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Brigada Today is “the missionary helper newsletter!”
Compiled by Doug Lucas <>, Louisville, KY
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In this issue….



letter and ligntening bolt This email-by-cell-phone stuff isn’t so bad. I’m in North Africa, with my laptop linked to a reportedly digitally encrypted cell phone which connects via Zurich, then bounces to MAFxc in Redlands (California), which then relays this note out to you wherever you happen to live in the world. The great thing about this system is that I don’t have to disassemble the hotel phone to plug in my laptop (this is a good thing), nor worse yet, crate my computer all over this village, town, or city, looking for a “teleboutique” with an RJ-11 connector they’ll let me snap into my modem (this is a very good thing). I’ve tried out both of those scenarios, and I must say, judging from the stares and eyebrows, neither one seemed to build much trust with the locals. :-)

It took me one or two tries to figure it out, but for the most part, the instructions from WorldCell were very clear. (888-967-5323 toll-free in the USA or via Net2Phone and, although I don’t want to use up my minutes to check, I’d lay odds you could also look at :-) )

It’s taking me about 3 minutes to log on, get a dozen messages, send a dozen pre-composed replies, and log off. That translates into a total of about $6 (I’m calling an Internet Service Provider in the USA). Could the message be intercepted? I suppose so… if someone were willing to go to a lot of trouble. But since the Internet email isn’t stored on an in-country server, and since the outgoing message is digital in nature anyway, I’m told that odds are greatly reduced. (This is a VERY good thing. :-) )

So… if I were posted here long-term, this is one possible way of doing the Internet-thing AND I’d have the emergency access to the cell phone in case I needed to call someone with my actual voice, too. (Like… today… when I called my wife to wish her Happy Valentines Day! :-) Some things just travel farther by voice, don’t they. :-) ) Is it worth the $6/day for me to keep up with my inbox this way? Well, if this issue turns out to be a waste of time for you, then, maybe not. :-) (But, all the same, it seemed to mean something to my wife. :-) )

Would I buy a cellphone like this? In a heartbeat, except for the fact that the one that Sprint PCS is about to bring out will be even better. It will seek out a local digital service if there is one (and charge about 10 cents/minute), then drop back to just about any international digital cell service (either USA, Europe, or Africa will do) at about $2/minute, and if none of those are available, it’ll try old-fashioned analogue (slightly higher). If none of the above are available, it’ll give up and dial the sky, pulling your signal through the Iridium sat-system at about $5/minute. Steep, yes… but then, how much is a Happy Valentine email/voice worth to your spouse? :-) (Not to mention reports to your church or mission? :-) ) And after all, you don’t have to check in daily. (Who in the world would do that?! :-) ) You could check once/week according to a predetermined schedule, except for emergencies. The phone will set you back $3500. But wow blinking1eyes – what a step forward! Stay tuned for more news, once it’s available. In the meantime, rent the digital-only version from WorldCell for $7/day! Seems to work fine from the African continent! Or, if you’re a potential “power user,” see your nearest cellphone dealer to buy a similar low-end outfit to get you by temporarily until the Spring system comes out with theirs. Expect it by April. Prophets predict the price per minute will fall over time.

Are you using a cellphone to connect to the Internet? If so, I’d like to hear about it. If there’s no hurry, I might not answer right away. :-)



virus“Thanks for the virus alerts,” wrote Les this past week. “Would you believe within 24 hours of receiving my last Brigada, someone sent me the ‘Happy99’ virus?” (See “CATCH THE LATEST ON COMPUTER VIRUSES AND HOAXES” in last week’s issue.) “They claim they did it unknowingly,” he added. “Thanks anyway for the help!” Yikes. gulp Be sure to obtain or update your virus software to watch for this “worm” — and remember to apply the “OPC test” – verifiable origin, purpose, and closure – before forwarding any and all emails. Thanks! David also recommends checking for its information and services. I’ve created a kind of form letter (a virus “antidote,” you might say) that I’m now sending out anytime I get one of these warnings. Here’s my response, which you’d be welcome to rework to fit your own writing style or personality: OPC logo
“Hi! Thanks for your info., but the “virus” you’re informing us about just might be a hoax.

