We are a team of husband and wife, Brandt and Lanie-Joy and sweetest littles, Jaxon, Boaz and Rilla-May.
How did we meet? Well, that’s the sweetest part. Picture a family fridge filled to bursting with school work and magnet keepsakes holding up old invitations and prayer cards. The Whatley family (including little Brandt) had a permanent place for their prayer card on the Smith family fridge (right beside Lanie-Joy’s newest drawing).
Both Brandt’s grandparents and parents served as overseas missionaries in Asia Pacific. Some of Brandt’s earliest memories are from the middle of a remote stone age people group, eating grubs and watching wide-eyed as his parents engaged with a people who lived day to day in fear. Fear of the spirits controlled every facet of life for these people, driving murder, sickness, and blood rituals that brought the people to the brink of extinction.
Meanwhile, in North America, Lanie thought it only made sense for her to marry one of the little boys on her fridge if she wanted to be a missionary herself. Wouldn’t you know it, the Lord worked out all the details 13 years later!
Our stories, yours included, are filled with pieces of evidence like this, pointing to the handiwork of a kind and faithful Father who is near and aware and working all things for our good and His glory.
Brandt continued to be challenged by the work the Lord was doing among unreached people groups. The Gospel changed everything! Praise the Lord, the people, now called brothers and sisters in Christ, hungered for God’s Word and continue to grow in their faith. Brandt’s family transitioned many times from life within the jungles of Asia Pacific, to life in the city and then newest of all to him, life in North America. Brandt found the Lord’s promises to be true in every continent.
These same promises hemmed Lanie in behind and beside as the Lord etched and wove His handiwork through her life. Saved at an early age during her parents’ divorce, the provision of believing family and church family proved a sweet gift of grace. While serving as a camp counselor years later at Native Bible Camps in Western Canada with Northern Canada Evangelical Mission, Lanie recognized that this grace, including the stability and deep-rooted peace found in Christ alone, is not a reality for all people.
With these contexts, people, transformation, and need in mind, Brandt and Lanie pursued training with Ethnos Canada, including two years at Ethnos360 Bible Institute, three years to develop skills and maturity as a married couple, and two years of training specifically for cross-cultural church planting.
The promises and faithful track record the Lord had been establishing stood as a firm foundation as He taught them to wait on Him despite financial difficulty, health issues, Brandt’s injuries after a motorcycle accident, and now preparation to allocate to Arctic Canada. They are looking to the One who wrote their stories and are asking Him for another transformation to take place, among the Inuit.
Will you join us?