Why Do We Use Ascii Text For Brigada’s Emailed Edition?

When we tried the switch (to HTML formatted email), the outcry was pronounced. And no wonder. Of the 1,173,109,925 Internet subscribers at the end of 2007, only 349,980,000 were said to connect via broadband. That means that the vast majority of the world is still looking at the Internet through a small pipe (dial-up).
Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_broadband_users
and
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_number_of_Internet_users
(this last source will wrap; please reassemble it in your browser’s “To:” box.)

What’s more, many of these dial-up users have HTML disabled by default, which means — when they receive emails laced with http: links within them, the http: links complicate and confuse normal text like nobody’s business. Beyond that, many of the world’s broadband users have “download pictures in email” turned off by default, as well. (They’ve been taught to do so because of virus- and trojan-laced emails.)

What’s more, in an in-depth survey by Jupiter Research in 2006, some 1166 users asserted that they were more likely to open and read/respond to an email if it contained a) products or features that were interesting to them (54%), or b) written copy that attracted them (40%), or a subject line that caught their eye (35%) or a compelling offer (33%). Less than one-fourth even paid any attention to pictures.
(The source for these stats was:
http://www.emaillabs.com/tools/email-marketing-statistics.html )

But what about using hot links to skip down to the individual items from the table of contents in the top-line summary? Wouldn’t that save time for all readers? Well if they have HTML functionality turned on, yes – probably. (I for one don’t; by default, I look at mail in ASCII text mode.) But why wouldn’t those users be able to click over to the web, then, and just use the corresponding web version to leap from link to link to their heart’s content? In this way, if they’ve decided to look at text-only email, they’ll like Brigada. Otherwise, they can always click to the web version for pictures, links, special features and lots more.

So our conclusion, after lots of consideration, was to preserve Brigada’s original ascii formatting by email, but continue to focus on sprucing it up some for those who are able to use the web. That’s all we have to say about that.

Help Us Test our New Online Giving Tools?

Would you help us test our new online giving software? As you know, our budget for 2008 is $17,150. So far, we have about $3500. These funds go for secretarial help, costs of the website, missions mobilization, and even a share of the new building where Brigada will be based (on Team Expansion’s new site, Emerald Hills). Would you help? See the pushbuttons at the right-hand top of the home page… or use the PayPal link if you prefer. Either way, you can also click on the “Donate” page in the link at the top of the webpage

http://www.brigada.org/1995/01/contribute.html
You can choose to use PayPal or any major credit card (to do the latter, when it asks for your PayPal account, just erase the user name and password, then, at the bottom of the page, where it says “Use any major credit card”, just click there and fill it out like a normal form at any other payment web form. On the other hand, if you want to use PayPal, just fill in the info for your account. Or if you prefer, just send an old-fashioned check payable to Team Expansion to: Team Expansion (Brigada secretary), 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.) As always, be sure to let us know if you’d like us to promote any particular service or ministry, or if you’d prefer your gift be anonymous. And thank you in advance for helping.

The Backpage: The Power of Harmony (Olympic Opener)

Like many inhabitants of our planet (about 15% of the whole world), my wife and I watched as China threw a party to beat all parties at the Olympic Opening Ceremonies. I was amazed by all the wizardry, costumes, people hanging on wires, and the works. Granted, I would have loved a more telling commentary — one that explained the ups … and *downs* of China’s past and present. (Can any body say, ‘positive spin’ on a history that hasn’t always been known for guarding human rights?) But laying all that aside for a moment, I’ve got to ask: How in the *world* did they do that refrigerator box routine? (Photo at left courtesy Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) You know… the “movable type blocks” scene which everybody just assumed those 897 boxes were run by hydraulics, forming shapes of the wind, Chinese characters, ‘waves’, and more. How does one create that kind of teamwork? (On 3 different occasions, they showed the Chinese character that translates, “Harmony.”) How’d they do it? How do you get 897 guys to spell out the shape of a wave, the wind, or a complex Chinese character in Bronze, Seal, and then Songti kaishu (Modern Chinese Script)? Well the explanation I heard was 8 hours a day, solid, for 4 months. That’s right: 861,120 man-hours. Yikes. No wonder they had teamwork. Never mind that the budget was $300 million dollars. The point is — how does a guy know how high (let alone *when*) to raise his box. (Curious there were no ladies, right? :-) ) Again, let’s try to overlook all the human rights violations for a moment and just focus on the “lessons learned” from that one scene: What’s your opinion? How would you train 897 guys to do that? What kind of technical assistance would you give them? (What were those audio headsets telling them?) Anyone got any inside info?

