Archive for August, 2009

By Bob Creson

As you know I recently returned from a trip to the African nations of Tanzania and Uganda. While I was there, I heard a story that spoke to the tremendous hunger the people have for God’s Word.

One of the Rangi translators had to literally tear apart the most recent draft of the Gospel of Mark—page by page—to distribute it to his neighbors and family pleading for this portion of Scripture in their language.

This story is recounted in a letter that you may have received a few days ago. If you did not receive this letter, you can read the rest of this amazing story online by clicking here.

This Rangi translation is part of an important Wycliffe project accomplishing great things for the glory of God in Africa. The project is called Scripture Access for All. If you enjoy hearing about God at work through His Word, you’ll be blessed by this story.

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Globe Icon: EmailBy Mary Tindall

Bringing the Word of God to remote locations is a deeply fulfilling calling, but at times it can be a lonely one. Separated from friends and family by thousands of miles, missionaries can sometimes feel disconnected. Yet hundreds of missionaries at Wycliffe and other mission organizations have found a solution: blogging and social media. Using tools such as Facebook, Twitter and Flickr, they are staying in touch with friends, family and financial partners – and having fun at the same time. Here are some of their stories:

Meet Danny and Ranette Foster, Wycliffe Canada missionaries working in Uganda and Tanzania with sons Josiah and Isaac. Danny is Director of Training and Development for the Uganda-Tanzania Branch of SIL International, and Ranette manages training finances and logistics.

For years, Danny Foster managed a Web site about his family’s work, but he grew frustrated when the site received only 25 to 50 visits in a good month. Earlier this year, Foster began searching for a better way to communicate his family’s work.

“I finally realized what the answer was when I found out my niece had a baby — one week after the fact! I was furious with my family, but they said she had communicated to everyone on Facebook AND Twitter! It was like I was behind the times.”

Now, Foster spends about five hours a week using social media, mostly on his iPhone. He uses Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook. Foster’s blog now gets more than 150 visits a month, and Wycliffe UK has re-blogged one of his posts. On Twitter, he entertains his followers with tweets like this one: “1 motorcycle + 14 hours + 969 Tanzanian klms = a VERY sore backside!”

Find the Fosters at: www.thefosters.ca; www.twitter.com/fosterius; www.facebook.com/danny.foster; www.thefosters.tumblr.com.

In Nairobi, Kenya, Jeff and Heather Pubols have used social media to chronicle their move from Florida to Africa. Sent by Wycliffe USA, Jeff is an IT support specialist, and Heather is a communications officer.  The two maintain a blog, Pubols Postscript, and about 50 people follow their updates on Twitter. Jeff and Heather use Twitter to share tidbits about life in Africa, such as “Just heard church bells from the church up the street. Now, we’re hearing the call to prayer from the Mosque down the road.” As Jeff and Heather have found, Twitter is a more instant, interactive way to communicate than the old-fashioned snail-mail letter.

Find the Pubols at: www.thepubols.com; http://pubols-postscript.blogspot.com; http://www.twitter.com/pubolspost.

For the photographically inclined, Flickr provides a great place to share images from the field. Just ask Hannes Wiesman, of Wycliffe International’s Board of Directors, who has posted dozens of pictures from a New Testament translation dedication in Papua New Guinea. With hundreds of views, this album has given folks around the world a window on Wycliffe’s work in an extremely complex language environment.

Meanwhile, back in Orlando, Florida, Wycliffe USA President Bob Creson logs onto Facebook from his iPhone. Creson started using Facebook to keep in touch with one of his adult children. From there, “it went from 0 to 60,” he says.

Soon, Creson , whose job is a supported staff position, was using Facebook to stay in touch with a wider audience. Then, he got hooked on Twitter. “What I started enjoying about Twitter is you get these little bursts of news,” he says.

“It comes back to strong personal relationships, so this is one of the tools we can use to maintain the support we need: financial support, prayer support. I’m always out looking for things that either promote our work or promote partners’ work, or create connections between our work and others’ work,” Creson says.

Creson used his iPhone to update the Wycliffe USA blog from India and Bangladesh recently.  It’s one more example of the global reach of social media.

Find Bob at: www.bobcreson.com; www.twitter.com/cbobcreson; www.facebook.com/bob.creson

How can you use social media to stay in touch with your family, friends and ministry supporters? Start by experimenting to see what tools work for you. Danny Foster, the Wycliffe Canada missionary profiled in this article, says, “Social media is free, so there’s no risk involved.” But be careful: If you bombard your followers with “rubbish,” you’ll lose your following, he says. “My rule of thumb is, “if it’s interesting, funny or important, post it.”

For video tutorials on various social media tools, click on: http://www.capturetheconversation.com/tutorials/.

Have you already started connecting with social media? Leave a comment about your experience.

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Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “An Orphan’s Tale“, posted with vodpod

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