UK for Jesus Update (Nov 2012)
Greetings from England! It’s been a little while since our last update, so we thought you might be wondering what’s been going on over here across the pond.
Truth is, we have been busy, busy, busy! The every day labour of service for the Kingdom (via our service to Souls Harbour Church, please click here for details) keeps our schedules plenty full, but these last two months have included several extra-special events and outreaches as well.
Here are a few event highlights, along with some personal updates. Enjoy! 🙂
In our last update, I requested prayer for a very special outreach in the local secondary school. What an incredible week and outreach night we had! Throughout the week, the L.E.D team presented multiple classes and age groups with a Christian perspective on serious moral topics (like drugs, alcohol, sex, marriage, abortion, identity, self-worth, etc), which led to lively and sometimes quite tricky discussions with the students. Then at the BIG outreach concert that Friday night, we presented the clear and simple Gospel. Over 100 students attended, 17 requested information packets about God and salvation, and many more have now started coming to Souls Harbour’s teen cafe on Friday nights. Praise the Lord! It’s our privilege to continue to join the outreach ministry of L.E.D when our schedule permits. God is using them mightily to reach the young people of this region!
In the tradition of local farmers going back many generations, Autumn is a time to be thankful for the harvest. As such, we held our annual “Harvest Thanksgiving” service, inviting the community to join us for a special day of thanksgiving. But this wasn’t any ordinary service… we had ‘cowboy church’! And with 3 Texans (that would be us) on hand to help pull it together, it couldn’t have been more authentic! Aside from all the fun that came from transforming the platform into a western scene, dressing up in our best cowboy and cowgirl duds and belting out some good ol’ southern gospel choruses, 2 people gave their hearts and lives to the Lord that day!
(Above: the worship team praising God with a twang!)
CARNIVAL & KIDS CLUB
Another annual tradition is the town carnival. After our participation in last year’s carnival, we saw a significant increase in attendance to our outreach focused children’s Bible club, called Xbi Kid’s Club. So this year, we again entered a float in the parade and handed out hundreds of leaflets about kid’s club and an upcoming concert (a teen outreach event). Not only did the float turn heads and win TWO trophies (best in class and best in carnival), but it was a great testimony to the thriving ministry of Xbi… showing the community that exciting things are happening at Soul’s Harbour and when we do something, we put our very best foot forward. The float theme was Lion King (modified to King of Kings) and was simply superb! Every last detail was considered, with nearly everything being made/created by someone in Souls Harbour (building, painting, sewing, etc.). In addition to over 20 children (as lions, zebras, ladybugs, and butterflies) in the ‘scene’ on the float, we had a large life-like giraffe and elephant walking beside the float, along with several leaping gazelles! We are excited to see even more local children begin attending Xbi as a result. And these kids don’t just have a weekly hour of fun and go home, they are learning foundational lessons about God, the Bible and strong moral values, which many of them then go home and share in vibrant detail with their families!
(Above: Brooklyn and her dear friend Isabelle on the float as a ladybird and a butterfly)
(Above: our Xbi Kid’s Club carnival float)
SOULS HARBOUR’S 25th BIRTHDAY
Souls Harbour Church turned 25 years old this month. And while a nice cake and some balloons might have been sufficient, Pastor David Flanders choose to mark the occasion with a special weekend of dynamic ministry and outreach. Over the course of the weekend, we had 7 different ministry events, including teaching seminars, a youth concert outreach, a children’s event and several full-on services. While the amount of organization, preparation and energy required to pull it off was enough to nearly put us all into a coma (not kidding!), it was completely worth it. The weekend was about looking back at the rich heritage of Souls Harbour… the many lives (and countries) they have directly impacted over the years. But even more so, it was about looking forward. What are God’s marching orders for us? How does God want to use Souls Harbour to bring hope and revival to this town, county and country in the coming years? We were especially blessed to be joined by Pastor Randy & Stacy Harvey, Pastor Dale & Barbara Dailey and Frank and Sandra Young, all from our home church The Crossing in The Woodlands, Texas. Pastors Randy and Dale preached throughout the weekend and had such strong words of direction and encouragement for Souls Harbour as well as for our family (UKFJ). It was an inspiring weekend and much fruit for the Kingdom was - and will be - harvested as a direct result!
(Above: Our dear friends from Texas)
(Above: Pastor David at the opening service of Souls Harbour 25 years ago and this weekend at the 25th birthday service.)
