’13 in Review
In the Whelpley household, 2014 has started in a whirl. Last week (37 weeks into pregnancy), we moved into our new home. Even if it’s only a two-block journey, the process of moving “with child” (and a two-year-old) requires the grace of God and good friends, and is not for the faint of heart. On our website (Whelpley.org) I’ve been sharing bits from the Jesus Film Project’s 2013 Annual Review, head over and read some of those. We wanted to review our own 2013 highlights and share some updates!
The Jesus Film Project
Over the past year, an astounding number of stories and stats have rolled in as a result of the Jesus Film Media platform. We now have 11 ministry partners at some point in the development process; from fully-launched YouVersion, Kolo and Bible.Is, to partners in development like Trans World Radio & the John Ankerberg Show. These partners account for more than 90% of the film viewings on our platform. The Jesus Film Media app itself is also having a large impact in people’s personal ministries. We’ve gotten stories from campuses in the US, Asia, North Africa, the Middle East — in one letter, we even shared about a new believer who is leading the charge to reach fellow students in the Ukraine. In DC laundromats, airport shuttles, Mexican deaf communities… the Gospel is moving forward and the Jesus Film Media app has been a powerful tool in diverse places! In one update, we shared one story about how the media on our platform can have an impact in college students’ lives — particularly a student in Illinois named Angelica. Something went wrong in editing our letter, so here’s a better version:
Throughout high school I was very dark…I used to wake up in the morning and think to myself “I don’t know what’s the point anymore.” When I was in college my freshman year…I saw a poster for Cru, for their Short Film Festival. The film they showed was “La Busqueda. That movie had me crying by the end of the showing. The character… has a void that she keeps trying to fill, and that really resonated with me because I felt that’s where I was… just so empty inside. Her father keeps trying to reach out to her and so he has a string of yarn that he’s slowly feeding to her…pulling her toward him. I was sitting there watching the movie, it was like God feeding information to me, feeding something to me and bringing me closer to him. I really connected with that movie. We went to [the gospel] and for the first time ever, all of it just kind of made sense to me…I said, “That’s what I want,” because I realized that that void in my life was I had been searching for God’s love… If it had been a different event, I probably would not have gone. If they did not choose to have a film festival on this campus…I don’t know what would have happened with my spiritual journey. You attract different people and different audiences with that type of event… I think that sometimes the best way we connect is without words: they see these movies and they think, “This is exactly what I’ve been going through” …and that’s what really resonated with me when I watched those films is what they could say without saying anything.
One of our ongoing stories from the last year-and-a-half was our friend Bobby’s. You can read about it here. Just over a year ago many of you gave gifts to help with some needs he had. After serving the remainder of his time, he is now free and trusting Jesus to build a new life. He’s been working hard doing home remodeling (I built a website for them: RemodelingMDorlando.com), paid down 75% of his court costs (so he can get a driver’s license), and is pursuing paying child support and seeing his daughter. He’s been meeting with me (Jayson) as well as our pastor to learn about the Bible and what walking with Jesus can look like. He has an incredible desire to minister to others. Just this week, he brought our small group into his effort to help a friend with late stage prostate cancer who is in a home with no power or water and no way to get to appointments. Bobby talks often about his desire to be a pastor some day.
Quick Praise Overview
Okay, and now some reminders of what God did this year. I’ll include a link to the post so you can find it.
With our new home moved-into (but not unpacked) and our baby-boy fully baked (but not delivered) we’re very much looking forward to what the Lord has in store for us in 2014!