Monthly Archives: December 2009

1) Check out This Mission and Prayer Database

Here’s an amateur ‘Mission and Prayer for the World’ Resources database, maintained by one amateur volunteer since 1999. Find it on the web at…

It contains a fantastic number of links… and the site has almost as much history as Brigada! (Besides — by the way, he even lists Brigada!) It just keeps going and going! Shew! :-) (The truth is: I’ve never seen a page with more links in all my life! :-) Bravo, Michael!)

2) Pray for the Azerbaijani

Interested in the Azerbaijani? Join the North American Azerbaijani Network, a network of churches, agencies, and people in North America whose mission is to raise the awareness in the Church in North America of the strategic need for mission to the 40 million unreached Azerbaijani people, primarily in Azerbaijan and Iran. Learn more at…

(And hats off to the Azerbaijani Network for pitching in a $50 gift to Brigada!)

3) Are You the “Artsy Type?” Try Clover

I continue to be high on Clover. (Not the weed, mind you.) Check them out at…

They have a *bundle* of new features coming out. Check them out at…

A new media player (that will automatically play your videos), a new calendar, podcasting, font-sizing, linkable pictures, passworded pages, the ability to refer to each page with a link even though it’s flash, a dedicated staff page, “slide show” objects and photo albums, and even automatic forms! Not bad for $20/month. Granted, the initial sign-up fee is stiff ($1000), but I ask you: How many of us could program flash-oriented high-tech pages like these… so fast! They even have real humans who answer the phone and help you, if you can ever think of anything to ask. Most of it is so intuitive, you’ll probably never need the tech support anyway. And by the way, all those new upgrades will be instant and free — and they’ll take care of it for you. As for uploading webpages, all you need is your browser… nothing to install, no plug-ins to download. Easy as that. Pick from dozens of templates and be up and running *tonight*.

(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 this way, it’s the best of both worlds: You get a snazzy, quick, world-class website, and Brigada ends up with a gift as a result of your good choice! By the way, they’ve already sent their first gift! So thanks to those who chose to try them out!)

4) New Free Online Office Collaboration Site Holds Promise

If you’re looking for a place to create and share documents with the team you love, you owe it to yourself to give Feng Office a try. It’s open-source (which means… you might need an I.T. guy to help you set it up on your web hosting machine, but once you get it set up, it’ll most likely serve you well and be free for life, for as many users as you like). It’s got a built-in word-processor like the one you probably already use, a built-in presentation creator mostly like the one you use, and a spreadsheet program in beta. On top of all that, you can set it up behind a secure site (https://…), host it on your own server, back it up yourself so you’re sure it’s done right, use it to share documents right and left, and do a dozen other things well — all for less than one trip to Starbucks… again, assuming you have friends with high internet I.Q.’s. :-) Check it out at…

In case you look for it on the web, until last week it was called “OpenGoo.” We waited ’til they removed the horrible name before we could promote it here in Brigada in good conscience. (Not really — but it *is* handy that they chose a new name.) Authored by software architects in Montevideo, Uruguay, where my wife and I served as missionaries. That makes it especially good. :-)

5) Culture Shock Russian Style!

Looking for the perfect Christmas gift? “Peterburgers” is a humorously piled platter that’s culturally insightful and spiritually challenging. Treat yourself to funny adventures in Russia told with culture shock training for missionaries (and their supporters back home) in mind. Order by contacting Bill at:

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Copies are $8.00 per copy (plus shipping).

6) Learn Cartooning and Animation in Thailand

This is one “scam” you’ll want to know about. Next July, Youth With A Mission (YWAM)’s Create International will present the School of Cartooning and Animation for Missions (abbreviated, “scam” :-) ) in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It will be a 6-month (5 July – 17 December), 2nd-level school (YWAM Discipleship Training School is a prerequisite). The course will be devoted to training students in using cartoons, comics, anime, and animated media to communicate the Gospel in culturally relevant ways. “Cartoons and animation can be powerful tools, especially in Asia where people line up to buy comic books,” says cartoonist and missionary Dave, the school organizer. “Cartoons have a special way of opening doors that would otherwise be closed.” Following a 3-month lecture phase, students will have a 4-week field assignment researching an unreached people group in their environment and developing evangelistic cartoon and animation materials for them. The remaining 2 months will be used to complete the materials and explore methods of publication and distribution. For more information, visit the website:

7) A Hoot Of A Missions Book Just In Time For the Holidays!

