New Beginnings (Aug 2017)
It's a cool, rainy day. I'm typing at a worn victorian-era desk from a historic, mid-terrace house situated right in the middle of town that we now call home. And outside our home is parked a used but reliable, little miniature-minivan like vehicle that can carry our family and Trev’s gear. Brooklyn started school here this week and Lincoln’s accent is evolving by the second.
Thank you for your prayers and encouragement during this time! None of it has been easy. In fact, it’s been one unusual and frustrating hurdle after another — international financial red tape, newly purchased cars breaking down, important deliveries being missed, utility costs being way higher than expected and so on. But we are deeply thankful for God’s provision and guidance to bring us through this crucial phase of re-establishing the basics of life, so that we can begin with full focus the ministry work He’s called us here to do.
Starting over is a daunting task. And we are keenly aware that so many in our home state of Texas are dealing with the same thing, but not by calling or choice. The extent of the devastation there from hurricane Harvey has been hard to process, especially being so far away. But it’s been inspiring to watch people selflessly give and serve to help each other in any and every way possible. Truly God’s love in action.
Okay, so here are some quick-hit updates that should pretty much cover all the bases.
UPCOMING MINISTRY & OUTREACH
- CHURCH TOUR: Most Sundays over the next two months we’ll be with Oriel Ministries in different churches around Cornwall to share about outreach work and to inspire sponsorships for the upcoming Innocence Girls Conference. (More on that event below). Each conference place costs £50 ($66) and many of the girls who want — and need — to go aren’t able to afford it. However, typically by the end of the church tour all registered girls who've requested financial assistance are able to be covered. Praise the Lord! Our first stop was two weeks ago at Scorrier Christian Fellowship in Redruth (quick video: click here) and we are extra-excited that our next tour stop this weekend is at our very own home church here, Souls Harbour in Camelford.
- ALL SAINTS ACADEMY: In two weeks, we’ll be doing a 2-week-long event at All Saints Academy in Plymouth, England, interacting with over 930 students while there. While this school is sponsored by the Church of England, it is a public school and young people from all walks of life and faiths attend. Please stand with us in prayer that eyes will be opened and lives will be set free as we share the great news of God's amazing love and grace.
- INNOCENCE GIRLS CONFERENCE (Promo video: click here) This incredible outreach event is the only one of it’s kind in this region of the country. Founded by Oriel Ministries and going into its 4th year, it’s a full 12-hour day of God’s Word, love and perspective being poured into 150+ tween and teen girls from all across the Southwest of England. Many of these girls have never been to church and have never been told that they are fearfully and wonderfully made and that their life has a purpose. They don’t know that their worth isn’t based on their physical appearance or that they don’t have to face the struggles and challenges of life on their own. From a red carpet entrance to fun and unique activities to intimate small group discussions, the day is life-changing for each girl, and for many it marks the beginning of their faith journey. We are part of the core team of the event, so we’ll be touching every aspect of the planning, prep and execution, and Connie will be speaking for a few sessions as well. Your prayers for this event and for the many young girls who will be there are so appreciated.
SPECIAL THANKS & PRAISE REPORTS
- CAR: Thank you for the many prayers to help us be able to get a car! After two disastrous attempts at purchasing older used cars, God provided the needed funds for something newer and more reliable and we are so grateful! For a quick video from that special day, click here! And a special thanks to Chris & Nikki who ferried us around until we had our own car, and to Pastor David for getting us to Souls Harbour on Sundays!
- TEMP HOUSING: We just want to give a major shout-out to Roger & Liz who so generously opened their home to us for our first several weeks here. It was such a blessing to have somewhere to “land” upon arrival and stay comfortably during the transition. Thank you!
- HOME: The sale of our house in Oklahoma, which had been at risk of not closing as planned, DID close as planned on 9/1. This just so happened to be the very same day we spent our very first night in our new home that we’ve rented here in England. Praise the Lord! A balanced mix of second-hand bargain shopping (for big furniture items), Amazon and local shops (for some things you just need new) and loaned/gifted items from friends (while we await our crate) has us mostly furnished and our house feeling like a home.
- CLEANING: Our new house really needed a good cleaning. Thank you to the ladies (Joy, Tamsin, Amanda, and Judith) from our Souls Harbour church family who came over to help us make it shine and sparkle! (Oh yes, and Pastor David and the kids helped too!)
- SUPPORT: It is because of YOU, our financial and prayer partners, that we are here and have such amazing opportunities to bring the HOPE of Jesus to the upcoming generation here. Thank you!
- Ministry events. Please pray for the events mentioned above. We know God is going to do great things, and we’ll be reporting back on each event soon!
- Monthly support. Our work here is full-time ministry service. We must raise our own financial support to do this, and we still have a shortfall of ongoing monthly donations to support the much higher cost of living here. For example, it takes about £80 ($106) to fill up our mid-size car with fuel. Any amount, no matter how small, can make a huge difference, especially on a regular basis.
- School transition. Our 9-year-old daughter Brooklyn is off to a great start in school socially, which is such a relief. However, the learning curve will be steep because of the differences in culture, curriculum and approaches to learning. She’s a smart cookie, but please pray that she won’t become stressed or overwhelmed as the pace picks up in the coming weeks.
And now to close with a few random facts you might enjoy!
- The house we are renting here is over 200 years old and is a Grade II Listed Property (protected and preserved as a historical building).
- Living on — and having to parallel park on — a VERY steep hill is terrifying (Says Connie. Trevor says it’s no biggie. Of course, Trevor is the only one who’s done it. Connie just closes her eyes and prays for the rapture.)
- There’s a real castle (well, its ruins) at the top of the hill right around the corner from our house and a steam railway at the bottom of the hill.
- We've started a new video series to let you experience Cornwall with us. For video #1, click here!
Well, if you actually made it to the end of this lengthy update, thank you. We love you all, miss you and will check in again soon. Thank you again for your amazing prayer and support. HUGS & BLESSINGS!
- The Smiths (Trevor, Connie, Brooklyn & Lincoln / UK for Jesus)