The Nitty Gritty (May 2017)
Well, it's gettin' real, people! This weekend we were honored to briefly share our hearts with our church family at The Bridge to begin building a prayer and financial support base. Our house goes on the market within a week or two. We've re-homed our sweet daughter's two cats, sold our nice vehicle, had 6 garage sales and plan to have at least one more, and have probably slept less in the last month than we did with either newborn. Painting, clearing, sorting, weeding, mulching, cleaning, packing, researching, planning, writing, copying, assembling... just a few extra tasks mixed in with work, church, homework, school plays, grocery shopping and all the usual activities of life. Is it really worth it, you ask? Oh yeah... it totally is.
We also provided some info to anyone interested in the 'who-what-when-where-why-how-etc' of our move back to full-time, support-based missions work in the UK. Those nitty-gritty details (even about the weather there) are posted here for you, too. We hope you'll take a few minutes to read through it, and we humbly ask you join us in prayer that God will do what He does best and make possible this path He's laid before us.
And now, the nitty-gritty...
Q: Who is UK for Jesus?
UK for Jesus – or UKFJ – is the name of the UK missions ministry of the Smith Family… Pastor Trevor, wife Connie, daughter Brooklyn (8) and son Lincoln (3). Trevor has been the Worship & Creative Arts Pastor at The Bridge Church in Bixby, OK, since January 2014. UK for Jesus was founded in 2011 when the Smiths served as missionaries in England the first time (2011-2013) and is now being rebooted as version 2.0 for our return to the UK in 2017.
Q: Where in the UK are you going?
We will be based in the southwest portion of England in the county known as Cornwall. This is a primarily rural area of villages and farmlands. There are also towns of varying sizes and one city, the capital Truro.
Q: When are you leaving for the UK?
We’ll head to Texas on July 24th to spend a little time with our family there, then we’ll fly out from Houston to move to England on August 9th. We are excited to see how God will prepare the way. The two primary things that we are praying for are to:
1) get our UK visa applications approved, and
2) raise our financial support to the necessary level.
There is no way that we can make either happen on our own, so it will have to be ALL God, which means that He will get ALL the glory when it happens. Amen!
Q: Why are you going to the UK?
Great question! Really the only answer is, we have been called. God has spoken clearly and paved a path for us. (It’s an amazing story that we love to share!) In 2011, we moved to England the first time and served for 2.5 years before transitioning to Tulsa. However, during our time back in America, the burden for the UK has only strengthened, not faded. Leaving life and family in the USA again is by no means easy, but we have been called to go, so we will go. Our hearts are so excited to see what God has in store!
Q: Isn’t the UK a Christian nation?
Yes, by tradition, but no longer by the numbers. Christianity is in swift decline, as general “indifference” is on the rise, along with religions such as Islam. But increasing the census numbers for “our religion” is not why we are going. Our purpose is to effectively contribute to the reawakening of hearts and minds to the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and help establish a solid foundation for experiencing, living and spreading that truth now and for generations to come. We published a blog called "Why England?" in 2011 with more insight into this, which is still completely relevant. Click HERE to read it!
Q: What will you be doing in the UK?
Our mission is to SERVE, EVANGELIZE, and TEACH, with particular emphasis on reaching the upcoming generation, who are truly at risk of never hearing of God’s love and grace or experiencing it in personal way. We will serve full-time, using our time, talents and experience to help established ministries further their reach and achieve greater impact, filling many critical needs which will open broader ministry opportunities that would not otherwise be possible. We’ll also be serving as a family. When we lived in England before, we embedded ourselves into the community and the basic activities of our everyday lives actually opened just as many doors for effective personal ministry as our official ministry work did. We are excited to return and build further upon our already established foundation within the community.
Q: What ministry will you be working with?
There are two primarily, though we expect to help out others here and there as we are able.
