Family of 6: Ezra’s here!

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On 1 February, after the "Super Blue Blood Eclipse Moon" and about 16 hours at the hospital, we welcomed little miss Ezra Whelpley into the world! She's healthy and has started sharing her first smiles with us this week.

Ezra isn't named after the Biblical character (or a Star Wars character), but she is named after the same concept or word as the cupbearer to the king of Persia. `Ezer (עזֵרֶ) and the variant `azar (עזַָר), which means "helper," it's first

used in Genesis 2:18 when God desires to make a "helper" for Adam. With a handful of exceptions, the rest of the 103 times it's used it refers to either: God's helping power, or help with the strength of an army behind it.

Our prayer is that Ezra's life will be characterized by a God-given strength that will be a precious help to those around her.

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Xander Regi

One of that traditions that our little family has is that we wait until our children are 2 years old to give them a middle name. We've been all over the place trying to land on a name for this bold little boy, we were even half-considering Honey-Badger at one point.

On his birthday at the end of February, we announced that his middle name would be Regi (pronounced REEJ-eye), Carrie's mother's maiden name. It seems to be related to the word "regal" – a meaning shared by Carrie's dad's name (Stephen), my stepdad's name (Roy), and my brother's name (Ryan). The quieter parts of Xander's personality reminds Carrie and I both of her grandfather Donald Regi: generous, determined, and noble. Xander tends to yell a lot more though. We're praying that the Lord will empower him to lead well, and to earn the respect of those around him by caring for them well (Xander means "defender of the people").

That's my sister!

Next Month…

Back in the fall, I mentioned going to Las Vegas for some training, and the fact that I was taking a sabbatical soon. I'll talk about both of those in our next letter!

It’s Been A Summer

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This summer feels like it has been one of the busiest 5 months of our lives (summer is longer here in Orlando)… and it doesn't seem to be slowing down. The Lord has been sustaining us, but this is proving to be an intense year.

The Story So Far

  • Headed to Colorado for our biennial Cru National Staff Conference, which was encouraging and incredibly challenging. (No external kiddos, though! It was like a 9-day long date!)

  • I was a best man in a wedding and traveled to Erie for about 48 total hours for my step-brother's wedding.

  • Spent 36 hours in two days to prepare for Hurricane Irma, and evacuated from Orlando for 6 days. (We lost a few fence panels, 9 shingles, and 10 ft² of siding, and power only for 18 hours – we got away easy!)

  • From the beginning of August until the end of September, we had a total of 6 days in which no one in our household was ill – or at least not symptomatic.

  • Saw a total eclipse. (Which was absolutely amazing!)

  • Drove 4,652 miles together, Carrie added 500 to that without me.

  • We flew 2,432 miles together, I added almost 10,000 miles to that total.

Currently

  • There's some discussion about my role expanding within my Jesus Film Digital Team. More about that soon.

  • Carrie has been invited to officially lead up our neighborhood's "welcome committee" — our church small group is helping us to prepare welcome packets.

  • Fia has started 1st Grade! She loves to read & is incredibly good at it — she's almost done with Charlotte's Web.

As of October 1st all of Cru moved to a new software for tracking and managing all of the support-raising process. There have been some bugs with the new system, please let us know if anything seems to go wrong on your end or if you start missing updates!

…Coming Soon!

  • I am headed to Central Asia for 2 weeks around the end of this month! I'll share what I can after I get back.

  • I am probably headed to Las Vegas during the first week of December for an intense 40-48 hours of professional development & training over 5-6 days.

  • Sometime early next year, I will be taking a month-long sabbatical to seek refreshment, and rest. This is the first real sabbatical we've planned in our 15 years with Cru.

We're expecting a baby girl! Due January 27th!
Pray for us,
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Celebrating the 4th!

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Happy Independence Day! We’re also celebrating the 4th… child. Due January 2018!

6 Years Ago…

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Six years ago this month we were getting ready to wrap up what we’d thought was a 10-month working sabbatical living in Orlando. Carrie was pregnant with Fia, due in less than a month. Our own plans for our life and ministry had been swept away, and we were 4-months in to a period of floating and figuring out what the Lord had next for us… we had two options in front of us (one in Orlando, one in Portland, OR) without any clear calling. I was spending at least an hour every day seeking God’s lead.

Then, on 16 May (the same day as the very last Space Shuttle Endeavour launch) it was six words. The closest thing that I’ve ever experienced to an “audible” voice from God…

“I want you to stay here.”

Since…

We spent time thinking about all of the things that happened in 6 years:

  • The birth of all 3 of our children (so far).
  • 4 addresses and our first home of our own.
  • 7 job roles between the two of us.
  • 2 hurricanes & 5 Florida summers survived.
  • J started going back to school for design & stepped into a new vocational calling.
  • Struggled alongside a neighbor and a friend to overcome sin, and temptation. (It’s not over yet.)
  • Helped launch the Jesus Film app in 2011.
  • Led and designed the initial launch of our web app.
  • Invested in UCF’s campus ministry for 3 years.
  • Invested in the lives, families & spiritual journey of 15+ Orlando friends & neighbors
  • Worked on 28+ different projects (≥3 I still can’t share about).
  • Learned 3 new programming languages.
  • Trained hundreds of staff on how to use the Jesus Film app to share the Gospel clearly.
  • Hosted a viewing of the Story of JESUS for Children in our neighborhood.
  • Prayed for, and helped in our city after a series of high-profile shootings.
  • Designed resources specifically to help get the Gospel to Syrian refugees.
  • J preached at our church 4 times.

Each of these have stories upon stories attached to them, and almost all of them stemming from that call to stay in Orlando. We’re thankful for all of the ways that God has, and continues to lead us.

Thank you for all of the things you to to make it possible for us to live out our calling!

 Maranatha!