Our Last Ministry Update – March 2022

jayson Misc 1 Comment

Our Last Prayer Letter

Last week we ended our career in vocational ministry with Cru. We’ve processed so much of this already in previous updates, and there’s not a lot left to say. If you are on our email list, we may send out “family updates” from time-to-time, but this is our very last ministry “prayer letter.” 

We are SO grateful for all of you who have partnered with us in prayer, with your finances, and by connecting us to others who might do the same. THANK YOU.

Financial Needs Through June

If you are one of our financial partners, any gifts that you give through June 23 will help with some continued financial pieces of our departure from Cru. If you’ve already ceased or moved your giving that’s totally fine, but if you haven’t please stick with us until then as it’ll fill in some final pieces for us and for the ministry – particularly our insurance and severance pay. Any gifts given after June 23rd will be forwarded on to the Nepalese families I’ve mentioned in previous updates.

What’s Next?

Ultimately, we’re going to keep walking with Jesus and going where He’s seeming to lead us. We’re doubling down on our investment in our community and in our local church. It’s also possible that we have a saved Zillow search for some areas of Pennsylvania.

For now, that means that Carrie is continuing to homeschool the kids and is pursuing a 3-year apprenticeship in classical education. Jayson is working as a Senior User Experience Designer at FedEx Ground – he’s also been asked to teach a few design classes at Valencia College starting this summer.

Jesus Film “Affiliate Staff”

I (Jayson) have loved the work that I was able to do as a designer with the Jesus Film Project, I’ve also accepted a very-very part-time volunteer role within my old department. It will allow me to “fill in” on projects that need just an hour or two here-and-there, and continue to use my skills directly for the Kingdom. It’s not paid and does not require any fundraising.

Parting Thoughts

The past 19 years have been challenging, weighty, encouraging, burdensome, formative, and ultimately an incredible blessing. As I’ve looked over the prayer letters that we were writing in 2003, I can see how much the Lord has changed both of us through calling us to Cru and abiding with us as we’ve walked this path. The friends that we’ve made – both other Cru friends, and in all of you – have been incredible blessings in both quality and quantity.

Pray for us. Pray for our kids. Pray that we would continue to walk worthy of the calling that God has put on every one of us who are in Christ. Pray that we would remember the thing that we’ve “preached” all these years – that every follower of Jesus is called to be a missionary wherever the Lord has placed them. Whether that’s in full-time ministry in Western PA, Washington DC, or Orlando; or as a UX Designer at FedEx, or a home-school teacher and neighbor in the neighborhood of Azalea Park. Or as a retiree in Mifflintown, a sales manager the Antelope Valley, a teacher in the Triangle, a die maker in Grove City, a mechanic in Lawrence Park, working at a startup in Berlin, or farming in Kansas. You are called, too.

70th Anniversary, 100th Birthday

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Bill & Vonette Bright at UCLA in the 1950s.

Last month marked two important milestones in the history of Cru and in global missions. Seventy years ago, in October of 1951, Bill and Vonette Bright surrendered their lives to God’s lifelong call. They sold their candy business and founded Campus Crusade for Christ at UCLA.

Since then, Cru has had a significant impact on the face of the Church around the world. Campus movements now exist on 10,036 campuses. We have staff and volunteers working in 190 countries. The Gospel has been presented at least 8.1 billion times in more than 1,900 languages and cultures. 

Now officially named “Cru Global,” we’re a collective of many ministries: Campus, Cru City, Athletes in Action, FamilyLife, Jesus Film Project, Cru Military, Inner City, Unto (formerly Global AId Network), Josh McDowell Ministries, Cru High School, Faculty Commons, the Impact Movement, Christian Embassy, Medical Strategic Network, NewLife Resouces, StoryRunners, Faith and Law Around the Globe, and far more.

“What the Lord entrusted to Bill Bright 70 years ago, we continue to entrust to everyone around us: a passionate love for Jesus, a heart to share the good news of Jesus and a commitment to building new disciples and sending them out to help fulfill the Great Commission.”

Steve Sellers
President of Cru

October 19th also marked Bill Bright’s 100th birthday. Dr. Bright passed away in July of 2003, just one day after I joined the Cru staff family. Josh Newell, the executive director of JFP, said this:

“He lived and breathed the Great Commission, sharing the Gospel at every opportunity. He motivated and equipped others to do the same, including me.”

I am incredibly grateful for the Brights’ faithfulness and commitment to the Great Commission, the impact that their faithfulness has had on the world, on my life, on Carrie’s life. I am so thankful for the opportunities it has afforded us to be a part of preaching the Gospel to all nations.

Thank YOU as well for your faithfulness in prayer and generosity that fuels our ministry!

