Home » Feature Stories, Headline, Mission News

Online communication vital to mission work

September 30, 2010 No Comment

The expectation of having Internet and telephone service extends to the mission field and when it’s not available, it’s easy to forget how people communicated without it.

Martin Weber, a Bible translator with Lutheran Bible Translators-Canada (LBTC) serving in Cameroon, resorted to using his satellite telephone to let head office in Kitchener know that both Internet and telephone service is unavailable indefinitely.

“It’s like the old days again for the Webers,” explained Jane Ford, development coordinator for LBTC. She said that before the Internet they would wait weeks to receive research information or news from home. “One of the greatest advantages of advancing technology is how much more effectively our overseas missionaries can work,” Ford said. “When that technology goes down, it is back to the old way of working.”

Joan Weber's laptop helps with translation and keeping in touch with home online.

Weber advised LBTC to communicate through a special phone number until he can communicate via e-mail again. “Satellite telephone use should be limited due to the exorbitant prices being charged,” he advised.

While this loss of communication may only be temporary, about three years ago something similar happened. “At that time,” says Jane, “Internet service was out for more than a month.”

Pastor Ruffino checks online resources on one of the computers at the Nicaragua mission centre

The problem of intermittent Internet service prompted Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) to install a satellite connection for the mission centre in Chinandega, Nicaragua. “Having that immediate connection available with the mission field is invaluable to us,” noted Dr. Ian Adnams, LCC’s director of communications. He said that from both an administrative and communication viewpoint it’s “not only good for LCC, but it allows the mission centre staff to work directly with visiting mission teams.” The visiting groups also us the mission’s Internet connection to keep in touch with home. Pastors and deaconesses of Iglesia Luterana Sínodo de Nicaragua also use the Internet for research and keeping in contact with people they have met from North American mission groups.

The only disruption of the Nicaragua service came two years ago when the government began rotating power blackouts that affected the LCC mission centre during business hours. A generator eventually put the centre back online.

In Southeast Asia the availability of the Internet is also important. Last year, as the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cambodia was established, LCC received an e-mail request for some information and the document was in Cambodia within minutes and presented to an ongoing meeting!

“LCC has used the Internet since 1996 so it’s part of how we operate now,” observed Dr. Adnams. “It connects us with the church around the world, which for everyone is a blessing from God.”

Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.