“The Great Siberian Rail Adventure” is the hilariously heart-stopping story of a missionary family moving by car, ship, and rail across Russia. Come along and you’ll find a dragon, an axe-wielding conductor, a supersonic clothes washer, and a van with a death wish. Packed with cultural insights, “The Great Siberian Rail Adventure” humorously celebrates a slice of life on the mission field. This Christmas, give the gift of adventure. Order by contacting Bill at:

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Copies are $8.00 per copy (plus shipping). Climb aboard!

8) Experience Bible storying like the early church did!

The early church spread God’s Word quickly despite political persecution and cultural resistance simply by telling everyone stories from the Bible! Experience 5 days of Bible storying in beautiful Orlando, Florida with Campus Crusade for Christ and then you’ll be able to train others. This trainers’ training is May 10 – 14, 2010 and is for individuals, churches, and mission agencies. Check-in time begins on Monday at 2pm. The seminar begins at 6pm and ends at noon on Friday.  The cost for on-site lodging, meals, materials, and airport ground transfers is $299 per person.  Reservations are required and training is limited to 18 people.  For reservations and information email

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9) Wycliffe Associates UK, Hospitality service

Wycliffe Associates, on the web at…

offers overnight and some holiday accommodation in many parts of the UK free or at minimal cost. They have recently produced a spreadsheet showing more detail about the type of accommodation, location, length of stay.  Each entry has a reference code that can be quoted if you are interested.  You don’t have to be British to stay in this accommodation! Questions? Contact

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10) Learn to Teach English in Southeast Asia

Here’s a four-week intensive TESOL course offered in Northern Thailand 8 March through 2 April 2010.  Learn to teach English among non-English speaking population with the opportunity to live in a foreign culture as well.  CERT IV is offered through Australian Qualifications Framework, but space is limited. There is also an on-site practicum as well as future teaching opportunities throughout Thailand and SE Asia.  For more information and registration email:

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11) Need an ebook? Wycliffe has you Covered


With over 320 projects completed, and many in hand, Wycliffe has put into electronic format Scriptures, Bible stories, dictionaries, literacy aids, translation guides, textbooks, and other Christian related materials. Although they only work in Roman script material there is so much that could be revised, reprinted, used for additional translation, if only you had it in electronic format. In Scripture they work to the best practice guide for USFMs and all files are in Unicode. Their aim is to help you by doing work to speed up progress for you or take something that you need, but were not sure how to get it done. All their work is done free of charge and they work with a good team (over 400 strong) who are skilled in getting high quality results for you.

In fact, maybe you have some “work in progress” that they can help with – anything from first draft manuscripts to old publications no longer in print? Or a precious translation that took years to produce and needs archiving in electronic format to preserve it for all time even if bound copies get lost or decay?  If so, visit them at the site above or write,

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12) We Give Thanks…

… For “an anonymous by very appreciative missionary” in Budapest, for his gift of $50. Thank you!

… For a Hoosier “True Friend,” who sent $100 this past week, saying “Thanks for Brigada!”

… For a new friend from the UK hosting a web page at…

with an amazing number of links on it! Whoa… if we could just learn all these! … and embrace all this information! Shew. Either way, thanks for the amazing $200 gift!

… For a “True Friend” of Brigada, most recently from the great state of Texas, but now headed to the Middle East for His Name’s sake, who sent $100 to empower Brigada! Thanks!!

… For a retired missionary, and a great friend of Brigada, with much appreciation for his gift of $50, mainly to ask us to promote a network to reach the Azerbaijani people. Gotta love it. Please visit them at…

… For a great friend from the great state of Oklahoma, in appreciation for a gift of $50 to empower Brigada out the door and onto computer screens around the world.

