In this issue….



CD romGlobal Mapping (GMI) has done it again, with this great new resource for ministry to unreached peoples. They’ve integrated the latest and best information from the leading global missions databases, along with maps of thousands of people groups, to produce this “factbook and atlas of the world’s peoples and languages from a mission perspective.” As soon as I opened a copy of “Peoplesfile”, the first thing I did was search for information on a particular unreached people group our mission is currently trying to research. Lo and behold, they not only had it listed but also plotted! Here was a beautiful full color map with a polygon showing exactly where the [somewhat obscure] people group lived! We had searched tons of sites on the Internet and weeded through page after page in libraries… but nothing could have been so quick and easy as this beautiful little CD. If I were to have had this information in 1984, I could have saved weeks. Granted, now it’s 2001 — but this CD will still save me hours. I’ll be honest — if your work includes any research or mobilization for unreached people groups, it would seem this program should be on your “top ten must-have list.” It should be shipping by mid-April, and is priced at under $40, with bulk quantity discounts available. Read all about it at or contact GMI or by telephone: 719-531-3599.


letter and ligntening bolt Now you can receive a free quarterly email newsletter on house churches with particular interest to Canadians (but others may be interested as well). It’s produced by the Canadian House Church Resource Network, on the web at: You can subscribe by sending your request and why you would like to receive the newsletter, to Or you can find most of what will be included in the email version on the internet at:


John is trying to find all scholarships, resources and/or funds available for MKs. Since not all missionary families are able to live close to appropriate schools, it would seem that options for schooling are often very limited … and prohibitively expensive (even for elementary school students). Any suggestions, information or ideas are welcome. John will gather all this information and make it available to everybody interested.


praying hands This May the YWAM Hakka church planting team, in co-operation with intercessors from around the world, will sponsor their fourth month-long Hakka Prayer Net. Their desire is to raise up at least 1500 faith-filled intercessors who will pray at least 15 minutes every day during the month of May for this unreached people group. Sign up and find out more on the web at: Spread the news! Of the nearly three million Hakka Chinese who live in Taiwan, only .2% would consider themselves to be Christians. For more information about this prayer project please write


calendar The Finnish Bethel Church of Vancouver BC and Global Opportunities are hosting a free one- day tentmaking seminar on Saturday May 5, 2001. Learn more on the web at: or contact AJ at (If you would like to attend/host one of these seminars in your area, write AJ.)


graduation cap A “Rescue And Restore Training Course (Children In Need),” offered by Youth With A Mission and The University Of The Nations, is slated for Camaragibe (Recife), Brazil, June 03- October 27. It consists of 3 months theoretical teaching and then 2 months practical in Recife. For more information, write


calendar The next West Africa Regional Consultation will take place May 05-12, 2002 and will continue to help to focus the attention of the Church on the needs of frontier church planting among unreached people groups in West Africa. Just as in Dakar and Bassam (sites of previous consultations), organizers hope to provide a forum where key mission leaders can meet, interact and make plans for more effective evangelism among West Africa’s least reached people groups. For more information, write Younoussa


calendar The 11th annual International Conference on Computing and Mission is scheduled for June 8-12, 2001 at the JAARS headquarters in Waxhaw, North Carolina. ICCM provides an invaluable opportunity for anyone seriously interested in the use of information technology in international missions to learn and network with others. Get more info. on the web at: or write to


movie camera The new Video Cross-Cultural Training series, “Bridges of Understanding”, is now available through Mission Training International. It is composed of eight video sessions conducted by experts in cross-cultural training and was produced with the format of being video-driven without the need of an experienced facilitator. Though not designed to give one a complete understanding of cross-cultural skills, it should at least serve as an introduction or bridge into another culture. To order call 800-896-3710 in the USA or via Net2Phone or 719-594-0687 from anywhere. Otherwise, write or look on the web at:


That’s what Ian would like to know. For example, he needs a spot for 150 or so participants from South and South-East Asia in 2002 for a conference focusing on ‘children at risk’. So where does he get info. on affordable hotel sites with lots of break-out rooms in a country with visa availability for other Asian nationalities and an international airport? If you know of directories or web sites or whatever, drop Ian a line and he’ll assemble a report for everyone to grab here on Brigada.


Finally, maybe there’s a good reason for this “instant messaging” stuff! :-) Last Thursday night I stopped by the chat room over at: for a “live” prayer session on Nepal. It was indeed encouraging to “hear” so many people lifting up needs in this one nation… and the same thing has happened recently for Afghanistan, India, Kazakhstan, and Indonesia. I’ll admit… there was something stimulating about knowing all these folks were praying from somewhere in the world… and they do it every Thursday night. I think this concept is about to explode sky-high. And … while you’re visiting their chat room, check out the growth in groups at Strategic Networks. They’ve been busy!