From the Desk of Mrs. Whelpley

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If there’s anything I’ve learned in homeschooling, it’s to acknowledge when you’re out of your league with a question you can’t answer. You know, those impossibly formidable and menacing quandaries like, “How are you today?” 

Shall I end my family update there or take my stab at a response: “Compared to what?” 

Let me try again: We have toilet paper (and now, thanks to the scare, a bidet). We have food on our table and healthy little critters defiling it. And we do enjoy many a sweet moment when we can maintain the humor to see them.

Speaking of seeing, I will admit to not embracing the irony of my good vision waving farewell in 2020, along with my 30s and the relative stability of our world. Everything used to be so clear…

In a school year oriented heavily around classic literature, the kids and I got a kick out of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which provided some comic relief after Hamlet. Snorting babies turning into pigs and a Mock Turtle schooled in Reeling and Writhing, Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision? It’s amusing! But in the end, who was there but that pesky question of what in the world is certain… Had we not seen the last of Hamlet after all? 

Now granted, I’m only a 5th grader, but (homeschooling or not) the pressure can feel immense to send kids into adulthood with all the proper certainties: a life that is employable, enjoyable, and free of any cultural, political, and spiritual ambivalence. 

As Moderns, we’ve been taught to cling to the Certainty of New Things which will surely solve our outdated human struggles. As Christians, we read this as untrue, so we tend toward those clinging to the Certainty of Old Things. Meanwhile, the two camps berate each other with authoritative staunchness while I scramble just to plan tonight’s dinner. Must I pick sides and answer the questions to remain faithful? Which ones? 

The book of Hosea has long been a meaningful place for me to ruminate during upended seasons; chapter 6 verse 3 is my shorthand for the reward of pursuing the LORD:

3Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn;
he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.

But this time around, it’s verse 4 that’s gotten me:  

4What shall I do with you, O Ephraim? What shall I do with you, O Judah?
our love is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes early away.

What is certain in my interaction with the Lord? Is it my faithful pursuit? Surely not. I am the dew. Have I been placing my faith in the certainty of the LORD? Or in some quality of my own faith? 

Unlike Alice and Hamlet, the folks of Wonderland seem endowed with excessive certainty, as do the Pharisees in John chapter 9. Yet the account ends with Jesus’ indictment, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now that you maintain, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.” As believers, we of all people can be free to wrestle with life’s uncertainties, since Jesus our Anchor holds within the veil. Yet, it’s easy to default to fear of what might come untethered from our “control.”

All this to say, how is our family? We’re fine. We’re weary. We’re learning. We’re quiet. Like everyone, we’re plugging away, trying to stay next to people. We’re not sure how most things are going to play out, but we’re sure goodness and mercy will follow us all the days, and we certainly love hearing from you! 

Grace & Peace,

New Job, Needs & Training [August 2021]

jayson Misc 5 Comments

The New JD

I have a new job, and a specific, written-out-and-clear job description. Which is so refreshing. I will be a 🎺trumpetsounds🎺 Project Coordinator for JFP’s Digital Department (same department, different team). 

The role is an attention-to-details, high-touch, lots of follow-up conversations and meetings kind of job. It is not a job that I predict will be simple for me to slide into easily, and I’m not excited to get away from the user-centered design workspace. But! It’s an essential role that needs to be filled in our quickly expanding department that is engaging with a huge number of projects with global impact. And, again, a clear job description & role – and I’m excited about the challenge. Or at least I’m looking forward to learning better how to be content, and that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

When I looked at our project load on Tuesday, we’re at 80 currently in process in addition to the ones still being evaluated. It’s everything from translating our Jesus Film app into Thai, and new films being produced, to licensing agreements, and new processes for gleaning insights from YouTube viewing analytics.

Before I Get Started

This January, Carrie and I took our first pay raise in 5 years (and 3 kids). We knew that this would require us to find increased financial support, and we were confident we’d be able to take the time to do so. Then in a few short months, we had quite a few financial supporters contact us to communicate that they were redirecting or ending their financial partnership with us – sometimes due to their own financial situations changing, which we were sad to hear. But also because they were going to support people who were starting into ministry for the first time, something we cheered on. 

Those losses added up (subtracted down?) to just over $1200 of monthly financial support. Long story short, it has left us needing to increase our financial support by about $2100/month. I’m going to be working on that with about 80% of my time until we meet that goal.

Jesus Film Leadership Initiative

Starting this month, I joined 13 colleagues to take part in the second cohort of the Jesus Film Leadership Initiative, a program to train emerging leaders to grow in 4 key areas: character, community, competency, and capacity. It’s a 10-month program where we’ll be learning through biweekly classroom sessions, homework assignments, process groups, one-on-one coaching, assessments, and a three-month action-learning challenge designed to research and propose solutions for practical strategic needs within JFP.