- Oriel Ministries (www.orielministries.org): The majority of our time will be spent serving with Oriel Ministries. We helped them some during our first season of ministry in the UK. Oriel was set up in January 2009 as a registered charity by Co-Founders Chris and Nikki Uglow, who saw a desperate need. Oriel pursues the broken, ‘unchurched,’ hardest to reach young people in schools and local communities in the southwest of England and beyond. Over 24,000 young people are reached each year through exciting, professional, effective street evangelism, schools work, conferences and youth projects. Through Oriel’s work, hundreds choose to respond to the Gospel each year and are now being discipled through church youth projects, with many being mentored and given opportunities to explore faith further. As young people’s lives are being transformed, they then are helping to make a difference by becoming role models for their peers and influencing their families and friends.
- Souls Harbour Church (www.soulsharbour.com): This is our home church and where we served full-time during our first season of ministry in the UK. The people of this church are so precious to us. While we won’t be with them full-time, we will still provide support for some ministry training and outreach events/projects, in addition to being involved in the church as members and volunteers. Souls Harbour was founded in 1987 by Pastor David Flanders and a group of family and friends. It is the largest Church in Camelford, Cornwall with a congregation of just over 100. Souls Harbour has always had a special call to Youth and Children’s ministries, running a children’s club and youth cafe as well as the usual Sunday school and youth meetings. Soul’s Harbour is committed to creating a “Climate for Change” ~ changed lives, changed communities and a changed world.
Q: How will you be funded?
We are going as missionaries, funded by donations from those of you that God burdens to support His work through us in the UK. The leaders and staff of Oriel, the outreach ministry we’ll be primarily working with, also raise their own financial support through donations, just as we are doing.
Q: How long will you be there?
Being that this is round 2 for us, we are viewing it as long-term. We anticipate that our initial visas will be for 2- or 3-years (praying for 3). At this point, we plan to seek renewal at the end of that initial term. God is in control and can redirect that plan at any point, but that’s how we are viewing this move for now. Of course, we do hope to come back to the states at least once a year to visit family and bring an in-person report to our supporters.
Q: What are you doing to prepare for this change?
A lot! We already have the basic structure for UK for Jesus in place (website, bank account, etc.), so we are mostly just making some updates there. Additionally, we are working to build our financial support base by making our vision and needs known at our church, to friends through Facebook and our website (www.UKforJesus.com), and so on. And, in the midst of all of that, we have re-homed our 2 cats, are selling most of our belongings and readying our home to put on the market for sale. The proceeds from those sales go first against debt, then to our ministry fund.
Q: What are your specific financial needs?
These are listed in more detail at the end of this post, but they basically fall into two categories:
- Start-up expenses: like visa applications, plane tickets, freight costs, debt payoff, rental deposit, etc.
- Ongoing monthly expenses: like rent, utilities, gas, groceries, etc.
Q: Have you received the financial support you need?
Not yet. We have received a few practical service donations and one-time financial gifts that have been a great help with offsetting some initial out-of-pocket costs like passport renewals, prepping our home for selling, etc. A huge thanks to those who have given so generously thus far.
Q: How can I give financially?
We hope to eventually establish UK for Jesus as a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization. In the meantime, you can give to us through The Bridge Church – designating your giving to “UKFJ” – by writing a check to The Bridge, giving by cash or card using a giving envelope, or by giving online through The City at www.thebridgebixby.com. If you’d prefer to give to us directly, we do have a PayPal giving option on our website, which includes the option for setting up recurring donations. Click HERE to go to our Donate Page. At this time, there is no tax benefit available by giving to us directly. Also, we ask you to please complete and return the “form side” of a UKFJ giving card, so that we have your details and can say “thank you” and stay connected to you by providing regular updates on what God is doing through UKFJ. The photo side can hang on your fridge as a friendly reminder to please keep our family in your prayers! 🙂
Q: Are there other ways I can help besides financially?
Definitely!! Some practical opportunities include:
- Financial and legal advice and/or support (Helping us set up UKFJ as 501(c)3, etc.)
- Crate shipping advice and/or support (There’s some stuff we have to ship and it’s a complicated process!)
- Painting/cleaning/packing/etc. (We have so much to do in such a short time; a few extra hands could make a huge difference!)
- Temporary housing (If our house sells/closes sooner than expected, we may need somewhere to stay for a short time.)
- Other stuff (If you would like to help but don’t see your idea or area of expertise listed, please let us know! Maybe we do need your help, but we just don’t know it yet!)
