Looking Back & Moving Ahead
Somewhere in the course of the last 12 months, living and serving in full-time ministry in a tiny rural town in Cornwall, England, has become ‘normal’. We aren’t sure when the transition actually happened, but it has and now it’s hard to imagine life any other way!
Living and serving here for our first year has been full of challenges, blessings and surprises! God has proven himself faithful over and over and we’ve been especially blessed to be able to focus on the ministry tasks at hand because the incoming financial support throughout our first year was both steady and sufficient. The words ‘THANK YOU’ hardly seem adequate, but we do mean them from the very depths of our hearts and souls.
In each of our ministry reports, we typically include a personal update along with a summary of some of the things we are doing that are making a difference and are having an eternal impact on this region… the things that your support is making possible.
For this special ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY update, we thought you might enjoy hearing firsthand from those we are serving and working with here about the GOD-SIZED impact that YOU are enabling. You see, when you sow into UKFJ through prayer or finances, you are joining us on the mission field. YOU are making an eternal difference in a community on the other side of the world. Perhaps you are unable to “go” in the physical sense of the word, but by giving to UKFJ and other missions ministries, you become God’s hand of provision for those He has sent out.
- Please CLICK HERE to read several short testimonials from members of the church and community, with a special opening entry by Pastor David Flanders of Souls Harbour Church.
- Also, you can CLICK HERE for a list the ministry activities that we are currently involved with that fall into UKFJ’s three goals: SERVE, EVANGELIZE, and TEACH.
(Pic: Trevor & Brooklyn with Pastor David and Joy Flanders)
The fruit of what the Lord is doing here is encouraging and exciting, and the fields are ripening for an even greater harvest! We ask that you prayerfully consider whether God would have you begin or continue to financially sow into UK for Jesus. Whether it’s $5 (£3) a month or $500 (£318), your financial support is a vital part of making this ministry possible each and every day. As a reminder, if you give to us through the The Crossing Church, your gifts are tax deductible in the U.S.A. If you are not concerned about receiving a tax benefit for your donations, you may give to us directly as well. The details for how to give are below, along with details about our current expenses.
We have watched God miraculously provide from the first moment that this ministry journey began, and we know that He will continue to do so. Our role in all of this is simply to ask Him what’s next, listen for the answer, then obey with no questions asked. As such, it’s our great privilege to continue serving in full-time ministry here in England until the Lord says otherwise. Again, thank you to the many who have prayed for us and the many who have given financially (often quite sacrificially). YOU ARE MAKING AN ETERNAL DIFFERENCE!
Hugs, blessings, and more to come soon…
- Connie, Trevor & Brooklyn Smith (UK for Jesus)
* * * * * * * * *
WAYS TO GIVE
- Become a monthly supporter (for 6 months, 12 months or indefinitely).
- Give a one-time gift.
- Give to meet a specific need named below (one-time or as an ongoing ‘sponsor’).
HOW TO GIVE
- You can give online or by check or money order.
- Please CLICK HERE for quick & easy instructions for either method of giving.
UKFJ FINANCIAL OVERVIEW
// Our Current Expenses
To date, our monthly donations have averaged out around $2500, which converts into just under £1600. Here’s an approximate look at how our ongoing expenses break down right now:
- Tithe: £160 ($250) Just as we would do with income from any other job, at least 10% of the money that comes in to us is put back into the church or another ministry as our tithe.
- Rent, phone, internet, electric, water, housing tax, & housing insurance: £900 ($1,415) Since we’ve only lived in our 2 bedroom bungalow for 1 month, we don’t really know what our utilities will run. So, some of this is based on the estimates provided by the utility companies for a family our size in a house this size in our area.
- Heating oil (hot water & home heating): filling the 1200 liter oil tank 3/4-full costs £500 ($786) at present rates and should last about 6 months. It’s been a cooler-than-usual summer, so we’ll definitely need to refill before winter.
- Petrol (fuel): Filling up our economy-sized Ford Focus’ tank costs about £60 ($95) each time. We walk as much as possible, but in this large rural area, the need to drive is inevitable. Depending on what’s going on we might fill up anywhere from 1 to 3 times per month, on average.
- Road Tax & Car Insurance: Annual tax is around £170 ($268) and insurance is approximately £500 ($785). Both are due for renewal in August. (We do save significantly by paying the full insurance amount upfront rather than monthly.)
