According to the locals, this has been a very mild winter. I suppose the Lord decided to take it easy on us Texans for our first winter here in the UK and we are VERY appreciative! Of course, it’s still been much colder (for much longer) than we are used to, but it’s been a fun change. We were hoping for at least a little snow, but sadly it’s not looking likely this year.
Our visit back to Texas over the holidays was wonderful but seems like a distant memory already. Within just a few days of being back here, we were busy as bees back to the work the Lord has called us to. And it feels great! As fantastic as it was to be home and spend precious time with dear family and friends who we miss SO very much, we know that the Lord’s place for us in this season is here in England. So, it was good to get back and get busy. VERY busy!
Brooklyn has settled back in especially well and seems to enjoy pretty much every aspect of life here… friends, church, nursery school, farms, the seaside, etc. She also misses our family and friends greatly, but the magic of internet video calls helps them feel much closer. She regularly speaks of being “from Texas” and being “in England” and loves to paint and draw pictures of “roads” that easily connect the two places together. When Brooklyn was born, my primary goal was that she grow up near her grandparents… that her roots would be solidly intertwined with the stability and security that comes from being surrounded by family. Clearly, God’s plan for our family has required some adjustments to my plan. But when I think of how our move and these early life experiences will affect her, I see it being only for the better. Even though she is only 3, we are very descriptive to her in our explanations for why we have moved here and how important it is for our family to listen to God and obey Him in all things… even where we live. Really, it’s a joy for Trevor and I to see her growing up in an environment of ministry and outreach. My heart is sad that our family isn’t as close, but in this modern technological age, the distance doesn’t seem quite so far and when we are able to be together (like this last Christmas) we make the VERY most of it.
It’s been about 8 months since our big move to England and in the last few weeks, we have sensed God’s direction to us to fully settle in. In short, to begin establishing our roots here. As long as we view our time here as “temporary”, our ministry and our lives will feel that way too, which will affect our ability to be effective. Even though we don’t know if this is where we’ll be longer than the 3 years we have visas for, while we are here this is “home” and we need to view it that way and live that way… for our family and our ministry. So, with complete peace, we have started looking for a house to rent. Doing so was in our grand plan for 2012 anyway just because more space would be nice, but honestly we had found it hard to get our hearts aligned with the idea moving out of our tiny flat above the church. Stepping out to something else just seems so… risky. It will cost a lot more, will be less convenient, will “lock us in” for a period of time and we own basically nothing in the way of furniture and such. But in His gentle yet stern way, God reminded us that He is the one in charge of the where, when, why, how, etc. And for now, THIS is where He has planted us and, in order for us to be effective in ministry and stay strong as a family, we need to let our roots dig in and grow here. With that assurance, we are actually getting excited at the thought! Finding something close and affordable will be tricky, but with the miracles we’ve seen God do throughout our journey thus far, I suppose it’d be just plain silly for us to allow doubt or worry to creep in at this point!
Our work with Pastor David and Souls Harbour continues to keep us going at a strong pace. There are many exciting opportunities and events on the horizon, with many more still in the “dream” stage of development. But there have also been some unexpected hurdles to local outreach that could be discouraging if you look at them physically. However, we (UK for Jesus and Souls Harbour) choose to look at them spiritually and see it from a completely different perspective… as evidence that God is moving here and His enemy, the prince of this world, is getting worried and starting to up his game to fight back. He’s welcome to give it a go… but we all know who wins. 😉
The worship team development and kids club outreach ministry are going especially well. The church seems to be growing steadily too, as our seating has been at near capacity for several weeks in a row, to the point we are seriously considering what to do for more space… a very exciting problem to have! Here are some additional ministry and outreach events to please keep in prayer over the coming months:
- 22 February to 7 March: Pastor David & Joy travel to minister in Texas (they will be at The Crossing on the 26th!)
- 13 March: Walk His Trail with Steve Saint (the son of the missionaries whose incredible story has been told through multiple books and films, including “Through Gates of Splendor” and “End of the Spear”.)
- 24 March: iSpeak ministry training by Pastor David (we plan for the next one to include iWorship training and will promote it to the pastors and leaders at this event)
- 30 March: “I AM Amazing” teen girls retreat weekend presented by UK for Jesus and Souls Harbour
We are hopeful that this year will allow us some ministry opportunities across the UK and beyond, though we are currently praying about whether we should purchase a newer vehicle before making any major road trips. Our current car, lovingly dubbed “Miss Figgy”, has been a huge blessing, but her age and overall grumpy disposition are starting to manifest more regularly and are affecting her reliability. Recent repairs have her in decent form for getting us around locally, but sadly she’s not to be trusted for anything much beyond the next town or so.
As part of establishing our roots here, I’ve had to come to terms with another harsh reality… I MUST learn to drive here. Sigh. Just the thought makes me as nervous as my first day of high school, but I know it must be done. I’m slowly getting accustomed to the flow of traffic here (opposite side steering, lanes and all). But my primary fear still has a firm grip on me… a standard transmission. I suppose it’s a wee bit self-serving to ask you to pray that God’s next car for us is an automatic… but it can’t hurt, right?? Honestly, such vehicles are quite rare here, so I really must face reality and deal with with the fact that I will have to learn to drive a standard. Ugh. Please pray for me… and Trevor, since he’s the one who will have to teach me! We have a few more months before we can no longer legally drive using our U.S. licenses, so we’re researching driving schools (apparently at least 2 or so official lessons are required before you can take the driving test) and will soon apply for our provisional licenses… it’s like being 16 all over again!
As you can see, there are lots of exciting events, in our personal lives and in the broader ministry, to keep in prayer. We appreciate you all so much and it’s such a great comfort to have you along with us on this adventure. Blessings and favor over each of you as you pursue God and His plan for you and your family, and thank you so much for your prayer and support for us as we do the same.
Blessings and more to come soon…
- Connie, Trevor & Brooklyn