Ever fancied a go at “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” or the opportunity to prove you’re not “The Weakest Link?” OSCAR, the web-based UK Information Service for World Mission, has launched it’s very own “Who Wants to Be a Missionary?” quiz online. Designed to test your knowledge as a world Christian and potential missionary, the quiz comprises of 15 multiple choice questions on various topics like geography, religion and the history of mission. Anyone achieving a score of 10 or more will be entered in the bi- monthly “High Scorers” prize draw. Confident? Why not give it a try and see how globally-minded you really are? Go to and click on the “Who Wants to Be a Missionary?” link or, if you only have email access, send an email to with “GET QUIZ” in the subject line.


calendar On October 15-19, 2001, Dr. Leroy Lawson of Hope International University will be the featured speaker at the All Africa Missionary Seminar of the Churches of Christ/Christian Churches (other interested missionaries welcome). The Seminar will be held just outside Cape Town. Ron Butler, veteran missionary, will lead a workshop on “Spiritual Warfare”. For more info, ask Alice


books and pen That’s right… this issue marks the sixth year anniversary of Brigada Today. Though there were some initial “email conversations” among a handful of individuals as early as January 25th, 1995, we actually “went public” on March 21, 1995. It’s a simple story, really. In November 1994, I was asked to serve as the president of a missions mobilization event that was to take place a couple of years later in Lexington, Kentucky. To prepare for the event, my colleagues and I began to try to find information about unreached peoples. We were aghast that it was still so hard to find good information. To make matters worse, we found it nearly impossible to effectively create or nurture networks among those trying to reach common nations of people. I remembered that a tech from a group called “CrossConnect”, based in Colorado Springs, had helped me send a binary file over the Internet to one of our mission staff in Ukraine. His email address had a funny “” domain. :-) Boy was I in for a ride. :-) For whatever it was worth, when we began to wonder whether or not the Internet could offer a set of tools for collaboration, I dug out that tech’s name and gave him a call. I remember that day as if it were yesterday. The Internet was something like the “Wild wild West!” And the web was so new, few of us guessed its potential. Over the next few months, that tech — Jonathan Marsden — became one of my closest friends, even though we had never even personally met! He pretty much single-handedly gave us the nuts and bolts and the technical vision for launching a family of interconnected networks via the Internet. When there were no tools for interacting, he would write them. When we had a need for doing something new, he would create. It was truly a time I’ll never forget. Our subscriber base, which started at 2 — Jonathan and I — soon grew to 50 and then, following GCOWE ’95 in Seoul, to 100 and . . . finally thousands. Some of you… many of you… have been with us ever since. There have been Brigada boosters — those who helped us grow the idea. I think of encouragement from people like Luis Bush who gave us a real forum with AD2000’s GCOWE conference. Greg Fritz, of Caleb Project, personally flew at his own expense to several of the initial “launches” for Brigada and the related “PACE Project” meetings. We have received tons of moral support from friends like Eric Derry and Chris Bushnell and many others who actually read this stuff. Amazing. :-) And the mission for which I work (the one which actually pays me! :-)), Team Expansion, has given me lots of latitude to use free time to follow this star. Many other people have helped make the dream a reality down through the years. Revis Ann Massey, an early “tech support” volunteer, answered tons of help questions in a labor of love. Later… and still through the present, Don and Judy Pratt have stood strong in her legacy of offering real live human answers when needed —

Many have asked… where’d you get the funny name? :-) Brigada, pronounced “bree-GAH-dah” (rhymes with armada), is the rough equivalent of a “brigade” — in Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, Albanian and even Filipino (who knows what other languages)! The idea is to stand side by side to pass buckets of hope for those most in need of Christ’s eternal message — like the old-fashioned bucket-brigades for putting out fires or like my Crimean Tatar friends in Ukraine when they’re passing gravel to build a new house together, helping one another. We needed a name for the service and… it just seemed like something unique and appropriate.

Well, back to the story, as time passed, there were the inevitable changes. CrossConnect was a brilliant idea but no one knew for sure how to pay for it. What’s more, the “free-wheeling” (pun intended) style of the Internet just made it that much harder for CrossConnect leaders like Pete Holzmann to make ends meet — seemingly everyone wanted a free ride. So in the end, the entire department was sold off to MAF (the airplane people) in Redlands, California. By this time, Brigada had spawned literally dozens of “sub-groups”. There were tons of people-specific conferences, along with role-specialized groups. I suppose they were the true precursors to the “YahooGroups” of today. Though there was no real “web interface”, no one really cared. We didn’t have time to use the web anyway… and few of us had fast connectivity anyway. The web seemed, well, overkill for what we needed — at first. For those who wanted to use it as an archive of past issues, God raised up Bob Mayhew — an amazing volunteer staff-person who is still churning with us today. He’s the single-handed reason that you can go to and look at all six years of back- issues… and even search them instantly.

