Monthly Archives: October 2009

1) Cloversites: A Top-notch Web Presence for your Church/Ministry

cloverCloversites makes it so easy. Check them out at…

See their feature list at…

You can post audio or video at the drop of a hat — imagine your workshops, classes, sermons, and presentations, all instantly available to your organization or church members. You’ll be able to start editing your website in minutes. Their customer service seems awesome… and the tools are extremely cool. Several of our friends recommended Cloversites, including a church in Indianapolis, as well as a pro desktop publisher soon to be joining our crew here in Louisville. When we looked at the demo site, we soon learned why. *Sooo* simple. In fact, they claim that no one has ever asked them for a “guidebook” or help file. Why? Everything is so intuitive, nobody needs it. The price is reasonable too, for what you get. Everything is jazzy flash, yet loads quickly and is extremely search engine friendly. Their price? Always exactly $1000. That’s it. Afterward, pay a small monthly web-hosting fee ($20/mo for the first 100 gig). If you’re already considering switching web hosts anyway, please try Cloversites. If you’re starting up, for sure — please give them a chance. I haven’t found anything better on the web. (Please be sure to use the link above so they’ll know Brigada sent you their way. We would have recommended them anyway — and that’s the truth — but they’ve promised to recognize Brigada with a donation, depending on how many people sign up. So it’s the best of both worlds: You get a snazzy, quick, world-class website, and Brigada might end up with a gift as a result of your good choice!)

2) Get Help with Int’l Health Insurance Options

goodneighborinsuranceGood Neighbor Insurance has provided an extensive library of articles on understanding international health insurance, a large glossary of insurance terms and an excellent section on medical advice for the overseas traveler. Also GNI provides a quarterly E-Bulletin, “International Insurance Insights” that goes out to 13,000 recipients. GNI’s website includes travel and career overseas insurance plans offered by six major international health insurance companies. There are special web pages about insurance for families, single women, maternity, medical evacuation, short-term missions, short-term teams, term life insurance, over-65 insurance and pre-existing condition coverage and many more. Several GNI staff lived and worked overseas as missionaries for many years and thus understand the missionary’s unique needs. For more information contact

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or call 480/813-9100. Toll free in USA:


3) Totalization Agreements between USA Social Security & Others

socialsecurityFor those from the USA, have you been following the treaties on “Totalization” between the USA and certain foreign governments? They basically provide an infrastructure that gets you off the hook for having to double-pay your Social Security premiums, so on the whole, they’re probably a great idea. However, the trouble is, some 15 out of 20 treaties so far appear to depend heavily on the family’s willingness to live in the USA at least six months in every 5 years. (The idea behind this criterion appears to hinge on trying to determine some way to measure the family’s loyalty to the USA. Those who never want to come home for any extended period of time are presumed to have “gone native” and are in danger of losing social security benefits from their home country. Want to learn more? Read all about it at…

4) Check out This Children’s Version of Perspectives

outsidethelinesDo you regularly work with kids? Are you hoping to cast before them a global worldview? Would you like for them to gain a vision for reaching lost kids (and adults) everywhere? Check out the special children’s version of Perspectives at…

(Note: This URL will wrap. If you have trouble accessing it, just log on at

and use the link in the online version of this item.)

5) EFL Workbooks for Christian Studies

lynstapletonThese workbooks are designed for learners of English who need to improve their reading comprehension in order to perform effectively in Bible colleges and seminaries that require extensive reading in English. The intention is not to teach English, but to supplement classroom instruction with biblically contextualized passages and exercises. Vocabulary Building for Biblical Studies is an intermediate level workbook of 15 chapters centering on biblical and Christian themes. Each unit includes a passage of 1000 words and exercises that aid students in understanding and expanding their vocabulary. Men and Women in the History of the Church is a pre-intermediate primer. Each unit begins with pre-reading questions and a biography of approximately 650 words. This is followed by exercises on reading comprehension and vocabulary building, and ends with discussion questions. Developing Reading Skills is a two-part pre-intermediate curriculum based on the books of Jonah and Ruth.  Each curriculum includes a Student’s Workbook and a Teacher’s Book and introduces a variety of reading strategies, particularly observation-interpretation-application. Israel’s Judges focuses on the beginner level, covers all 4 skills, and includes communicative grammar activities for class use. There is a listening component that can be downloaded as well. All of the workbooks are available as a download, to print and photocopy for personal or class use, but may not be reproduced for profit. The website is:

