March 2010

Video Conferencing
Over the last few months I have been setting up a video conferencing system for use at some of our mission organization's major sites.  You might wonder, "How does this help with Bible translation?"  Periodically our leadership need to travel around the world for important face-to-face meetings with each other.  By using a high quality video conferencing system this can improve the timeliness of these meetings, while reducing travel costs and lost work time while those in leadership are in transit.  Some international flights cost thousands of dollars and take over 24 hours from initial departure to final arrival.

Our mission has investigated video conferencing  systems a number of times over the past ten years.  Initially the equipment and the high speed communication lines needed were too expensive to afford.  But over time these costs have gradually come down while the technology has improved.  Finally this year our mission is taking the first steps to use this tool.  My role was to set up one of the hosting systems at JAARS which up to 5 other systems can connect to simultaneously.  I have also provided technical assistance to my peers working in Dallas, Orlando, Singapore and the UK where other systems are being installed.

This month the JAARS board of directors had an all-day meeting using this system.  One of the board members lives in Singapore and another lives in Australia.  In the past those people would have either flown to the USA for the meetings, or they would have participated over the phone which is less than adequate for a full day meeting.  To make use of the new system the person in Australia flew to Singapore, which was much less expensive and faster than flying to the USA.  Then he and the other board member in Singapore met together and participated using the video conferencing system.  Even though it was nighttime there while it was daytime here, they were able to be involved with the meeting just as if they were sitting in the same room as the other JAARS board members.

This initial use of the system proved very successful and it is now being used by various other people to communicate for critical meetings, which otherwise would need to be conducted face-to-face.  We have even tested some PC software which allows others to connect to our system with a PC and a high quality webcam as long as they have a fast Internet connection.  This is an example of how we are leveraging technology to speed Bible translation while the costs are justified by the results.  I am by no means an expert in video conferencing systems, but it has been fun to learn about this and to see how it can reduce costs and accelerate the work in a practical way.  We thank God for providing such technology!

Bills Update
Last month we let you know that we received $3,100 in unexpected bills.  Some people have responded with gifts to help meet this need – thank you!  Because of this, we have an outstanding balance of about $2,000 now and we have been in contact with each vendor.  We are squeezing out some minimal payments on each bill to avoid having the vendors pursue more drastic collection.  If you feel led to help reduce this balance, let us know and we can discuss the best way to send in your gift.  Thanks for praying with us about this too.

Krista - Going to Kindergarten?
This week Krista filled in as a substitute teacher for three days.  On two half-days she taught a kindergarten class and one full day she taught first grade.  She has done quite a bit of high school sub teaching in the past but not very much in the elementary schools – what a different environment!  She says the children wear her out more than high schoolers because they are so active and it takes a lot more work to keep their attention.  One little boy said that she was a "mean teacher" and a little girl asked her if she was a grandma (she is not!)  The next day another sweet little girl asked her if she was going to have a baby!  You just never know what they are going to say.

Please pray for Krista's energy as she is pretty worn out when she comes home from a day with 20 kindergarten children.  Regardless of their innocent comments, Krista enjoys working with the children and helping them learn.  Her delight is receiving their hugs when they see her across the room.

Once more, thank you for joining us in prayer and for your interest in our ministry.  The Lord is at work moving in people's lives as they receive His Word.  We feel privileged to be a part of this work, and through your partnership you help make it possible!

Until next month,
Hank & Krista