13) 2009: Almost Gone; 53 “True Friends” of Brigada Still Needed

The gifts described above bring out total 2009 giving to 11,839.38. To reach our goal of 17120, we’re still praying for $5280.62. Last year, one single entity sent a $5000 check. It *floored* us. This is the very last edition of Brigada in 2009. Would you consider making a very large and generous gift to Brigada? … or do you know someone who would? … or would you join with 52 other “True Friends” to send a gift of $100? If you’d like to be the one to make a difference, 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 your help in fueling the fire of Brigada!

Comment or inquire about this item at…

14) The BackPage: Recapping the First Decade of the New Millennium

This is the time of the year that everybody recounts the top events of the past year. If you ever doubted, just have a look at the Spokane Chess Club…

They saw a record snowfall (with apologies to Al Gore), a near-record number of players — 63 — participating in a weekend chess tournament, and the hosting of a huge state tournament. (I’ll admit: 1,061 chess players is a lot of Bobby-Fisher wannabes.) (Don’t ask me why I picked the Spokane Chess Club; it just seemed ideal. :-) )

What would you list as the top events of 2009 for you and yours? Would it be the inauguration of a new president? The changes he brought about? … or promised? … or the ongoing global economic slow-down & accompanying unemployment? Afghanistan? Pakistan? Iran? Nukes? Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tiger defeat? Iraq? Pirates? (Arrrr.) Mexico & violence? “Balloon boy?”

What would be the *strangest* event of 2009 for you? (Maybe “Balloon boy?” wins that category too?) Did you read a particularly random news headline? This one caught my eye… “Sanitation-Zambia: Turning Urine Into Gold.” (I’m not joking.) You know you’re in for a treat when the article begins like this:

“When he ordered his colleagues at the Water and Sanitation Association of Zambia to save all their urine in a plastic bottle in the office toilet, they thought he was mad. But German sanitation specialist Christopher Kellner wanted to demonstrate why he calls urine ‘liquid gold’.” (I’m not joking.) Apparently human urine contains the 3 most important plant nutrients which farmers normally *buy* for their gardens. Now boys and girls, before you rush out to help the family garden, better ask permission from you mom. This German guy reckons that the average person produces 500 liters of urine per year. At that rate, a family of 6 could take care of a 1000-square-meter garden. (Why have I suddenly decided *not* to become a vegetarian?) :-) If you think I’m making all this up, see the original article at:

Interestingly, the tag line for the Inter Press Service is, “The Story Underneath.” Who knew they specialized in latrines!? :-) The things you learn in Brigada. :-)

But what reeeeeeeeeally interests me is — what, for you, are the top news stories of the *decade*? We’re wrapping one up, you know. (Did that one seem faster than normal? … or is it just my imagination?)

Comment on these and ask your questions in the comment box below.

And as we close out another decade in Brigada Today, we give thanks to you and yours for a tremendous year. Thanks for being part of the Brigada family. Thanks to those who chose to give to keep us going. And thanks to the Lord and Father of Lights who makes life worth living, and gives us a message worth sharing. May His name be lifted up and glorified from the East to the West forever!


1) Short-term Trip Coming Up? Don’t Leave Home Without This

missionaryhealthHave you heard about the Day Tripper? It’s an international medical and medical evacuation plan for short-term teams. With rates as low as 52 cents per day you can’t go wrong with this plan! PLUS when you purchase this plan from Insurance Services of America on their web site

you will be helping to support Brigada! In addition to this plan, coverage is available for any international need – individual short-term trips, career missionaries, trip cancellation, short-term teams and term life insurance.

For coverage details, rates and the online applications of the Brigada sponsored plans, check ’em out.

2) Mobile Media Evangelism tools

indigitechNow you can share your faith while traveling cross-culturally in the languages of unreached people groups. Create International has developed “Gospel Gadgets” with all of their evangelistic films loaded ready to be shown to the target groups that you or your teams are reaching. These “Godpods” are specially designed for today’s “Mobile Media Evangelists” equipped with video and audio playback, ebook software to share the Bible in different languages, voice recording, and many more features. The best part about it is that they are one tenth the price of an ipod. For those of you working where electricity is rare or non-existent they have the answer for you: their portable solar charging unit. Find all of their Gospel Gadgets at:

(Thanks again to Create Int’l for that $50 gift they sent, acknowledged in last week’s Brigada.)

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