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Updates & Important News!

Long post alert! It’s been a while since our last e-newsletter, and we have a lot to share! We hope you’ll take a few minutes to take a peek into what recent months have held for our family, life and ministry here in the UK. 

We also have some VERY important updates to share about the future of UKFJ. Details are further down, but the long and short of it is that without a significant increase in regular monthly support, our reserve funding will be depleted by March 2021, which could mean our time here soon coming to an end.

But before we get to all of that, let's start off with some family and ministry updates about all that God is doing and then share more about what is needed to keep going.

FAMILY

LOCKDOWN LIFE

Life with COVID has been challenge here in the UK, as it has everywhere. Full lockdown lasted much longer than any of us could have anticipated, and the slight relief that the summer months brought didn’t last as long as we hoped.

Over the last month, restrictions have been introduced in increasing measure due to a rise in cases across the UK, with some areas of high infection being put back under full lockdown. Here it is illegal to meet socially with more than 6 people or to be in most enclosed spaces without a face covering. There are some modifications to the “rule of six” where regulated precautions are in place, such as workplaces, schools and churches. They say we’ll be in this mode for at least 6 months (with tighter measures possibly to come), so sadly our beloved annual Thanksgiving Day feast will not take place. Last year we squeezed 34 dear friends into our little house for our turkey day celebration. That definitely wouldn't meet the rule of six and our guests will likely be more "thankful" to not risk a hefty fine! (But we will miss having them with us!)

Fortunately, Brooklyn and Lincoln have been able to return to school full-time (now in Year 8 and Year 2 respectively) since early September, which has made them both very happy. The schools have made a lot of big changes, but for the most part (so far) face coverings aren't required and they are able to interact freely with their immediate classmates. Of course, we must be at the ready for a return to home/online-only school at any time, but we are all thankful that they’ve been back nearly 2 months so far without any disruptions.

MINISTRY

CHURCH WORK

During full lockdown, church was streamed online, with Trevor heading up “mission control” from our home. As lockdown lifted a bit we started “drive-in" services, which have continued since the 21st of June. It's been fantastic!

We’ve had fabulous weather on Sundays right up through the end September. Before restrictions recently tightened, we could stand outside our cars during worship, sit in lawn chairs near our cars during the message and visit (socially-distant) with each other afterwards.

From early September, however, we’ve had to restrict everyone back to staying in their cars for the entire service and ensure all staff/volunteers are in PPE if interacting with anyone. We’ve been super-blessed that the owners of the private car park we’ve been using have allowed us to carry on so long. But the weather is changing now, and we’ll soon be taking our services back indoors. The requirements for a COVID-secure church service are stringent, but it’s important to be sure that everyone feels safe and secure to return to church. We’ll also carry on streaming online for anyone who isn’t comfortable or is unable to attend in person. Pastor David and Joy have been working so hard on all the detailed logistical planning, whilst Trevor sorts out the many new and complex technical elements, since our sanctuary is quite small and family “bubbles” will need to be spread throughout the building, along with continuing online streaming.

If you would like to see what our services have been like, all our services are now being uploaded to the (newly revamped by Trevor) Souls Harbour website at www.soulsharbour.com. Of course, you’re welcome to join our services anytime! We livestream to Facebook on Sundays at 11am local time. (Okay, so that’s actually 5am CST if you’re stateside, but you can always play it back later in the day!)

MINISTRY

GROW CENTRE

The Grow Centre is the community support centre in Camelford that our family founded, manages and staffs, as an outreach project of Souls Harbour. However, when lockdown started at the end of March, the Grow Centre facility had to be temporarily closed.

Fortunately, we were able to carry on critical food bank work by making weekly deliveries to those in need in Camelford and the surrounding areas. Also, we had many online interactions as part of that process and were still able to provide personal encouragement to people receiving support. During that time, we also started planning a “back-to-school” outreach project (more on this further down). We are now back to having the Grow Centre open 3 days a week and continue to organise all food bank activities for the Camelford area. We minister to and support local families through FREE...

  • "Home basics packs” of toiletries and household supplies
  • Gently used and new clothing, school uniform, shoes, etc.
  • Camelford Foodbank donations, collection point & referrals
  • Resume/CV writing support
  • Special community activities and events
  • Referring to additional/other support as needed

This graphic shows the recently published "level of deprivation" for the Camelford area as compared to the UK as whole. From this, it's evident just how greatly support is needed in our area and that the Grow Centre's presence helps meet real and current needs. Visit growcentre.org or our facebook page for more about the Grow Centre's community support and outreach work. (Isaiah 58:7-10, Matthew 5:16)

BACK-TO-SCHOOL OUTREACH

In August, the Grow Centre provided 39 FREE "back-to-school packs" to families in need in our local community. Many families are in a new or greater place of need at this time and help with a few basics can make a big difference when things are really tight.

We wanted them to feel helped, blessed and encouraged, and based on the feedback received, we feel this goal was fully met. Only one of the families attends our church, so this was a new outreach connection with all the others.

The packs included all new items: age/size/gender-specific toiletries, school stationery items, school uniform shirts and socks, underwear, a few small treats and a voucher for a free haircut. Each pack also included a personalised card handwritten to each child and a letter to the parent to share more about the Grow Centre and about Souls Harbour, inviting them to visit our services and activities.

