Ready… Set… Go!
After two weeks of taking it easy to get situated in our new home and adjust to living in another country and culture, we’ve shifted into gear and are moving full speed ahead!
A quick recap for any new readers: we (the Smiths) have been sent by God to the UK to do three things: serve, evangelize and teach. We are serving the ministry of David Flanders, international evangelist and pastor of Souls Harbour Church in Camelford, Cornwall. We are evangelizing the nation through community and broader outreaches and ministry opportunities in association with David and on our own. We are teaching believers about ushering in God’s presence through worship, in principle and in practice.
Churches are very different here in England than they are in America. It would be uncommon to have a large congregation (like at The Crossing, for example) and even less common to have a large staff to oversee operations. While David has been greatly blessed with many gifted and capable leaders and volunteers to help keep things running for Souls Harbour, without the ability to pay a staff, it’s more difficult to put time and energy into making larger strides forward. With so much of the load falling back to David out of necessity, there’s just not time for much beyond ‘business as usual.’ However, with the miraculous events of the last several months (read this for a refresher), God has sent us - ordinary people from Texas - to come alongside David and help move Souls Harbour into its next season of growth and influence for the Kingdom. Thanks to the financial support and support commitments of friends, family and many others, we were able come here fully funded from America to serve David full-time. And by “serve” we truly mean just that… anything and everything that is needed that we are able to do.
This last Sunday was our first opportunity to minister together with David outside of Souls Harbour Church. We traveled to a small church about 30 minutes from Camelford, where Trev and I led some worship and David preached. It was wonderful… exciting and solidifying of the new ministry partnership that God has birthed between us. With each passing day, we come to better understand why God has us here. I mean, we knew before. After all, we had a poster with “UKFJ: Serve, Evangelize & Teach” up in The Crossing Cafe for a few months. BUT how that would actually evolve from vision into action couldn’t be fully determined in advance. Now that we are here, God is pulling back the curtain further on His plan - little by little, day by day.
I could easily type pages and pages telling you all about our experiences thus far, personally and in ministry. But in the interest of your time, dear reader (‘cause I’d really like you to keep reading future posts!), I’ll just highlight a few current ministry happenings this time around.
- Local Outreach: L.E.D. is a Christian band (dance/hip-hop style) based in Cornwall that reaches youth in a unique way through their relevant style and bold evangelistic message. Miraculously, the local secondary school (which hasn’t opened its doors to Christian groups in the last 25 years) has allowed them into the school for a full week to do workshops on various moral issues (drug & alcohol abuse, discrimination, sex, etc.) and, on Friday night, give a full concert. Throughout all of those workshops, scriptural principles will be carefully interwoven into the lessons. Then, at the concert, the Gospel message will be clearly delivered. We are bathing this event in prayer, and Trevor will get to go be a part of the activities at the school tomorrow. It’s anticipated that upwards of 30 kids may give their hearts to Jesus this week! That’s incredible!! But then what…?? That’s where Souls Harbour takes the helm. There will be a follow-up concert by L.E.D. here at the church in a month followed by events and discipleship classes throughout the summer break (mid-July to early September) for these young, new believers to learn about God and grow in their faith. Our presence here will lend much needed manpower and experience to David’s team. God’s timing is SO perfect!
- The Broader Mission Field: Sally. It’s not her real name, but she’s a teenage girl I met on Sunday night. She asked all about churches in America, especially if there were many young people. She was sincerely shocked and fascinated to hear that our churches are full of youth and college-age kids. In her community, she is considered an outcast by her peers for being a Christian and attending church. She longs for the salvation of her friends and for fellowship with like-minded people from her generation to be by her side as she walks out her faith day-to-day. I felt such compassion for this young lady, and at the same time my spirit was energized to glimpse the reality of the mission field that is all around us here. Whether we are to be seed-planters, waterers or harvesters - it doesn’t matter. We simply want to continue to walk in obedience and let God do whatever He wants, both in us and through us.
- “Serving” in Action: I will soon begin to assist in the church office with some basic administrative duties that David has had to handle himself, along with some broader organization and coordination to help things run smoothly. Trevor is already in full-swing as graphics-video-tech guy extraordinaire! He’s working on full corporate re-branding (updating the logo, etc.) and new signage for the building (the new signs will be donated… praise the Lord!). He’s already adjusted the chair formation in the sanctuary to better bridge across the two room sections that were awkwardly separated (we’ll post pictures at some point… it’s hard to comprehend if you’ve not seen it). He’s working on solving some projection issues due to the awkward shape/size of the room and so on. He has “Trevor-ized” the stage (if you know him, you know what that means!), and he’ll soon begin revamping the website, including getting David’s weekly messages up online. We’ll also be involved in supporting and enhancing the worship ministry here over the coming months, which will likely become the springboard for the UKFJ School of Worship.
Well, that will have to be enough for now. As always, we want to express our sincerest gratitude to all of you who are so faithfully supporting us through prayer and financial giving. God continues to pave the path before us and each day is an exciting adventure in faith. If you ever have any specific questions or want to know more about us or what we are doing, please feel free to respond to this (or any) post or send us a message on Facebook or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blessings & more to come very soon…
- Connie, Trevor & Brooklyn
p.s. I know that many of you are eager to hear more about how Brooklyn is adjusting to all of this. The short answer is: very well. But I’ll be sure to devote some “blog time” to that topic very soon!