Saying Goodbye (Nov 2013)
Trevor and I had spent our entire lives at ‘home’. Neither of us went off to college away from home. Home had always been right there; family had always been close by. So, when we made the move from Texas to Cornwall, England in 2011, it was very hard. It was hard to pick up and leave everything we’d ever known (literally) and ‘start over’ an ocean away from anything or anyone familiar. But we knew it was God’s perfect plan, and in spite of our fears and sadness, we did it eagerly and with great excitement and anticipation.
And you know what? God took care of everything. Upon our arrival in Camelford we were greeted by family. People, most of whom we’d never met, who welcomed us as though they had always known us - as though we were blood relations or lifelong friends who had just been away for an extended time. We were immediately and completely accepted and made to feel ‘at home’.
Having never been away from home for more than a few months at a time prior to this experience, we never would have guessed that such deep ties could be formed in such a short time. Yes, we’ve been here 2.5 years, but in the grand scheme of things, that’s only a blink of an eye… just a moment in time. And yet, the relationships we have established here are so genuine and so cherished. It feels like we are leaving ‘home’ all over again. And it’s hard. There have been many tears shed and many more will come in these last two weeks and even in the months to come.
While we came here on a God-given mission to ‘serve, evangelize and teach,’ which we have done, we readily admit that we are leaving feeling like the greater impact has actually been on us. God sent us here to ‘do’ things, but He also had plenty that HE wanted to ‘do’ not just through us, but IN us. We are forever changed for the better because of our time of service here. Our family has grown in ways that would never have been possible in the ‘status quo’ of our life in Texas. We have experienced a way of life and community that has opened our eyes and hearts to a greater understanding and appreciation of what’s really important in life. We have gained a clearer picture of God’s character and His heart for us and for mankind. We have freely given of ourselves but have gained back even more in the friendship, generosity and love that has flowed from the people here.
And now we will soon reach the point of actually saying ‘goodbye’. Two weeks from today, we will be on our way back to Texas and within a few weeks of that, relocating permanently to Oklahoma (that exciting story is posted here if you missed it). So much is changing and so quickly. But once again, we see the Lord’s hand in it and, therefore, move forward with confidence and peace - excited to see what God will do and how this next season of ministry will further mold us into vessels optimised for His service.
While our last official blog as UK for Jesus could easily be a (hopefully) impressive list of all the wonderful things we feel we’ve accomplished in ministry over these 2.5 years, we feel strongly that this final post shouldn't be about us. It just can’t be. Instead, we want to give honour and appreciation to our family here in Camelford - those who have embraced us, loved us, supported us and encouraged us as only family does; as well as the community that has accepted us and allowed us to feel as if this were our second hometown. We’ve come to know shopkeepers, teachers, neighbours and many others that we simply ‘pass by’ day after day through the hustle and bustle of small town life. We have been so very blessed here and will miss everyone greatly.
To our Souls Harbour Family (plus a few others not tied to the church)… You have become friends, but much more than that. You have been ‘stand in’ parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, sisters and brothers and so many other roles, looking after our family and helping us in countless ways. You’ve invited us into your homes, allowed us to be a part of your intimate worlds… even welcoming us into your family holiday traditions and joining us for a few of our own. From the very depths of our hearts, we thank you.
A moment in time that we will never forget was July 4, 2011. We had been in Camelford nearly 1 month. Everything was still so new, and we were just getting fully settled into our little flat over the church. The Flanders (Pastor David and Joy) invited our family over to their place for a meal. However, we were stunned and brought to tears by what actually awaited us. As we entered their home, the Star Spangled Banner was blasting over their stereo. A huge American Flag was hanging in the back garden (yard) and a the grill was fired up with Master Griller David making some of the best steaks we have ever had. Just the depth of thought and consideration that went into that one little afternoon was overwhelming and will be marked on our hearts forever.
There are many more special moments and memories just like the one above, and there simply are not words meaningful enough to express our gratitude for and to these precious people God has allowed us to meet, grow close to, learn from and serve alongside. If we began listing out the many people and memories that have meant so much to us, this post would run on for pages and pages and then some. So, while we’ll give most of our individual thanks to people directly over the coming weeks, please know that it is with the utmost honesty and sincerity that we say, “We love you all dearly and will miss you more than you will ever know. Thank you so much for everything. You will truly hold a special place in our hearts forever. We hope it won’t be too long before we can come for a visit and see you all again. In the meantime, you are in our hearts and prayers, and we’ll be staying in touch! GOD BLESS YOU ALL!”
Of course, this final post wouldn’t be complete without also once more thanking the many amazing friends and family members in the USA who have so generously given of their time, finances and prayers to make this amazing adventure in ministry and life possible. To God be all the glory, and may His richest blessings be upon each and every one of you.
With all our love,
Trevor, Connie, Brooklyn & Baby Lincoln (due 26 Feb 2014)
UK for Jesus
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Update: Saying goodbye on that day was one of the hardest things we have ever done. I’m pretty sure I cried all the way to London, and then much of the flight back to Houston.