This project was targeted only to families in Camelford and the surrounding areas because it was funded by donations from local people (primarily Souls Harbour members) through a “sponsor-a-pack” campaign. However, the promotional leaflet was shared more broadly online, and we received dozens of inquiries from across the whole of Cornwall asking to register their children for packs. One teacher in a school with a high percentage of struggling families wanted to register her entire school! Whilst we couldn’t help them all this year, we would be thrilled to secure more funding to expand the project to help more families next year and/or be able to include more items in the packs.

Here are a few comments from the families who received packs:

  • “Going back to school is always an expensive time for us as we have 6 children the packs have been an amazing help for our family.”
  • “The couple who gave out the Grow packs were very informative about the Grow Centre and the services provided. The grow packs were beautifully done and are fantastic for the children. They were given out in an organised way and in an easy location to collect. The couple were very supportive, kind and they had real empathy for the community people of the town. It was great meeting them and finding out about the Grow Centre. Many thanks for their great work.”
  • “I just think it’s such a kind, lovely thing to do. What great hearts the organisation has. My children were absolutely delighted with their back to school packs. Thank you for your kindness. Absolutely fantastic communication to.”
  • “Thank you SO much!!! I could cry. The children are so so pleased.”
  • “I’ve just collected bags & wanted to say a humongous thank you to you. I’m amazed by your generosity & grateful for the help .....all the best & look forward to meeting you at the Fridays kids club as soon as some sort of normality is upon us!!
  • “I certainly feel blessed and the children are absolutely chuffed. What a lovely lovely thing to do.”

FAMILY & MINISTRY

CURRENT STATE & FUTURE OUTLOOK

As you know, we were meant to visit home (Texas and Oklahoma) this August. Due to COVID, our flights were cancelled. That, plus travel and quarantine restrictions, made our trip undoable.

Not only did this leave our hearts deeply aching for much-needed time with our family (it’s been over 3 years!), but it also prevented us from being able to visit with supporters and churches to provide in-person ministry updates and appeal for new support.

We must give glory to God that only a small portion of our ongoing support has dropped off during the last few months and, in fact, we’ve been blessed with a few increases which have helped offset the drops, and some amazingly generous one-off gifts that have been vitally helpful. We do try to regularly say “thank you” personally to all who give, but we can’t miss a chance to do it publicly as well. So, to each of you who give so faithfully to help our family impact the UK for Jesus… thank you, thank you, thank you!

From the very beginning of this journey, we have been transparent that our incoming support doesn’t cover our outgoing expenses. Higher cost of living, unfavourable exchange rates and a variety of other factors also affect how far each dollar stretches. To this point, our “reserve funds” (from large one-off gifts) from both the ministry and our personal accounts have been able to help bridge the gap. However, we have now reached a critical point: We no longer have the resources to continue to bridge that gap. This means that without a significant increase in monthly support, UKFJ's funding will be depleted by March 2021.

Without sufficient support, we will not be able to carry on living and ministering in the UK. We will be in the position of having to soon cease our ministry work and projects, pull the kids from school, sell or pack up what we can and return to stay with family in the USA and start over. (Note: The kids are blissfully unaware of all of this at the moment.)

You may know that we have started several “side gigs” in efforts to supplement our support, but none of those have been able to yield any significant income. Perhaps with full-time energy and attention they eventually could, but obviously that time is put into ministry and outreach work… what we are here to do! 

So, as you can imagine, this is unsettling for us. A lot of tears have been shed and desperate prayers said as we’ve watched this mountain getting closer and closer in front of us. We know that only the Lord can provide a way over, around or through it... or remove it altogether. As it is, we're praying for a BIG miracle and SOON, as key decisions will need to be made shortly after the New Year. With impact this significant, it can't be left to the last minute. 

BUT we do have breaking news to share... there is a really good chance that a trip home in December will become a reality! If so, this would mean both a desperately needed time of refreshing for our hearts and spirits AND the opportunity to share about God's work here, allowing Him the opportunity to move on hearts to inspire others to become a part of making it possible.

We believe God called us here. We know that He has all the resources we need. We also believe that God leads us through seasons, opening and closing doors along the way. But with the financial support to carry on, there is much more we can accomplish for the Kingdom here. Please will you pray with us and for us? 

PRAYER POINTS

  • God's clear guidance and provision for our family and ministry.
  • Increase in UKFJ donations - $3,500 per month increase by the New Year
  • Funds for UK visa renewal - approx $8,775 by Oct 2021

WAYS TO GIVE

  • By making donations directly to UK for Jesus (501c3)
  • By shopping our online shop of all-original designs at www.TheShopbyTW.com (Very tiny profit margin, but every little bit helps! Sample from the "UKFJ missions collection" shown below.)
  • Through PayPal Giving Fund
  • Through Amazon Smile (USA only)
  • By sharing with your friends, family and churches who have a heart for missions

UNTIL NEXT TIME

We hope this update has left you encouraged by the work the Lord has been doing here and inspired to help pray in the support for it to be able to continue. 

Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” - Matthew 19:26

We love you all, miss you lots and will hopefully "see" you soon.

- Pastor Trevor, Connie, Brooklyn & Lincoln // UK for Jesus

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UK for Jesus INC

PO Box 351, New Waverly
TX 77358 United States

We are a registered 501c3 nonprofit organization.

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