Monthly Archives: April 2010

1) The #1 Flashiest Website Around: Clover is Easy, Snazzy, Fast

Yesterday I asked my two sons what they thought about the new Team Expansion website, now staged at CloverSites:

http://www.teamexpansion.org

They *raved*. One son (the 20-year-old) said, “Dad, I’ll be a missionary with Team Expansion now that your website is this cool.” :-) OK… maybe his comment was tongue-in-cheek (although he *is* actually leading a summer team for us this summer), but the truth is, they really did like it. What’s more, it’s really easy, really fast, and really has a lot of potential. If you’d like to see some of the available features, take a look at:

http://www.cloversites.com/features-for-all-our-church-websites and

http://www.cloversites.com/greenhouse-updates

Those are all included in the base rate of $20/month.

I don’t know of a single, solitary more effective web-authoring solution for the non-web-professional. Just browse to…

http://www.cloversites.com/f/friendsofbrigada

to get started. Remember, even though it’s flash, the folks at Clover have developed a method of showing text to search engines, so your site will be very search-engine-friendly. And there are even more upgrades to come… and you’ll get them all for the same low monthly price once they’re finished. (What’s more, Clover gives a tithe of all the start-up feel to Brigada… so when you use the best website, you’re also helping power-up Brigada.)

2) New Version of Online Bible Promises Helpful Content

Ever been to BibleGateway.com? You probably have and just didn’t notice. Try it: Go to Google, type in (without the quotations)

“NIV Bible Matthew 28” or any other scripture passage. My hunch is… BibleGateway.com will be the first pick. Not satisfied with being at the top, BibleGateway.com wants to improve! Browse to…

alpha.biblegateway.com

You’ll have to register, but if you can’t trust your Bible, whom can you trust! :-) Just one sample of what’s in store after the long wait for your new registration credentials (it’s really not *that* long): A 14,000-article online Bible encyclopedia, done in Wiki format, so it can be updated by a cloud of witnesses as time goes on. And it’s all free.

3) Second Africa Tentmakers International Conference

All are invited to the second all Africa Tentmakers International Conference.  It will be held at Dadji Sports Academy, Douala, Cameroon, August 12-15, 2010. 40 African countries will be gathering. Through training sessions, interactive workshops, worship and prayer, participants will develop their abilities to reach out in both urban and rural areas. There will be a strong emphasis on learning from other tentmakers’ experiences. The conference is designed for those who would use their trades or experiences to reach the unreached. Registration is 10 Euros. Accommodation is 52 Euros. For further information contact

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4) Bible Resources for Immigrant Peoples

Millions of people are on the move to new countries. Do you know someone who has moved away from their home language area? It is often difficult to find Bibles in those other languages. The World Bibles site can help you. It lists over 14,500 places on the internet where you can find Bibles in over 4000 languages. Many are free downloads. The site includes Bible sources in Braille, video, audio and mobile phone formats. Check them out at

http://worldbibles.org

5) Free Web Space for Bible text

Many minority languages Bible translators would like to put their work on the Internet. If you would like your people group to have internet access to the Bible in their language, but you don’t know how to put it on the web, the people at World Bibles

http://www.worldbibles.org

can help. And it is free. All you will need to do is send them a one page email with Scripture pdf file(s) attached.  They will build you a simple web page where people round the world can find and download Scripture. They only take straight Bible text, not teaching materials or sermons etc. Before you send anything get more details from: David

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6) Upgrade Hard Drive In a Flash

Next time you run out of space on your laptop, ask yourself a critical question: Do you really need to chuck the whole laptop? … or might you extend its life for a while by spend $135 or so on a new 500 gig hard drive? If the answer is yes, be sure to look for one of the new hard drives with 3 or 4 gig of on-board RAM (memory). Example:

http://reviews.cnet.com/hard-drives/seagate-momentus-xt-250gb/4505-3186_7-34109212.html?part=cnet&subj=Seagate+Momentus+XT+%28250GB%29

(This URL will wrap. If you have trouble reassembling it, just log on to the online version of Brigada and click on the link in this item.)

