Internet Missions Conference
Over the past year our church has experimented with conversing during occasional morning worship services with individual missionaries via Skype. This software application allows users to make voice and video calls over the Internet. These calls are at no cost to those who are within the Skype service and at a reasonable rate to those with traditional land or cell lines. Registered users of the Skype service are identified by a unique Skype name and can be listed in a directory, similar to an e-mail directory, of your friends and acquaintances.
Video conferencing is a feature within Skype that we have used to great effect. Using the church’s high-speed Internet access, video camera, and video projection setup, we are able to bring our missionaries face-to-face with the congregation without having the expense and loss of time of bringing our missionaries from the field. While this technology-driven method is not without its challenges, this fresh approach to seeing the faces of our missionaries who are still on their respective fields, hearing their voices, and praying with them as a church family has been a major blessing.
We held our first-ever missionary conference utilizing this Web-based technology. "Around the World in 80 Minutes" was the theme of the conference; two of our missionary couples joined us in person, and we spent time with five other missionary families via Skype.
In the month leading up to the service, we spoke with all of our missionary families, seeing which could meet with us via the Web, and began organizing the service. We took note of the time differences and arranged to speak with them as we circled our way around the world.
On the day of the service, we communicated briefly with each of those meeting with us on the Web to ensure that our connections were good and that our video was streaming before the service began. Pastor Craig Jarvis led the service with hymns of a missions theme. Craig then sat down in a comfortable chair and began a discussion with each of our guests.
We began at midnight in the Philippines, and over the next 80 minutes traveled to Thailand; Mali, Africa; England; Ecuador; and Indiana. We finally ended at home in Verona, Wis. After hearing directly the need of those unsaved around the world, we prayed with each missionary family and encouraged the hearts of those able to join us that morning.
Following the worship service, the congregation gathered in the church fellowship hall to enjoy an ethnic meal featuring favorite recipes submitted by our missionaries.
Craig Jarvis, pastor; Bart Morrick, missions committee chairman; Cindie Winquist, executive assistant
Memorial Baptist Church
Communicating with Missionaries
Early in our ministry, Rev. Willard Stull, veteran missionary with ABWE, asked my husband and me, "Do you write to missionaries?" He then explained that often pastors and churches expect missionaries to update them regularly about their field ministries. However, churches seemed to seldom reciprocate the communication. The former days of the sole use of Aerograms are over; current technology of e-mail and Skype affords us with many opportunities to communicate with missionaries! When I read the following idea in The Link, the OARBC newsletter, I thought of Willard and his challenge. ---Daria Greening
An idea for ladies’ meetings
After praying for their missionaries, with letters in hand, the ladies from Camden Baptist, Wellington, Ohio, then made cards for each missionary, sharing poems and verses, along with newsy notes. They shared with the missionaries what they had been praying for them that evening. Some kids who were present wrote their own notes, while two children drew pictures for the missionaries. Imagine how loved these missionaries will feel when they receive these notes!