- Prayer (Your ongoing intercession for our family/UKFJ will be a significant help and blessing.)
Q: What is the cost of living like in England? Does it cost less or more than the U.S.?
More. In addition to it simply being more expensive to live there (things like $8 a gallon gas and a 20% value added tax [VAT]), the exchange rate is not in our favor. So, it takes more of our dollars to equal one British Pound, and those still don’t buy as much there because things are more expensive. Are we worried? No, God has this. He will provide. But it helps for those He will be providing through to truly understand the nature of our financial needs. At current exchange rates, $1.00 = £0.78.
Q: Where will you live?
We have been generously offered the use of a small two bedroom apartment as a “landing pad” to stay in while we search for a home to rent. This is in the town of Launceston, Cornwall, which is about 17 miles from where we lived before in Camelford, Cornwall. Launceston is also where Oriel Ministries is based. We will still be very plugged in to our home church, Souls Harbour, in Camelford.
Q: Will you have a car?
We are believing that God will provide for us to have one soon after we arrive. It is a rural area, so while public transportation does exist, it won’t be practical for our situation. We are praying for the resources to get a minivan type vehicle so that our family, plus musical and other ministry equipment, can be easily transported as needed.
Q: What about school for the kids?
Our plan is for Brooklyn and Lincoln to attend the local schools. School there begins in September. Depending on space available in town, there’s a chance we’ll have to drive Brooklyn outside of town to a village school. God knows what is best for her and for our family, so we are trusting Him to lead, guide and provide accordingly.
Q: What’s the weather like?
Cool and wet. Summers can be amazing, with highs in the 60’s to 70 and some sunshine. But it does typically rain there over 200 days a year, which is what keeps the countryside so lush and green. So, raincoats and welly-boots are standard gear. The winters are cold but being closer to the coast generally keeps temps from getting much lower than the 30’s. It’s different than here, but not terribly extreme on either end.
Q: What will happen with the worship ministry at The Bridge?
Pastor Trevor’s last day to lead worship will be Sunday, July 23rd. He is working with The Bridge leadership team to appropriately transition his responsibilities.
Q: What are your biggest prayer needs?
The short answer is: visas and finances. The longer answer is: we are so glad that you asked and we have a page of our website dedicated to that very topic! Please check out our Prayer Needs page for the nitty-gritty and thank you SO VERY MUCH for your prayers.
Q: How can I stay updated on what’s going on with the Smiths & UK for Jesus?
Our website www.UKforJesus.com is updated regularly: the blog, the prayer needs, etc. When new updates are made, we will typically utilize Facebook and Twitter to make people aware. However, if you don’t use those sites regularly or are worried about missing an update, you can subscribe to our e-newsletter. It’s simply an email notification indicating that a new article has been posted and it will provide you with a link to the site. Quick and easy! Emails only go out when we post something new, so you might receive 1 or 2 a week based on our current activity level. You always have the option to unsubscribe as well. See our website for more info! If getting info online isn’t your preference, but you’d still like to receive regular updates, just let us know and we’ll work something out for you.
Q: About those financial needs details…?
No, we didn’t forget! Here you go!! At current exchange rates, $1.00 = £0.78.
MONTHLY (starting Aug 2017)
- LIVING EXPENSES: approx. $6,000 per month ongoing
- Housing, utilities, phones, transportation, groceries, clothes/shoes for growing children, etc.
- VISAS: $6,120
- Visa Application = $757 each x 4 = $3,028
- Healthcare Surcharge = $773 each x 4 = $3,092
- TRAVEL TO UK: $10,680
- Airfare to London: $6,830 (updated 5/11/17)
- Ground Transport to Cornwall: $350
- Freight: $3,500 (ballpark estimate; better estimate to be determined soon)
- We need to take a bit more than we can feasibly carry with us on the plane, including some necessary musical equipment, clothes, and a few toys and small household items.
- HOUSING DEPOSITS: $7,900
- Utilities Deposits: $1,300
- 6 Months Advance Rent: $6,600
- This is required since we are foreigners without local salary or a local cosigner.
- DEBT: We are working to pay this off with the proceeds of selling most of our current personal belongings. More info is available upon request.