Sweet Fruit (Mar 2018)
“Connie?” I heard a soft voice speak my name with slight uncertainty. “Yes!” I replied as I turned to see a young girl, about 11, standing in front of me. A brief but sweet conversation followed where I learned that she remembered me from the Innocence Girls Conference she’d attended last October. She became a Christian that day. I now see her every two weeks at our new girls discipleship group.
God is doing great things and it’s a privilege to serve into His work here in many different ways. Oftentimes outreach and evangelistic work can mean a lot of seed planting and watering. In this case, we’re getting to see some of the fruit as well, and it’s truly an inspiration to dig deeper into God’s purposes for us here. In the meantime, we do our best to execute the many tasks He’s already given us with enthusiasm and excellence.
Our new discipleship group for girls, which launched at the end of February, is off to a great start. Held at the ministry offices where we work with Oriel Ministries, girls come in for a 2-hour event, every two weeks. Those meetings are packed from start to finish with fun, encouragement and foundational teaching to help girls ages 9-18 grow in their Christian faith. Because some of these girls don’t have many (or any!) Christian friends or family members, StarGirlz provides a community of like-minded girls to unite and grow together in faith and friendship. Brooklyn (nearly 10) attends and has thoroughly enjoyed every moment.
Innocence Girls Conference
Trevor has just finished a full website revamp for this amazing annual tween and teen girls conference that will be in its 5th year this October. The new site reflects the perfect blend of fun and elegance that this event provides. Even better, it’s going to help us automate some of the more tedious administration processes, freeing us up to focus less on paperwork and more on ministry! YES! The website is also home to all our StarGirlz content, including up-to-date event details, encouraging blogs and inspiring videos. To find out more about the vision and purpose of Innocence (or StarGirlz), just check out the website at www.Innocence.me.uk.
Young Adults Discipleship
We continue to enjoy hosting a small group of young adults from our church in our home once a month. We’re working through a leadership course with them and, really, it’s just as impactful for us as it is them!
Oriel continues to go into schools on a regular basis, leading student assemblies and various lessons. While the opportunity to speak about God and Christianity in the schools is quickly diminishing as RE (religious education) seems to be phasing out, they are still able to teach lessons addressing moral and social issues, such as identity, self-worth, anti-bullying, self-harm, sex and relationships and so on. Talk about some tricky topics! Students are then invited to an event outside of school time where they will experience an amazing concert full of positive messages, personal testimonies and the gospel. They will have the opportunity to respond in some way and be linked to a local church or youth group for follow-up. (More on this in the next section.)
We miss getting to attend our home church of Souls Harbour regularly, but we are thankful for the many doors God has opened for us to travel to various churches to lead worship, share the vision of Oriel, and inspire partnership for local outreach and follow-up in the community. Anytime we do outreach work, it’s critical that there is a plan for follow-up in place, so impacted young people have ready access to Christian support and resources. This is where partnering with local churches is so very critical.
Further, when we visit churches we are also able to share the vision and impact of the Innocence Girls Conference and raise financial support to sponsor the ticket cost for girls who might not otherwise be able to go. While the cost of the event is about £150 per girl to put on, we only charge £50 in an effort to make it affordable in this poor and deprived area and then rely on God to bring in the resources to cover the balance. He has done it every year so far. Praise God! Please be praying for this year that, once again, the provision will come.
We are excited to begin a new branch of ministry over the coming months as God brings opportunities. Trevor has always been a songwriter. He has written literally hundreds of songs. Many worship, many singer/songwriter. The latter is the area that God is opening new doors, seemingly out of the blue (only to us, of course) – outreach events in festival settings where songs and testimonies that share intimate stories of life, love, loss and faith can have a tremendous impact as people sit, listen and relate. In a surprise twist, Trevor’s Texas roots have kicked in and there’s a bit of classic country flair in his latest original music, which the folks here seem to really enjoy! We look forward to seeing how God will use this for His purposes and glory.
Other Bits & Pieces
As usual, for as much “outward” ministry we get to do, there’s double (maybe triple?) the amount of behind-the-scenes work that must also be done. Technical, admin, management and so much more. But God is good. He’s helping our team become more cohesive, find ways to work smarter, not harder, and strive to maintain an appropriate balance of ministry and family, which we are constantly reminded by our mentors is so crucially important.
We’ve been here nearly 8 months now. The kids are well settled and enjoying school, and God is bringing new friends to our family, which is a sweet gift after having left so many behind. We’ve had visitors come to stay with us, which is so fun because it gives us a nudge to get out and explore the rich beauty and history of this area. Whilst it’s quite rare to get snow here, this winter has gone rogue and we’ve had 2 major snow storms resulting in 3 snow days! In other news, I now officially have my UK driver’s license. Hallelujah! Trust me, unless you’ve lived through it, you simply cannot appreciate the level of stress involved in preparing for and passing the driving test here. I am SO glad that’s over!
Ta Ta for Now
We love and miss you, friends and family, and we hope this update finds you well! Thank you, as always, for your continued prayers, encouragement and financial support. Without it, we couldn’t be here doing this. Your giving and prayers also make you a part of this kingdom work… THANK YOU!
- Long-term Finances. Monthly support coming in presently is less than the cost of living here. The impact of an unfavourable exchange rate has a lot to do with it, unfortunately. But generous one-time gifts are helping offset this deficit for now. Again, our deepest gratitude to all who give.
- Ministry Project Focus. We all have great vision for further ministry but there are only so many hours in the day. We want God’s clear and continuous guidance to ensure we’re putting our best energy to His best plan… and keeping that balance I mentioned earlier.
- Health. Trevor continues to struggle with some frustrating health concerns. He has begun consultation with a local doctor. Please pray for any issues to become clear quickly and any treatment needed to be simple and effective.
Blessings and more to come soon!
- Trevor, Connie, Brooklyn and Lincoln // UK for Jesus