Marching Orders (Jan 2019)
Dear UKFJ Friends, Followers and Supporters,
Happy New Year! Can you believe it’s 2019? We have exciting things on the horizon, so here’s your exclusive peek into what’s ahead!
When UK for Jesus was founded in 2011, God gave us 3 clear objectives: serve, evangelise and teach. We originally did that for 2.5 years with Souls Harbour Church primarily, and by providing side support to our friends’ youth outreach work through Oriel Ministries. After returning to the US for 3.5 years, we clearly heard God say He had more for us to do in Cornwall, so we took another massive leap of faith and returned. This time, we partnered with Oriel for our primary ministry work.
From August 2017 and throughout 2018, we were involved in several high-impact ministry projects through Oriel’s work; however, as God has birthed and inspired His more specific call to us over this time, the vision He’s grown within our hearts is not exclusive to youth work and, therefore, falls beyond the primary vision and mission of Oriel’s organisation. As such, our visa sponsorship (a legal requirement for us to be here) has been shifted back over to Souls Harbour Church, where we’ll provide much-needed help to Pastor David, our church family and community ministries, and through pastoral and operational roles, also have the ability and opportunity to expand our work and impact across a wider reach.
Coming from the "buckle" of the US Bible-belt, this country is the polar opposite in terms of culture and the “norm.” Being bold for Christ takes on an entirely different meaning here. In fact, our own daughter (age 10) recently experienced religious persecution, as she was mocked and bullied by a group of children specifically because of her Christian faith. Fortunately, through church and StarGirlz (the local tween/teen girls discipleship group run by Oriel), she has some Christian friends to grow in faith with. Beyond that, she pushes through, shows kindness, loves unconditionally, stays strong and shines brightly for Jesus everyday in her own little sphere of influence. As a family, we are called to do the same… in our daily lives here and as ministers, ambassadors for Christ.
So, with a new year upon us and new vision leading us, here’s the big picture of what’s to come for UKFJ. (Not forgetting the many aspects of ministry that will carry on with worship, speaking, special events, etc.)
This is a highly rural region. Generally, church communities here are quite small (avg 20-80). Most staff are part-time and voluntary. Specialised skills are much harder to come by but are desperately needed to reach and connect to an evolving culture that is fast-paced, online-based and sensory-driven. We are blessed to give of our time and talents to support Pastor David Flanders and Souls Harbour. He already has a fantastic team of people who do an amazing job leading many aspects of church ministry (worship teams, children’s workers, multi-media support, community outreach groups, etc.). We’ll be able to supplement this, helping them progress in some areas and break new ground in others.
We have found that many up-and-coming (i.e., younger) leaders are being raised up to have the direct ministry impact and influence to this generation of young people (in place of us “oldies,” haha!). But they need support - training, teaching, guidance, coaching - to fill that role effectively. The same is true for many church workers - worship leaders, youth workers, other leaders (who, in this area, are nearly all exclusively voluntary/unpaid roles) - who are eager to serve and fill a need but don’t always have much in the way of experience and/or resources. They need support, encouragement and sometimes even basic practical training to be effective in their calling to support their local church and its critically-needed impact to their community. We are excited about an initiative we are calling “GROW” to create training networks and connect groups across the churches and ministries in this region. From practical to spiritual to apologetics and much more, this will be another way to inspire, equip and enable God’s frontline here in Cornwall.
The creative arts provide a unique opportunity to share our faith in a relatable way: life stories. Everyone has or will experience love, loss, worry, pain, confusion, hope, disappointment, joy, excitement, etc. God has truly gifted Trevor to capture his own life story - the many ups and downs and God’s presence through it all - through lyric and song. With moving melodies, memorable lyrics and his Texas-style country roots showing through, the stories and songs capture and connect to an audience in a truly special way. For this branch of outreach ministry (which is separate from our worship music ministry), we’ve taken an old family name from Trevor’s lineage and have coined ourselves “The Jeffcoats.” We’re excited to develop and utilise this outreach tool more broadly both inside and outside the walls of the church to reach and impact our community.
Well, that about sums it up! Now settled into our new home (thank you, Jesus!) and coming off of the Christmas holiday break with our children, we’ll be kicking into gear and getting busy about Kingdom business here on our assigned mission field. Thank you, as always, for your faithful prayer and support. We hope you’ll carry on with us for this next leg of the journey!
Many blessings and more to come soon,
- The Smiths // Trevor, Connie, Brooklyn & Lincoln // UK for Jesus
GET IN TOUCH
- Do you have any questions about UK for Jesus and our mission? We’d love to hear from you.
- Are you local to the UK and want to connect for ministry ideas or opportunities? Let’s have a coffee!
- Does the spiritual plight of this country prick your heart and cause something to leap within you? You can partner with us in prayer or financial support to be an active part of God’s work here through UKFJ. On that note, here are a few extra details that are worth noting:
- As an officially IRS-designated 501(c)(3) charitable organisation, all US donations to UK for Jesus are fully tax-deductible.
- Financial support is greatly needed, whether from home in the USA or locally in the UK. If you want to give but aren’t sure how or have questions, just get in touch.
- All general donations (save a tiny bit for administrative costs tied to web, banking, etc.) go directly to support our family’s living expenses in the UK, which are higher than the US and not helped by exchange rates.
- We may do some additional fundraising efforts for extra costs related to specific ministry projects, so keep an eye out if you feel drawn to help in a certain area.