When God Speaks // We Listen and We Follow
For some time now, Amanda and I have been wrestling with aspects of our continued mission in Wales. While the church plant and wider ministry in Wales is in a very strong position, logistical concerns such as visa sponsorship and a place to live have been pointing to what seems to be a change in our approach to in-country missions. In recent months, we have had a clear word from the Lord through Scripture and wise counsel that we must return to the USA.
This does not mean that our mission in Wales is over — far from it — but it does mean that we will be relocating our home base to the USA for the foreseeable future. In the following paragraphs, I will layout a structure that details our return to the USA, the shape of a year-long furlough to re-adjust to life in America, and the plans for future missions and ministry in Wales and beyond. While the thought of no longer living in Wales is devastating, the idea of where the Lord is moving us is exhilarating. We invite you to join us on this exciting adventure.
Over the past 10 years in Wales, we have been blessed to help lead a church plant/regeneration project in the communities of Beddau and Llantwit Fardre. This has included training and mentoring local leaders to direct the church in the future, as well as updating tech in the church to meet modern standards. We have also helped the church update its live-stream capacity to expand its reach in the community. Moving forward, we will remain in our leadership post to help direct the church and expand its mission.
We have assisted seven other church communities develop children, youth, and community outreach, which we will continue to support going forward.
We have delivered lessons on leadership development to thousands of young people in local high schools across South Wales and been a part of initiatives that have communicated the Gospel to more than ten thousand people.
Our continued prayer is that the Gospel seeds which have been planted will take root and bring forth a fruitful harvest through the Holy Spirit.
Lastly, we have led local small group Bible studies, youth programs, and developed deep and meaningful relationships with friends here. We have been committed to making disciple-makers and loving our community as Christ has loved us.
Return to the USA
Making the decision to leave Wales has been incredibly painful. We have built many strong connections here, but we are confident in the Lord’s leading and are trusting Him on this journey. We have set a tentative date of departure for September 30. It will take a great deal of planning to move, such as organizing a shipping container to transport personal and household items. Initial cost estimates for this have come in at around £9000 ($11,250). To help with this, we have set up a “homecoming” fund that is available to receive donations. We will also be selling our car and will use the money to purchase a car in the States. For the time being, we will move in with family until such a time as the Lord opens a place for us to live permanently.
As we transition back to life in the USA, we will be looking for some time together as a family and to meet up with our wonderful supporters to share some stories. (In our minds, this will include some delicious Southern home cooking where ever possible!) It would be great to be in contact with as many of you as we can to share our visions for the future. During our furlough, we will look for a house in which we develop a base to work from. The plan also includes homeschooling the girls until we are able to determine where we will live and what schools to place them in. We will continue to rely on you prayers, encouragement, and financial support during this transition year.
Over the years, we have been blessed to have so many wonderful supporters — some of which have been with us for over a decade! You have prayed with us, made financial donations, sent care packages, recruited teams to help us expand our mission outreaches, and many other supportive contributions. We want to recognize your generosity, and from the bottom of our hearts, say thank you for all you have done. You have not only helped reach the lost with the Good News of Jesus, but you have helped this missionary family live well in a foreign land.
For us, missions has always been about pioneering a Gospel-focused work through education, innovation, humanitarian aid, and Christian-specific emphases like discipleship and church planting. Missionaries have always sought to embody the Gospel message and take it to far off or strange places, observe culture, learn languages, and be the hands and feet of Jesus. As we look into the future of missions, we are absolutely convinced that a new mission field is being opened up online. For so many people, the digital world is more than just a place to play games or shop. It is a world of creativity, information, cooperation, and expression. It is also an area of human interaction in desperate need of the Gospel. As Amanda and I continue to sense the Lord’s leading, we believe that He is calling us into this new mission field, and we want to be sure we enter in with the same, high-quality support that helped us succeed in Wales.
So, we would love for you to be a part of this new initiative. While the details are still being worked out, we are committed to enter faithfully into this calling and will apply the same determination, courage, and hard work ethic that carried our mission in Wales for over a decade. We will need your prayers, encouragement, and financial help in the coming years.
At present, we are looking to firm up financial commitments for a period of up to five years beginning September 2021, and we would love for you to join our monthly support team. The funds which we raise will go towards two part-time roles focused on assisting our church connections in the UK as ‘digital missionaries’ where we help them further their ministry outreaches. In the coming weeks and months, we will share more specific details about our plans, so be sure to check our website, wilhite.org, for more information. We will also release details through our emailing list, and social media accounts so that you can follow our progress. In the meantime, we wish to offer a proposed structure of this new missions initiative, which is explored below.
Future of Missions
While it is no longer the Lord’s desire that we physically live in Wales to work as missionaries, we are still called to support our Welsh brothers and sisters and are committed to the mission to make disciples of ALL nations. After years of hands-on work, we are sensing a call to more strategic mission approaches. This will include developing a new style of missions to assist efforts around the world known as ‘digital missions.’ Other parts of the mission will include arranging trips, mission teams, and raising financial support. Here are some specific ways our mission is being reshaped:
To develop a robust program around ‘digital missions’ which includes social media promotion, website development and support, strategic virtual meetings, and specific administrative tasks to help overseas churches. While this will include some travel, most can be accomplished online from a home office.
Seek support for all our Summershine (VBS) initiatives in the UK by speaking in American churches and recruiting teams for mission trips.
Work with Global Youth Ministry as ‘Missionaries in Residence’ to assist with things such as training and sending short-to medium-term interns to international locations to assist in the work of local churches. This will include up to a year-long program in the UK, with a specific focus on churches in South Wales.
Kevin will participate in doctoral research regarding specific issues related to life, missions, and ministry in the digital world. He will be giving specific attention to digital ethics and philosophical psychology regarding adolescent development in relation to social media and internet usage.
We will be sensitive to other ways the Lord wants to use us to advance His kingdom through the message of the Gospel.
As with everything else we do, we have committed this to prayer and ask that you do the same. If you have any questions, please contact Kevin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you, and may God bless you.
Hannah, Addison, Elayna