So if we grant that it took a lot of teamwork and precision, what this illustrates *big-time* is that for a team of 897 to reall pull off a large-scale success like this, he has to recognize he’s part of the body. Likewise (if you can permit me a poetic license for a moment, even about a government that has restricted rights for decades), we’ll function best in the body of Christ if and when we see ourselves in perspective of the larger body. Ephesians 4. Romans 12. I Corinthians 12.

What’s your perspective on that “harmony” movable type routine? How do *you* think they did it with all those refrigerator boxes? (I’m prepared for a couple of commenters to take me to task about ‘why in the world would I watch an opening ceremony from a nation that has limited human rights’… but what I’m really hoping we can carve out is — how does a team learn to act together as one?)

Closing Stuff

DISCLAIMER — We can’t screen ’em all. Please forgive us if aparticular site contains offensive information — or no information atall! 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. Life is good. :-)

COPYRIGHT — This issue of Brigada Today is Copyrighted 2008.However, permission is granted to freely redistribute these materials,including those available on the Brigada website, provided thatsuch redistribution is to those who will help the Good News of JesusChrist 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 includethis phrase:”For a free subscription to Brigada’s weekly missionspublication, writeand/or visit Brigada on the web at http://www.brigada.org/.”

2008/07/06 — Brigada

“Brigada: Since 1995… Buckets full of Resources, Trends, Challenges — all in a weekly e-zine & website…”
Compiled by Doug Lucas, Team Expansion, Louisville, KY
(Thanks for your patience as we ‘catch up’ with the publishing date.)

In this issue…
1) SEEKING SOURCES FOR AUDIO/VIDEO DISCIPLESHIP MATERIAL
2) HEALTH INSURANCE RATE INCREASES
3) REFLECTION AND PRAYER
4) [This item removed temporarily]
5) MEDICAL MISSIONS RESOURCES
6) TEACHER TRAINING WORKSHOP IN PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA
7) FREE EVANGELISTIC AUDIO/VIDEOS
8) HELP US TEST OUR NEW ONLINE GIVING TOOLS?
9) THE BACKPAGE: HOMECOMING FOR A SOLDIER
10) CLOSING STUFF

Seeking Sources for Audio/Video Discipleship Material

Tony recently wrote, on behalf of a friend, asking for possible sources for discipleship material — especially audio or video material — in French and/or Arabic. Apparently the friend was trying to help a new immigrant from Burkina Faso. She had spent her teenage years in Saudi Arabia as a virtual slave. She is now free, is married to an American, and is eager to learn more about her newfound Savior. Unfortunately, she has received little formal education, and is virtually illiterate. She speaks English well (and also speaks French, and a bit of Arabic) but cannot read or write beyond her letters and basic sounds. In particular, the church is seeking material that would help her understand and bridge the gap between her indoctrination as a Muslim and her new life as a Christian. Are there downloadables (MP3s) that might help her? I was thinking of all the “storying” stuff that’s being developed. If you have an idea, just click to this item on the web and leave a comment. (Feel free to leave it anonymously if you wish.) Thanks!

Health Insurance Rate Increases

Is 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 http://www.missionaryhealth.net/brigada , email them at

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!

Reflection And Prayer

Dr. Evelyn Davis, SIL International Training Consultant, with others assisting, will prepare participants to lead half or full days of Reflection and Prayer and also Short Retreats at two US locations. The October 1-10, 2008 session will be at Brookhaven Retreat near Dallas, TX, and the May 13-22, 2009 session will be at [edited 12/9/2008] White Oak Conference Center in Winnsboro, SC (not far from our JAARS location in Waxhaw).

For detailed information, with an application form, contact

Also, please pass the information on to anyone that you think might be interested. Please note that partial and/or full scholarships are available if that is needed. The training will be done for the Pacific Area November 20 – 29 at Kangaroo Ground in Australia. For information about that session, contact

Medical Missions Resources

Are you working in the mission field and need medical supplies for your missions work? Are you a church that wants to help your missionaries? Giving Children Hope is a US-based charity that exists to serve you in your needs. Visit their website at

http://www.gchope.org/

for more on Giving Children Hope. If you would like to fill out a sponsorship application to receive a shipment you can find that at

http://www.gchope.org/partner-with-us.html

If you can questions you can contact Jenise at

or via phone at +1 714-523-4454. GCH has 15 years experience shipping containers full of commodities to establish a brand new clinic in your community or air ship to you a pharmaceutical package valued at over $500,000 wholesale value. They also have a Mission Store open in Southern California filled with over-the-counter and hygiene items.