Comments or questions can be sent to Lyn at

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6) Personal Growth Conference for Missionaries

missionarycare6 openings remain for Caring for Others’ next Personal Growth Conference for Missionaries. But better act fast: It’s slated for November 1-6th. Imagine a conference where attendees actually confer with each other. No big-name speakers.  Just people growing as they reflect on where God has taken them and where he wants them to go. Just people learning from each other’s wisdom and experience – and being encouraged in the process. Throw in a healthy dose of improving one’s relational skills and that’s what this Personal Growth Conference for Missionaries is all about.

For more details and information on how to register, visit

To learn more of what Caring for Others is doing to minister to missionaries, click on

7) Learn to Teach English as a Second Language

tesolTESOL is a course for aspiring ESL teachers.  Many English speakers working cross-culturally find that teaching ESL can provide a wonderful door of opportunity, but speaking English in itself does not make them skillful teachers. TESOL is a four-week course designed to develop the necessary teaching skills. This TESOL course will be offered in Indonesia by a mobile teaching team working with a local organization to establish an ongoing ESL program in that location, but the TESOL course is open to all aspiring ESL teachers and current ESL teachers who want more training, wherever they plan to teach.  Two advantages of this course are the hands-on teaching experience gained by working with the concurrent ESL class, and the exposure to cross-cultural living and teaching in an Asian culture. TESOL classes are being offered Feb 15 – Mar 12, and again Mar 22 – Apr 16, 2010. For course details and contact information, please see

8) Work Among Four Unreached People Groups

chinesewomenWould you like to work among unreached people groups for a year but don’t have much of any financial support – No Problem! Don’t have specialized training – No Problem! Don’t know how to get permission to stay in a restricted nation for a year – No Problem! Mark and Janet just returned from an incredible year in China and have great news. They want and need more workers. If you really want to go and make a difference, contact Mark for more details at

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or call (904)994-2733

(Note: We are not personally familiar with this opportunity; passing it along as it came to us at Brigada. “Caveat emptor.”

9) Undergird Brigada… for the sake of the Nations

Want to help encourage the dream of Brigada… the dream of working together to finish the Task of reaching the unreached? Just click on one of the “Donor” links at the top of this page. Both are safe, the one with PayPal and the other with one of the most well-known “real” online merchants on the web. Neither requires you to open an account with anyone … and neither ever spams you. We can even set up a regular once-a-month automatic withdraw from your checking account or major credit card. Set it up once and rest easily, knowing that you’re regularly helping get Brigada on the way to the nations. Or, if you prefer, just send an old-fashioned check payable to Team Expansion to: Team Expansion (Brigada), 13711 Willow Reed Dr., Louisville, KY 40299. (Team Expansion is a 501(c)3 incorporation so for USA citizens, your checks made out to Team Expansion are tax-deductible.) A gift of any size would help, whether monthly or one-time. If you know someone else who might like to help, just hit reply and tell us about him/her/them. Thank you for any help you can give.

10) The BackPage: What are some Typical Roots of Team Conflict?

conflictThis past Wednesday in our regular weekly Bible study at Team Expansion’s Int’l Services office, we tackled the challenge of trying to document some of the typical roots of team conflict. It was interesting enough to me that I thought we should expand on our discussion here in the “BackPage” of Brigada. As our springboard, we read from I Cor. 1, where Paul says he’s glad he hadn’t focused so heavily on baptizing people personally, simply because he was starting to get sick at his stomach of the number of ‘name-droppers’ who would somehow try to ‘glory’ in the fact that they had been baptized by Paul himself. So one of the roots of division and team conflict might be pride, do you think? :-) Whenever we are unwilling to give way to others, because we value our own needs above others’, we concluded that conflict would always be the outcome. Other causes might include inflexibility, selfishness, lack of communication skills, and more.

What are some of your own theories as to why missionaries, national workers, and home office personnel sometimes can’t (or won’t) get along? If you quote a source in your response, please point us to it. And thanks in advance for any tips you can provide.


Closing Stuff

Disclaimer — We can’t screen ‘em all. Please forgive us if a particular site contains offensive information — or no information at all! We try to visit them in advance, but often write “on the road” so we simply can’t preview everything.