STUDENT TRAINING & DISCIPLESHIP
Solid Rock Cafe: The boost in attendance to our weekly teen cafe on Friday nights has been exciting. Trevor is ever on the hunt for ways to make the cafe ‘the place to be’ for the youth of this community and it seems to be working. Furthermore, he’s getting very creative in how messages of God’s love and the truth of God’s Word are interwoven into the format each week. One minute the teens are rocking out to a music video and the next watching/hearing a testimony of salvation from a prominent celebrity or public figure. Our teen concert event for the church birthday was also a great success with many more students attending than expected and many ‘usuals’ from the cafe wandering in and out to see what was going on.
(Above: the youth outreach event as part of the church birthday ministry weekend)
Does God Exist?: As part of discipling the teens in our church, God has burdened Trevor to arm them with truth… to not just understand what they believe, but WHY they believe it. He has been running a Sunday night series called “DOES GOD EXIST?” which aims to help answer a lot of the tough questions that these kids are faced with every day in school by teachers and by their unbelieving and/or atheist friends. Our students boldly passed out fliers inviting some of their toughest critics to come to the sessions to hear a Christian perspective on things like ‘creation’. Using resources from organizations like Answers in Genesis, these sessions have been an incredible time of learning and debate for our teens, building up their knowledge and their faith.
Music & Art Training: Our investment into the talents of these teens to build up their confidence, creativity and sense of purpose continues to be such a blessing and success. The ‘youth choir’ recently performed “He Reigns/Awesome God” (Kirk Franklin) for the church birthday Sunday service and were simply fantastic! With three part harmony, choreographed movement, memorized scripture readings and more, they worked hard and truly impressed and inspired all who saw them. Just a year ago, I was coaxing many of these students to sing in front of people for the very first time in their lives. Now, they are taking initiative, learning new music - some are even writing their own worship songs! It is just so incredible to see them blossom and flourish as we are faithful to notice and water the seeds of greatness that God has already planted within them. Trevor’s graphic design class is going well and the students are working on a project to ‘showcase’ in the next month or so. He has had such tremendous interest in his class from adults (including a shop owner here in town with no previous association with Souls Harbour) that he’s planning to run a course for adults in early 2013!
Our precious daughter Brooklyn (4) is enjoying school immensely. She eagerly practices her phonics every day and is reading and writing so many words already. Between school, dance, kid’s club and church events, she’s quite a busy girl in her own right! We are still so grateful for our little 2 bedroom bungalow that we moved into in June. The weather has turned very cold and is definitely a harsh reality for these Texas bones! We don’t expect to make a trip home over the Christmas holidays this year. It will be very difficult to be away from family during Christmas (first time ever for us, really), but the magic of the internet and video conferencing programs like Skype will help. If all goes as planned, our next visit back home will be around Easter 2013.
Life as a foreign missionary is indeed an incredible journey of faith. Our ministry here in England is completely God-directed (click here to read the back story) and completely voluntary… we receive no compensation of any kind from the church, people or government here. We are supported entirely by the financial gifts of those who choose to partner with UKFJ in ministry. Thank you to all who continue to support us faithfully through financial giving and prayer. Your support, whatever the amount or frequency, is making an ETERNAL difference.
UKFJ PRAYER NEEDS
Would you please stand with us in prayer regarding these important needs?
- Monthly support: As our family nears 1.5 years on the mission field, regular monthly financial support for UKFJ has begun to decline. This combined with a higher cost of living and an increasingly unfavorable currency exchange rate has led to a significant shortfall. Our prayer is for God to provide the financial resources needed for our family to continue serving in full-time ministry.
- Open doors & direction: We feel strongly the prompting of God to take our ministry ‘out’ more frequently. However, with Brooklyn now in school, frequent late nights and/or road trips aren’t quite so feasible. There are brewing opportunities in other parts of England, Ireland and Norway. Our prayer is for God to make clear the path he has for us in broadened outreach ministry and to give us opportunity, wisdom and provide the resources.
- Reaching the community: The need for hope and salvation is growing more urgent each day, especially in our small community here. Camelford is already one of the poorest areas in the country (considered among the European areas of deprivation), with many getting by only with the help of government support. But recent funding cuts related to law enforcement (the police station here has now closed with the closest help being nearly 30 minutes away), pub owners who turn a blind eye to drug use (a huge problem in this small town), and the like have led to a swift downward spiral of morality and even safety. Our prayer is for God to continue to inspire and guide UKFJ and Souls Harbour on how to effectively reach out to and help those in such desperate need of hope and purpose. It’s a rare day they come wandering into church asking for help… we must reach out to them.
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If you are interested in supporting UKFJ through financial giving or through the purchase of our first worship album ‘Glorious Wonder’, please follow these links:
If you’d like to know more about UKFJ or have us visit your church or organization, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ukforjesusfb.