Using built-in subroutines, these hard drives cache out the most often-needed information, thereby saving the amount of writes to the moving disk. Not only are they faster, but they’ll also be more efficient too. You might see a noticeable improvement in access time and a decrease in the amount of “whirring.” By the way, when you upgrade, don’t forget Brigada’s guide on swapping out a hard drive. See…

http://www.brigada.org/2009/11/08_3126

This item contains information that we couldn’t find anywhere else on the web — all in one place — as to how to swap out a Windows OS hard drive. (Greg, thanks for the reminder about the new hard drives.)

7) Assess Your Agency’s Human Resource Department…

Next time you have a moment to improve on your mission’s H.R. Dept., why not follow up on a tip from Kelly and Michele O’Donnell. They wrote this past week to recommend a 25-point check-up from People in Aid:

http://www.peopleinaid.org/pool/files/publications/basic-elements-in-an-hr-system-final.pdf

(Note: This URL will wrap; if you have trouble reassembling it, just log onto Brigada and use the link there.)

By the way, if you’d like to create stronger H.R. *management*, the O’Donnell’s also recommended this tool from Management Sciences for Health (MSH).

http://erc.msh.org/newpages/english/toolkit/hrd.pdf

(Thanks Kelly and Michele!)

8) Feedback on Humanitarian Worker Wellness

Not that long ago, we featured a survey being carried out on the Humanitarian Worker Wellness Inventory (HWWI). See the original item at:

http://www.brigada.org/2010/01/31_3936

The purpose of the research project was to adapt as an assessment and provide psychometric validity information for Dr. Keckler’s Comprehensive Missionary Wellness Model. The principle of the HWWI is that one can use it for well staff rather than simply a tool to use when problems surface.  Although more follow-up research is needed, the HWWI did turn out to be a verified tool — one that you can put to use today in visits with your humanitarian aid staff workers. If you’d like to read the executive summary, download and open this PDF:

http://www.brigada.org/today/articles/wellness_inventory.pdf
Also, if you end up building on his research at all, please contact him via the website he has set up at…

https://myprojectincubator.com

Thanks for following up with us Phil!

9) Resources for Focusing on the Arabian Peninsula

The Arabian Peninsula is the focal point of all Islam and there is a growing array of resources to encourage prayer for the peoples of the Arabian Peninsula. Download Praying Through the Arabian Peninsula (PTAP) booklets at

http://www.pray-ap.info

Pray, view and/or use in worship any of the excellent 1-2 minute PTAP YouTube videos

http://bit.ly/PTAP-prayershorts

Subscribe to receive weekly PTAP prayer requests at pray4ptapatgmaildotcom. Follow PTAP’s “Twitter” version of the prayer email at

http://www.twitter.com/prayap

10) EFL Workbooks for Christian Studies

These 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. They are available as a download, to print and photocopy for personal or class use, but may not be reproduced for profit. Take a look at all of them at…

http://www.sites.google.com/site/stapletonlyn

Comments or questions can be sent to Lyn at

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(Thanks Lyn!)

11) We give thanks…

Thanks to the Brigada reader from Virginia Beach, VA, who sent $10 this past week, with a note that “Brigada is inspiring.” God be praised. In addition, $25 came in from another town in Virginia, along with $25 from Pasadena, CA, and $25 also came in from William Carey Library Bookstore, available online at…

http://www.missionbooks.org

(Thanks Jeff and company!)

We are humbled, inspired, and encouraged by these gifts, which pay for our expenses, empower Brigada onto your screens this week, and cause us to get up in the middle of the night to edit and distribute this material.

12) Give the Gift of Brigada…

Here’s your chance to make a gift to people around the world: Enable them to find a dozen or more resources *weekly* throughout the entire year. To undergird this ministry, 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 Authorize.net. 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!

13) The Backpage: Nehemiah Didn’t Let Position Go to his Head

We’ve all seen it: a volunteer gone bad. Somebody steps up to the plate at your church, club, or business, mustering courage and good motives. Everything starts fine… but little by little, that position of power goes to his or her head and, before you know it, an opportunity for service has turned into a platform for posturing. Pretty soon, the volunteer has forgotten his/her first love for service, trading it in for ego and a desire for power.

