DEAR FRIENDS AND SUPPORTERS,
Many of you have an idea of whats going on with affected Calvary Chapels in the UK who have lost their sponsorship with CC York which effectually removes their visa. Hopefully I can clarify and explain some details. Also I want to provide news on how this affects us personally and the needs we have for prayer and support.
For the last 7 years, Calvary Chapel York has been a licensed sponsor, a necessary organization in the UK who can essentially vouch for those who need long standing visas. They have been the central sponsor for all missionaries that have come into the UK to plant and to minister.
Last November the Home Office decided to conduct an audit which raised queries about missing information explaining voluntary status of missionaries here, including myself. CC York provided the necessary missing information to justify their sponsorship license, as well as, the visas of all the missionaries under them. York also received a government auditor who came and investigated the organization to clarify York’s position.
On January 8th York received a letter from the Home Office telling them they had considered the officer’s report and their subsequent representations and had taken the decision to revoke their license with immediate effect and no right of appeal.
This has left all 19 missionaries affected by this 60 days to either leave the country or find a new sponsor under the NEW guidelines of the Home Office. The new guidelines requires all missionaries to be considered employees, which brings overwhelming financial and administrative burden on the requirements for individual missionaries. Specifically in our case, it makes it almost impossible for us to stay in the UK.
We know from the Home Office that this is a concerted effort to remove as many Tier 2 visas as possible before they can pass the five year requirement to apply for residency. We are currently at 4 years, so this falls right on our doorstep. We both as a church and family cannot take on this financial and administrative burden necessary for staying here in the UK, and even if we were, it is not a guaranteed position for us to stay.
Thus we have decided to come home to the U.S. on March 8th. Our family is heartbroken about leaving Bristol. We always felt that the Lord would move us on in His timing, after the kids grew up, and the church was more established, but we realize this is exactly what He is doing. We are at complete peace in the knowledge that God is sovereign and His ways are perfect (Psalm 18 with an emphasis on v.30).
In the midst of being plucked up (Ecc 3:2) we see new seasons of ministry for us, and a new season of adventure for our family in the future. God has planted eternity into our hearts, and we find great comfort in His sovereign will over our lives. (Ecc. 3:11).
Concerning the church, it is still very young. The Lord began this church four years ago as a home fellowship into a wonderful family of believers we have today. We have seen the Lord do some great things, building and maturing new believers in a intimate relationship with Jesus. One of our own is leaving for bible college this friday, having been saved 6 months earlier. We thank the Lord for this, and are excited to hear what the Lord is doing in everyone’s lives in the future. The church will continue with the possible help of Calvary Cardiff, but in which specific way we do not know as of yet. The church is in full knowledge of our situation since the very beginning and they are praying for the best possible option for our family, even if that option is moving home to the U.S.
The next steps for our family are going to be fast and difficult. When we intially moved out to Bristol, we felt that if we were called by God to do a work of planting and sowing, then we needed to be all in, both practically and spiritually. We moved every possession we had out here, and now we must go through everything we own and decide whether to keep, sell, or donate in order that we can stabilize our next season of ministry and our journey to the States. A prayer request from us is that then Lord would supply us with the wisdom and clarity of mind needed to make decisions that are best suited for our future. How do we say goodbye to dear friends and those we have had the blessing of discipling these four years? When is the right time to remove Fae from school? Selling our car for the best price possible while on a time deadline? Closing contracts and leases etc.. All of these things we are laying before the Lord in desiring the best orchestration of His will.
Our hearts will be continually with our dear people in this city that are in Calvary Bristol. We believe that we have been faithful to the work that the Lord had given responsibility to us in planting this church, but we also know that the Lord has been more faithful to us and the family of CC Bristol than we could have ever been. We fully understand that one man plants and another waters, but the Lord brings the increase. (I Corinthians 3:5-9) Our family has been permanently changed due to the 4 years of our lives here, and we will not cease to pray for Bristol, the UK, and the Calvary Chapel’s here in this country.
Please keep us in your prayers while we encounter this difficult time. We know the Shepherd is the BEAUTIFUL ONE. He leads us and guides us into green pastures and dark valleys, still waters and rushing torrents, and He has never left us yet! We take great comfort in knowing that we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. (Hebrews 13:11-14) And He is faithful to finish the work that has begun.