over two years. This time, we aren’t as involved because we live in a different town and our primary work is with Oriel, but we are there most Sundays (unless ministering at a service or event elsewhere) and at special events, etc. We help out with worship here and there, Trevor was honored to preach back in November and Connie spoke at their very first Ladies Ornament Exchange in early December. We're also hosting a young adults group in our home once a month. Most of these “young adults” were just barely teenagers when we came here before. It’s amazing to see how God has grown them into such awesome young men and women, full of His love and serving him and His church faithfully.
FAMILY LIFE: We’ve settled in well to our new routine here. The kids absolutely love school. Both kids are making friends. They still have moments of sadness and tears, remembering and missing dear friends and family back home. But even at their young ages, they recognize the significance of our move here and are embracing the adventure.
- Shipment from USA: You might remember that we were incredibly blessed to have the overseas shipment of some of our personal items sponsored. Well, our crate finally arrived on October 27th, THE VERY DAY AFTER the big girls conference! So, at the peak of our exhaustion, we pressed through and started unpacking. We love our home here and had already been able to make it warm and homey, but it was still generic — it could have been anyone’s home or just a furnished rental. So, now having our very own things here… our family pictures on the walls… our favorite things on display like always… it truly feels like “our” home. We are so deeply grateful for this blessing.
- The Holiday Season: In American tradition, we hosted full-blown Thanksgiving Feast for some of our “framily” here. It’s a novelty for them since Thanksgiving is specifically an American holiday. That was a wonderful time and now the Christmas season is in full swing. Being away from family over these holidays will be difficult. Some of our family has experienced some hard blows in recent months and not being there as support isn’t easy. But we are where God wants us, and we are thankful to have our Cornish family to celebrate and make memories with. We are also so thankful for modern technology that allows us to see, hear and interact with our family nearly anywhere, anytime (keeping the 6 hour difference in mind, of course!).
- Driving: In other news, I (Connie) have become more and more confident with driving here and even (GASP!) parallel parking on our crazy hill. I can only drive on my USA license for up to 12 months, and must take and pass their driving tests to get a UK license. My theory (written) test is at the beginning of January, then my actual driving test will be a few weeks after. It’s crazy to have been driving for over 25 years and suddenly have to have lessons, learn a totally different set of rules and expectations, etc. BUT once it’s done, it’s done! And, I’m so ready for it to be done!!
Y’all are so awesome. It’s wonderful to get messages here and there by text, Facebook or email saying you miss us, you’re thinking of us or praying for us. For all the awesomeness of this great ministry adventure, it’s not easy. At all. The more dramatic your pursuit of God’s call, the more intense the enemy’s attack to distract, derail and hinder. We haven’t been immune from such attacks, and we greatly appreciate your continued prayers. Here are a few other specific things we appreciate your standing in agreement with us for:
- Health: Trevor has struggled with feeling unwell a lot lately, including migraines. And, of course, settling in a new place means a physical adjustment and new allergy struggles, etc., for everyone.
- Finances: We are so deeply thankful for the monthly support that comes in, however ongoing it isn’t quite enough to cover expenses. We are blessed to have surplus from the one-time gifts that were made initially, but over time that will be diminished. We are praying for additional monthly support to come in on a regular basis.
- Nana’s Travel: Many of you know Nana. Trevor’s sweet momma. She moved to Oklahoma upon retiring to be near us, and we enjoyed 3 full years with her in our every-day lives. We would love her to come for a visit here. As a retiree on a small fixed income, it’s gonna take a miracle. SHE DIDN’T ASK US TO MENTION THIS (and may even scold us for doing so!). We just know that a miracle is required, and we’d love you all to agree with us in prayer for that miracle to happen. THANK YOU! (Note: Of course, we want ALL of our family to be able to visit, but other factors prohibit such visits just now, thus the more specific prayer plea for Nana at this time).
For the many who gave one-time donations to UK for Jesus as we started this journey to the several who continue giving ongoing in support of our mission, you will receive giving statements for your tax filing purposes. They will be provided by the end of January. And, of course, THANK YOU!
Well, that’s it for now. We love and appreciate you all dearly and are so thankful for your faithful prayer and financial support. In case you don’t follow us on social media, you can check out our YouTube channel for video updates. We haven’t done as many lately now that the daily routine of life has us going, going, going. BUT they will pop up from time to time, so if you subscribe, you won't miss them!
Praying "God's best" over you and yours this Christmas and in the New Year!
- Trevor, Connie, Brooklyn & Lincoln // UK for Jesus