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Published on 30 March, 2017

Britain: Brexit, beginnings, and beyond

United Kingdom (MNN) — Britain has declared its independence.

In June of last year, the people of the United Kingdom voted in favor of separating from the European Union (EU). Yesterday, Prime Minister Theresa May officially began the process of pulling away from the EU. Brexit has begun.

How ever British history books remember March 29, 2017, Stephen Chilcraft of TeachBeyond thinks things won’t change drastically just yet. It will be another two years before Britain actually leaves the EU, and that’s if everything goes exactly to plan. “We are more concerned about the long-term impact than the immediate impact,” said Chilcraft.”Immediately, there will be very little change from the situation as it is today.”

(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Still, Chilcraft says some Brits need to plan ahead. “Many of the Europeans who have settled here in the United Kingdom are anxious,” says Chilcraft. “They want reassurance that they will be able to continue living here after we formally actually leave.”

British citizens scattered across the rest of Europe are also concerned. Chilcraft says they want to know “whether or not they will have their rights safeguarded in these negotiations.”

All in all, “Brexit isn’t going to make missions in Europe any simpler.”

For example, the value of the pound “has fallen against the U.S. dollar considerably.” Although American donations will now go a much longer way, “Brits wanting to serve elsewhere in Europe are having to raise more in terms of their personal support.”

Visas are now proving to be a challenge for some incoming missionaries. “The definition of those who can come in on clergy visas has certainly been limited, and you’re unlikely to get a visa for an administrative post unless you can show that that job can only be done by somebody with particular skills.”

That’s especially challenging for TeachBeyond’s global headquarters based in the United Kingdom. “We’re wanting to bring people from various other parts of the world in to staff that global center,” says Chilcraft, but that will become much harder to do.

TeachBeyond needs prayers for “wisdom in terms of the mechanics of multi-national missions. We have a foothold here in the UK. How do we organize ourselves that we can continue to function very effectively if there are new barriers put in place?”

But Chilcraft is more concerned about the nation as a whole. He prays that “Britain doesn’t turn its back on the rest of the world, that we don’t retreat into ourselves and worry about purely domestic issues.

“It’s a matter of praying about our national attitudes and approaches to global needs,” says Chilcraft. Pray that Britain “will continue in a long historic tradition of responding to the call of God to go all over the world.”

Now that Britain has taken action, it can be your turn right here.

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  • Pray for wisdom as British officials begin the Brexit process.
  • Ask God to provide routes to avoid the obstacles Brexit could present for missions.
  • Thank Him for the impact Britain has already made in the world of missions and the men and women going to the UK to return the favor.

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