Not so with Nehemiah. He didn’t let his position of service go to his head. Example: In Nehemiah (the book in the Bible) chapter 5, several poor people cry out about their condition. Nehemiah listened (5:1-6) — which is, after all, a great way to start when we want to help the poor. Next, he “ponders” (vs. 7). My guess is, when it comes to getting involved in humanitarian aid projects and community transformation, we could all do with a bit more pondering before we plunge. Then he became their advocate (vs. 7), arguing and winning favor for their position. But he was not content with words alone. Once he had articulated the cause, he brokered an agreement or contract, of sorts, with those who were causing the trouble (vs. 9-13). He finished what he started — all the way to the end.

1) One of the Most Unique (and Engaging) Movies Ever Made

“Yai Wanonabalewa (The Enemy God)” has to be one of the most unique movies ever produced… and it’s now been released on DVD. Originally conceived of by 2 Yanomamo leaders some 15 years ago, it is a dramatic feature (not a documentary). Yet – nearly every scene is based on actual historical events. Because the government of Venezuela prevented the filming of the movie in that land, where the events occurred, the producers (10X Productions, led by a batch of former Caleb Project media specialists) enlisted the help of some 300 Kekchi tribesmen from southern Belize (many of whom have never before seen a movie — ever). This is a real-honest-to-goodness movie, shot on 35mm and Super16mm film (none of that fake digital stuff :-) ). To keep things real, the producers asked the Yanomamo leaders to be present during the entire filming — to ensure accuracy. It took 47 days of filming. A significant portion of the proceeds from the film (50% in fact) will directly benefit Yanomamo communities in Amazonas, Venezuela. Producers faced a ton of challenges, including government opposition, local resistance, and even poisonous snakes, but still overcame all odds to bring us a story of spiritual warfare, animistic practices, and the dominance of native religion among South and Central American tribespeople.

Hear me well: This is an intense film. You will want to watch it first, before showing it to your junior church. In fact — you might want to watch it first before showing it anywhere. It is sometimes graphic, sometimes heart-wrenching, but always engaging. My advice for professors of seminary classes looking for something related to spiritual warfare, anthropology, world religions, and Cross-cultural communications: Run, don’t walk, to order a copy. To anyone working in folk religions, you finally have an inside view to what goes on “inside their heads.” I can’t even put into words the “point of view” from which the story is told… because it seems to be totally Yanomamo… cross-cultural. I felt as if I was living inside the body of a Yanomamo tribesman. I spent much of my time fearing what might come next. Honest — this movie is stirring. If you have a missionary working among tribal peoples, this will give you a new perspective on prayer and its potential to make a difference. Don’t expect a heart-warming, feel-good story like something from a Disney kids’ film. Expect to be sobered. Expect to experience a perspective you’ve never felt before.

Sold complete with a companion study guide and 53 key questions to rock your world, The Enemy God is available from the companion website…

http://www.theenemygod.com

(Of all things, after everything they faced during production, makers of the film sent a gift to Brigada to encourage us onward. Thank you. Sobering.)

2) Let Wycliffe give you a Taste Of Translation And Linguistics

You like the idea of missions but you’re not sure about learning another language… Or you like languages and you’ve wondered about Bible translation, language survey, literacy or other language related ministries… Or you think you know what Bible translation is all about… Let Wycliffe show you how to learn language the linguistic way. You will also learn about the many options in Wycliffe. Your stereotypes will disappear as you are actively involved in the latest paradigms of translation that are propelling the Bible translation movement off the charts. TOTAL Vision is a one-week experience in what it’s really like to be involved in a vernacular approach to mission. In one week you’ll know if God is leading you into a language-related ministry. It is offered twice this summer; June 21-26 and July 25-30, 2010, on the campus of Azusa Pacific University, in Azusa, California. The cost is $225 for room and board and all your materials. For more information call 951-775-7505, email

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or visit

http://www.wycliffe.org/TOTALVision

3) It’s like a Phone Book, only Haunted

:-) By using the search engine at…

http://www.spokeo.com/

you can search for your own information (and see how public it is) or for that of your team (and/or business). Sometimes, the stuff it has aggregated is fairly spooky. :-) By spooky, I don’t mean scary-spooky; I mean, “How-did-they-figure-this-out” spooky. Check it out. My best guess is that only 2 out of 5 people are listed… so try several before you give up on it. And it’s *not* just limited to those who use the Internet. So if you thought that by burying your head in the sand, the Internet would go away, you were wrong.

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