Please Don’t Subscribe us to your List — Sorry — nothing personal –but we’re already deluged. We’ll eventually teach our spam filter to just delete it anyway, but in the meantime, we’ll have a sad face because of the volume of mass mailings we receive. :-(

Privacy Information — We will never give your information to anybody. We won’t market you, won’t hassle you, and won’t ever bother you. You won’t be signed up for mailings you didn’t request. Your address is safe and your future is secure. You have my word: We’ll never sell the mailing list to a marketer, spammer, or advertiser. Life is good. :-)

Copyright — (We actually have to say this stuff so the material can’t legally be used by those who are not likeminded.) This issue of Brigada Today is Copyrighted 2009. However, permission is granted to freely redistribute these materials, including those available on the Brigada website, provided that such redistribution is to those who will help the Good News of Jesus Christ to reach the unreached. To copy or reproduce Brigada Today for any other reason is illegal and is not permitted. When you quote or paraphrase material from Brigada, please include this phrase: “For a free subscription to Brigada’s weekly missions publication, visit Brigada on the web at”

1) Health Insurance Rate Increases

missionaryhealthIs your organization experiencing health insurance rate increases? Do you want to help support Brigada?

If so, be sure to contact Insurance Services of America. They are a Christian organization that specializes in helping individuals and groups find affordable health insurance options. They can put together a “tailor-made” plan to fit your group’s needs. Their group plan allows for takeover of existing claims & conditions and will provide your people with quality medical insurance worldwide – and they won’t charge you more when your people are in the US on furlough!

Check out some of their plans online at

or email them at

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or call them at 1-800-647-4589 (1-480-821-9052 outside of North America) and ask for Mark. ISA has a wide range of plans for missionaries, mission groups and churches, so be sure to contact them to see how they can “shop around” for you to help you save money on your health insurance needs. Plus they have agreed to help support Brigada from sales that are made on this link, so when you purchase on this site you will be helping to support Brigada and you will be protecting yourself and your ministry from financial loss!

2) Microfinance and Microenterprise Development

chalmerscenterFor those ministering to the poor in Africa, Asia and Latin America, the Chalmers Center offers a series of three distance courses on conducting Christian microfinance and microenterprise development. The initial course is Foundations and Principles of Holistic Ministry. The course is designed to help you understand appropriate goals and strategies for conducting church-based economic development in poor communities within Africa, Asia and Latin America. The next open offering of this course will be February 1- 26, 2010. Cost of this four-week course is $120 (USD) plus the cost of separately ordered course material.

The second course in the series is Principles and Practices of Christian Microfinance and Microenterprise Development. This course provides an overview of microfinance and microenterprise development and offers advice to those interested in selecting and designing a holistic intervention appropriate for their ministry context. The next offering of this course is scheduled for January 4 – February 19, 2010. Cost of this seven-week course including materials is $230 (USD). Note that the Foundations course is a prerequisite for this course.

The third course in the series is the eight-week course Promoting Church-Centered Savings and Credit Associations. The next offering of this course is scheduled for May 3 – June 25, 2010 with another offering scheduled for October 25 – December 17, 2010. This course is available to those who have taken the prerequisite Principles and Practices of Christian Microfinance and Microenterprise Development. Cost of this course including materials is $300 (USD). Learn more about these and other courses at:

3) Have you Tried Searching with Bing?

bingNot the Crosby kind. We’re talking about It’s fast. It seems equally effective. And some say it will save you as much as 30% of the time used by other search engines (because it takes, on average, 30% fewer letters to type its name into the box than certain other engines). :-) No but seriously… try it and see what you think. Yes, it’s from Microsoft, but when it comes to search engines, they’re coming from behind. Besides, the pictures are cool.

4) GoogleGroups Appears to have Changed Subscribe Command

googlegroupsIn the old days, you could use a hyphen… but apparently now, to subscribe to Google groups, you have to use a *plus* sign. So from now on, to subscribe to Brigada, it has to look like this:

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Please make a note of it. :-)

5) Last Quarter Perspective!

perspectives-1The Perspectives on the World Christian Movement course is a great way to help you identify your place in extending God’s kingdom in the nations and receive missions education credit at the same time.  Perspectives covers the biblical, historical, cultural, and strategic basis for missions. ICM (International Christian Ministries) offers the course on-line for certificate, undergraduate, or graduate credit. Check out

for more information and to sign up, or email:

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