Teacher Training Workshop In Phnom Penh, Cambodia

On August 14-16, David will be leading a Teacher Training Workshop for those interested in using the Bible Training Centre for Pastors (BTCP) Concept & Curriculum. BTCP

http://www.bibletraining.com/

is a non-traditional 10 course curriculum aimed at training pastors and church leaders to be equipped and effective in ministry. The concept is local church based training by a mature Christian leader in a discipleship/mentoring relationship with the students. The Teacher Training Workshop is for missionaries and pastors who already have seminary or Bible school training. Once they attend the workshop, approved attendees can order the BTCP manuals and use them whether in a local church or Bible school for training pastors or church leaders already involved in ministry. The training manuals average from 120 to 330 pages and are translated in most languages. For more information, contact David

or davidmindy (Skype). David leads Crossing Cultures International

http://www.crossingculturesint.org/

BTCP’s main partner in Asia.

Free Evangelistic Audio/Videos

Let’s build a list here of free audio and video resources (and links to the same) that can be used for evangelism in various languages and dialects around the world. This request came from an anonymous commenter for an item in the June 22, 2008 edition of Brigada.

Help us Test our new Giving Tools?

Would you help us test our new online giving software? As you know, our budget for 2008 is $17,150. So far, we have about $3500. These funds go for secretarial help, costs of the website, missions mobilization, and even a share of the new building where Brigada will be based (on Team Expansion’s new site, Emerald Hills). Would you help? See the pushbuttons at the right-hand top of the home page… or use the PayPal link if you prefer. Either way, you can also click on the “Donate” page in the link at the top of the webpage

http://www.brigada.org/1995/01/contribute.html

You can choose to use PayPal or any major credit card (to do the latter, when it asks for your PayPal account, just erase the user name and password, then, at the bottom of the page, where it says “Use any major credit card”, just click there and fill it out like a normal form at any other payment web form. On the other hand, if you want to use PayPal, just fill in the info for your account. Or if you prefer, just send an old-fashioned check payable to Team Expansion to: Team Expansion (Brigada secretary), 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.) As always, be sure to let us know if you’d like us to promote any particular service or ministry, or if you’d prefer your gift be anonymous. And thank you in advance for helping.

Comment on this item online at:

The Backpage: Plan a Homecoming For A Soldier

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about homecomings. With my son’s arrival just 72 hours away (he’s returning home following a medical discharge from the army), I’ve been trying to play it all through my mind. Should we have a big banner? But what if he’d prefer something less public, less showy? Will he want to go on a weekend camping trip with me to talk about his experiences — to “debrief?” Or would he rather just ‘chill’ with his friends. Those questions — and more — are on my mind.

Along a similar vein, I wonder what kinds of approaches our Brigada participants have taken to welcoming missionaries home. When your worker comes home from Kosova or Kazakhstan, Mozambique or Morocco, Ukraine or Uganda, how do you say ‘hello’ again? What are your “rules of engagement”? How much do you plan in advance, vs. how much do you leave ‘unstructured’? Does your church try to provide a vehicle? Does your organization have furlough housing?

Would you take a moment to spell out some of the broad strokes of your approach to ‘homecomings’, and if you have link(s) to resources for further reading, please be kind enough to share those too.

11) Closing Stuff

DISCLAIMER — We can’t screen ’em all. Please forgive us if aparticular site contains offensive information — or no information atall! 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. Life is good. :-)
COPYRIGHT — This issue of Brigada Today is Copyrighted 2008.However, permission is granted to freely redistribute these materials,including those available on the Brigada website, provided thatsuch redistribution is to those who will help the Good News of JesusChrist 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 includethis phrase:”For a free subscription to Brigada’s weekly missionspublication, writeand/or visit Brigada on the web at www.brigada.org.”

2008/06/29 — Brigada

Compiled by Doug Lucas, Team Expansion, Louisville, KY

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