- Our Tiny Dancer: Longing for Brooklyn to be rooted in the community in her own right and develop what we see as a very special gift within her, we do have her enrolled in a small group dance class that meets here in our church hall each week. Some might consider this as a non-necessity, but we believe it’s right for her for this season. Her two classes are £7.50 ($12) a week. We will readily give up something else if necessary to ensure this can continue. [UPDATE, July 3 - This need has been sponsored through the end of 2012. Thank you, Lord, and thank you to our generous sponsor!]
- Food, household supplies, ministry supplies and other basics very quickly take up the rest.
So, you can see that if our incoming finances hold steady at $2500 (£1600), we’ll be cutting it very close, but we should just make it on a month-to-month basis (though some of the larger upfront items will be a stretch). The wish list items listed below, and any unforeseen expenses, are also above and beyond this.
// Our 2012 Wish List:
- A 2-3 week visit home to Texas (£2230-£2865/$3500-$4500). We actually have a return ticket for mid-August (a few weeks from now) back to Houston, we just don’t have the funds (without borrowing from our emergency fund) to then buy tickets back here. The trip would be for the purposes of ministering, providing an in-person ministry update to our supporters and to spend some precious time with our family and close friends, whom we greatly miss. [UPDATE, July 14 - This “wish” has been miraculously sponsored! Thank you, Lord, and thank you to our very generous sponsor! We prayed just last night that God would please give us crystal clear direction as to whether we should plan our trip home. Today we received the news! God answers prayer!!!]
- Sofa (£400-£600/$630-$950), TV (£400-£500/$630-$785) and Microwave (£85/$135) for our home. We have all of these things but they are borrowed from the church flat. That flat is intended to stay functional for guests and such, so we are eager to return these as soon as possible. However, we find such items to be so very expensive. We have been searching the secondhand shops diligently for the furniture, but we have a very small family room, so finding something suitable in good condition has been difficult. Most of our other furnishings were graciously donated for our long-term use. Thank you, Lord! [UPDATE, July 12 - We have found and purchased both a microwave and a sofa for our home!]
- A trampoline for Brooklyn (£150/$236). This might not be a necessity, but it would be a great blessing for our tiny missionary. She tags along to a majority of what we do and probably has the most inconsistent schedule of any toddler in England. She is a trooper and is a hands-on part of our ministry. When we do have time for her to be at home to just play and be a kid, this would be an amazing joy for her (and would help empty her bottomless energy bucket!). 😉
// Expenses June 2011 - June 2012 (Year 1)
You might recall that for most of the last 12 months, we didn’t have our own place. We were incredibly blessed to start off in a small one-room flat above the church, which meant our only set expenses were a contribution toward utilities, then phones, food and transport. This allowed us to do several things this last year that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible. To name a few of the ‘biggies’:
- We purchased some specialized equipment and software that was critical to getting ‘set-up’ once here.
- We have been able to put extra money towards special needs at Souls Harbour and help fund special events like the teen girls retreat this last March.
- We bought a newer, more reliable used vehicle (2003 Ford Focus), which gives us the freedom and confidence to travel for ministry further from our ‘home base’ in Camelford. It also gives us better gas mileage, which makes a HUGE difference with petrol prices as they are.
- We recorded a 6 song worship CD (of original worship music written by Trevor) for use as a ministry tool. This is still in progress and should be available within the next month or so. (The story of how this came to be is another amazing miracle!)
- We got to spend a few days in London when some of our dearest friends came to visit us, and we were able travel home over Christmas to see family and friends. What a special blessing this was to all of us!
Most of our ministry expenses - even with living overseas - aren’t considered deductible expenses according to the USA’s IRS Tax Code. As ‘ministers of religion’ in the UK, we are essentially self-employed from a U.S. tax standpoint, meaning a much higher tax on any income (donations) we receive. However, the cost of the recording we’ve just finished up is a deductible business expense, which will have a positive impact on our tax burden for 2012 and means that more of your donations for this year will be used for ministry, rather than for paying taxes.
We also try to keep at least $5,000 (£3,180) as “untouchable” emergency savings. So far, this remains intact.
God is our Provider and He has provided miraculously for us in ways that only HE can be given credit for. We know that if we are faithful to HIS plan, He will be faithful to take care of us. Thank you for taking time to read this and thank you again for your ongoing prayer and support.
- Email: email@UKforJesus.com
- UK Ministry Mailing Address: Trevor Smith, Souls Harbour Church, The Clease, Camelford, Cornwall, PL32 9QX, UK (please contact us directly for our personal home address, if needed).
- USA Ministry Mailing Address (checked and scanned over to us by my wonderful parents!): UK for Jesus, PO Box 411, New Waverly, TX 77358, USA
(Pic: Our sweet & sassy Brooklyn)