The high-tech leaders and the financial numbers-crunchers at MAF’s headquarters were truly caring people. I remember, for example, one week that they flew me out to Redlands to speak in chapel there for the MAF staff. They just wanted to build the relationship all the more. I got to meet with Jonathan and all the others. It was a great celebration… 10,000 subscribers… dozens of functioning sub-groups. We seemed to be flying high. But soon the question was rearing its ugly head again … how do we pay for this technical hardware-heavy, software-laden, connectivity-based cooperating!? MAF finally had to make a tough decision — to start charging either by the byte, or by the message, or by the group, or something. And when they switched over to a fancy new software (remember Lyris?) that was intended to provide new bells and whistles for sub-conference operators, for some reason, many were confused and seemingly left in the cold. As I look back, I don’t think the subconferences every recovered from that shock.

Meanwhile, the web was hot with advertisement-based features at spots like The very week MAF determined that it had to switch to a fee-based approach, for better or worse, we moved Brigada to eGroups, where we could operate for free. Many sub-group subscribers moved with us. Many found other homes at spots like And some probably just disbanded. In the end, with AD2000 hoopla seemingly cooling down and the reality of day-by-day operations setting in, some of the sub- group euphoria just didn’t make the transition. “Brigada” largely settled down to a weekly issue of Brigada Today. [yawn] yawning face [just kidding] :-)

But since those days, started up… (see item #11 above) and don’t forget (check it out if you haven’t been there lately). These networks filled a real need… and probably did it all the more efficiently using their web interfaces. And since they were run by professionals who were doing it for a living, the staff there had more time — than a Brigada approach, run totally by volunteers, who actually made their living as full-time missionary-types, doing all this Internet stuff on the side as a kind of overgrown hobby. And for those with web access, they probably resonate better than the tools we used to try to pull together in the old CrossConnect days, when a “friendly face” like John Hanna (Caleb Project) had to try to actually manually answer every inquiry personally at the “People Group Consultant” service (remember the “PGC” email on August 25th 1995? If so, you’re showing your “Brigada age”! :-) ).

So today, when people ask, “Where are all the subconferences I’ve heard about on Brigada?”, I just smile to myself and remember the “good ole’ days.” They were filled with high-flying, adrenalin-pumping, marathon all-nighters. They’ll always mean a lot to those who took part in them.

But as always, the real “proof of the pudding” for Brigada (or any other service trying to lift up the needs of the unreached… and the tools for reaching them) isn’t really based in the tool itself… but rather in the act of reaching them. And everywhere we go these days, we see churches and agencies working together to complete the task of world evangelization. As long as that’s happening with gusto, the Brigada dream will still be alive.

But, I must close. We’ve got another six years of Back page editorials to think up. :-) Thanks for being a part of Brigada. I truly hope it’s the best free service you’ve ever bought into. :-) As a final “hoorah” for our sixth-year birthday party, here are three lessons out of many that I’ve learned since those wintery fateful days in January of ’95:

  • RESOURCES — Many Brigada readers seem to like hearing about new resources… maps (remember those 100 Gateway Cities maps from August ’95?), videos, CDs, and even books. Maybe promoting these resources has become one of the key roles of Brigada.
  • RELATIONSHIPS — In the end, it’s not the maps or videos or even the hoopla. It’s the relationships we establish that will last… and those are Brigada-strong.
  • RESOLVE — Many have asked how we’ve managed to keep at it. Though nearly every issue of Brigada Today is “late” :-), we have for better or worse (you be the judge) always gutted it out. In six years time, through thick and thin, sometimes from Africa, Asia, South America, or wherever we happened to be in the world, … we’ve always managed to email you a message… six years times 52 weeks/year… yikes gulp… now there’s a scary thought. 25,733 paragraphs, 85,340 lines, 723,191 words, for a total of 5 megabytes of just verbiage (no pictures)… makes me tired just thinking about it. And speaking of tired, it’s 4:36am. Time to hit the sack.

Oh… did I mention… a lot of Brigada readers like … brevity. Oops. :-)
Yours always,


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*Global Glimpses: John Hanna, Caleb Project,
*Brigada Website: Bob Mayhew,
*Brigada Customer Service Manager:
*Brigada Coordinator: Doug Lucas, Team Expansion & Brigada,
*and many other occasional contributors too numerous to mention!
But thanks for working together! That’s the dream of Brigada!