My friend Sheri the gospel in central Asia.

Get Outta Here! – September 2018

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We’re traveled for about a month this summer for vacation, to see family, and to shore up some of our financial support. We’ve had a few people ask us how they can figure out if the Lord is calling them to participate in missions. Now… we can get into all of the theological answers about how to understand what God could be calling you to, but we’re not going to. We’ll just start with this:

GO!

It’s pretty simple advice. But, we’re serious about it. Just go.  Where should you go? Wherever you want people to hear about Jesus. If you don’t know, just find a short trip that fits your schedule at first.  After all, we do serve a God with a pesky habit of securing buy-in first and giving the key details en route. (e.g. “Go to the land that I will show you.”) Grab a friend or two and go together! How do you pay for it? Either out of your own pocket or ask the Lord and other believers to help you to pay for it (we promise, it works better than you think).

Here’s our other big piece of advice. Don’t just go and do medical, or building, or practical-help trips. Those are fine, but go where you can help people hear the gospel. There are lots of organizations and trips that combine Gospel presentation with meeting practical needs.

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?

– Romans 10:14

The Benefits

I cannot overstate the personal impact of seeing people hear the Gospel for the first time. If God allows you to see someone become one of the first people in their family to ever believe on Jesus, it’s can become an incredibly powerful reminder for yourself of what Jesus has/is doing for you!

Even if you don’t get to see someone receive salvation in Jesus, remember that there are inherent blessings on people who are doing the work of evangelism: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation…” – Isaiah 52:7

Opportunities

There are many organizations that you can travel with and bring the Gospel. Let us both suggest Jesus Film’s own Mission Trips team, though. This is who I went with to central Asia last October. On any of those trips, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to share the Gospel. If you go to JesusFilmMissionTrips.org you can see a full list of all of the trips they have coming up this year. If you want to go as a family, there are opportunities for children as young as 8. Some trips will show JESUS to entire villages, sometimes they’ll be on college campuses with my team’s app, sometimes you might be training people, or even distributing materials with the Gospel at major international borders. You might be in a megalopolis, a small town, in the mountains, or a jungle or desert…

Let me recommend 3 specific upcoming trips:

  • Panama: World Youth Day” – Help the 3 million youth coming to Panama this January find answers from God.
  • South Pacific – Samoa” – help Campus Crusade for Christ, International launch a new ministry location in American Samoa. You can bring kids as young as 10 to this one.
  • Ports Project” – touch the lives of North Africans as they return to their home countries from temporary jobs held in Europe. Kids 13+ welcome!

Any on the site would be awesome. You don’t need to do these, you don’t need to do a Jesus Film Mission Trip, but pick somewhere, and go!

Blahs Vegas – April 2018

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If you solve the wrong problem, it doesn't matter how well you solve it.

Don Norman

As I've pursued my focus on design as a specific path for my vocation, I'm consistently impressed by how much I don't know, and how much there is to learn. In the last few years, it has become clear that the Lord had been leading me toward User Experience Design ("UX") as my focus. I've sought to glean what I could learn from classes, books, podcasts, webinars, and the like. In December I jumped straight into the deep end – traveling to Las Vegas to obtain a certification in UX design through the Nielsen Norman Group. I gained more from the 6-straight days of classes than anything I’d done before.

I've been able to hit the ground running on some improvements to the Jesus Film app. Also, I am in the planning stages of a 6-12 month project to prioritize our strategies and approaches moving forward.

Sabbatical

This year marks 15 years that Carrie and I have been working with Cru full time! From December 26th – January 26th I took my first ever Sabbatical – a time to set aside work and labor and trust the Lord to refresh and renew. Some people's sabbaticals involve travel, or completing special projects, but I set my goal as this: that each day would be restful.

Planning ahead isn't something I revel in. I can do it. I can do it pretty well, and I don't always hate it, but it's solidly labor when I do it. So I didn't. Each day I did the things that seemed the most restful. Sometimes I did the kids' homeschool work with them, sometimes I mowed the lawn, did some roofing, slept in, got up early (hahahaha who am I kidding?!), cooked on the grill, roasted some coffee, taught Fia how to ride her bike, read a book in the middle of the day, and each day I set aside time to be in the Scriptures. I even finished my one-year-through-the-Bible plan during the time. I wrapped it up incredibly refreshed and ready to dive into my refreshed role at work.

I am grateful for our gracious God who values work and efficiency, but also has created rest for us — for us because he knows that we are weak, and because enjoying rest is good in and of itself. I'm also grateful to labor with an organization that seeks to value its people, and honors God's design by allowing for focused times of refreshing.

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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