We suggested recently (in an issue of Brigada Today) that, prior to forwarding any kind of “chain letter” or warning, that you look for:

  • VERIFIABLE ORIGIN: Does it have an author and a working email address or web site? If not, don’t forward it. If so, and if the content sounds questionable, then write the source and verify it. If you don’t get a reply or if the site is bogus, toss it. By no means forward it to everyone in Zanzibar!
  • VERIFIABLE PURPOSE: Will it make an actual difference if I forward it? If it’s a prayer request, make sure it meets the “closure test” below.
  • VERIFIABLE CLOSURE: How will we know when it’s complete? Does it have a cut-off date?

So next time you compose a prayer request, or an urgent news update, or whatever, make sure it meets the “Brigada OPC Test” — Origin, Purpose, and Closure. If not, please do the Net a favor and think twice before forwarding it.

If you’d like to check out a “tip” you’ve received, here are some great (and legitimate) websites on the web for doing so. If you don’t personally have economical access to the web, maybe a friend could search the sites and relay relevant info to you. (Note: the V must be capitalized!)

[end of my response]



If so, Donna would like to know. She’s looking to learn how many missions have interns, what are the qualifications, their roles, length of service, training given, qualifications expected, etc. Got something you can paste into an email and send her? If so, please do! She’s agreed to compile all that info. and send us a copy, which we’ll then post as a “get” file for everybody to download.


Why not meet up with others who share it! Dave is coordinating an email prayer chain for the Fulani People Group and the missionaries working amongst them in Burkina Faso. Dave welcomes others from West Africa or around the world!


Check out Caleb Project’s “World View Presentation,” which, as Mark Kelly pointed out in a recent Advance!, “demonstrates in a clear and memorable way where the world stands in regard to finishing Matt. 24:14 and what the Body of Christ as a whole is doing to complete the Great Commission.” Browse it at or order from Caleb Project


computer That’s what Tim believes is potentially possible if you browse Apparently the deal is that you need to meet certain demographic requirements — and agree to look at the ads they send your way. Interesting concept!


Mark thinks Pete Holzmann’s write-up at represents the voice of reason. Check it out!


Ministries of Grand Rapids, Mi. is sponsoring the 10th annual “on-site” orientation to Muslim culture and evangelism June 11th to July 23rd. Participants will be given practical training in culture, worldview, evangelism, and Islam. Those involved will be linked with English-speaking Muslims so they can begin learning and ministry right away. Costs are a $25 registration fee and $995 subsidized program cost. College credit is also available. For more information contact IDEA Ministries at or tel. (616) 6698-8393 in the USA.


Cristianos del Mundo estan ofreciendo su curso de 85 estudios en castellano totalmente gratis. Se puede ver en Es un programa con enfasis sobre la Gran Comision listo para utilizar en casa, iglesia y mision, acreditado por una universidad norteamericana y ademas ofrece apoyo y consejos por e-mail. Más informacion en el websaite o por escribir


praying hands I’d say. The group of church leaders with which I’m praying this week has seemingly already picked up a tremendous burden for this land. Their first full-time on-site workers are slated to arrive within the next 12 months, so they’ll take their prayer burden and give it feet… and wings! The personal involvement they now have for these wonderful people will, I’m sure, go a long way toward compelling them to hold a healthy respect the long-term marathon vision they’ll need to make a difference here. I would like to suggest that prayer journeys always be linked to long-term, tangible follow-up, both by on-site folks (when and if they’re able), and senders as well.

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OPCWARNING ABOUT FORWARDING EMAILS — Please, before forwarding any kind of request (even if it says “please send this to all your friends”), please check to make sure it has a VERIFIABLE ORIGIN, a VERIFIABLE PURPOSE, and a VERIFIABLE CLOSURE (OPC). By following this simple approach, many “email viruses” could be nipped in the bud… at least in the Brigada family. More information about the full Brigada OPC protocol is available. Thank you.



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