In this issue…

  14. SPECIAL REPORT ON PHONE & VIDEO CONFERENCING Special web-only feature!

  1. SPONSORS MAKE A DIFFERENCE! — Can you believe it? Caught up … after *months* of trailing badly behind! Thanks to the wonderful sponsors who have not only provided funds to hire a Brigada Secretary, but have also provided a strong intangible incentive: “These folks *care*!” We appreciate the anonymous sponsor who sent $30, saying, “Thank you for your good work!”, as well as the other very encouraging partners who wrote, “Hi Doug. I’ve been enjoying the Brigada updates for several years now. It’s great help in keeping up with missions events and topics. I’m now serving with a church planting team in Spain and it’s even more important to stay connected. You are doing a great job and I am happy to be able to contribute to your Secretary Fund!” (Enclosed: Check for $100) Honestly, we dedicate this issue of Brigada Today to those two sponsors because in a very real sense, they are the reason we’re caught up today!
  2. For more information on sponsors, click here.

  3. SAVE ON YOUR PHONE RATES / HELP BRIGADA — Save on overseas phone calls and help support Brigada – go to for more information.

  4. THE LOCAL CHURCH: A VITAL ROLE TO PLAY — Member Care Southern Africa has recently published a 127-page book, entitled “Member Care for Missionaries – A Practical Guide for Senders,” written by Marina Prins and Braam Willemse. The book serves as a practical resource to equip senders in the comprehensive care of their missionaries. Subjects such as the Biblical basis for member care, what the missionary experiences on the field, the support team within the local church, and re-entry care are some of the topics covered in the book’s three sections. A short chapter on attrition is also included. The book is based on thorough research, practical experience from the presentation of workshops in local churches, as well as the practical field experience of both authors who served as missionaries in Malawi. The book is available in both English and Afrikaans and comes with strong endorsements from Marjory Foyle and Kelly O’Donnell. The price is US$12.00 per copy (excluding postage). For further detail contact Member Care Southern Africa at . To order a copy, go to their web site at

  5. HURRY! 2 ONLINE COURSES FREE / FREE “E-BIBLES” — Study the “School of Mission” and the “Practical Ministries” courses while online (connected to our servers), or download them and study offline, then dial-up to your Internet service provider (ISP) to connect with your whole class, your discussion group, your instructor or the registrar by email. The 13-week introductory semester has already begun, and ends December 24. To try out the courses, just login as “guest” and password is “password” at these links: – School of Mission – Practical Ministries Then click on “Introduction” on the left side, and you’ll see how to enroll. After taking the 3-month introductory semester, you can continue studying with “Agape-Biblia” four more semesters for a certificate, or open your own online “School of Mission” and “Practical Ministries” website with the free software. (The same courses are also available in Russian.) Also available are FREE electronic Bibles in Russian (3Mb with notes and commentary), Hebrew-Greek, English, Spanish, German and French (1.5Mb each) with more to come! Each Bible works independently, or links to any of the other Bibles to compare chapters. For the above courses you will need the English Bible:

  6. MISSION TEAM SEEKS SCHOOL TEACHERS — A mission team serving among the Watchi people in southeastern Togo, West Africa is seeking one or two school teachers to work with the team’s eight elementary age children. The team provides a three-room school, with American home school curriculum and computers, a furnished house, a vehicle, and partial salary. A teacher is needed beginning in January 2004. Commitments should be for one or more school semesters. An education degree and knowledge of French are helpful, but not essential. Learn more about the team and the position at Email the school principal at

  7. YOUNG PEOPLE IDENTIFY OBSTACLES TO MISSIONS — Here’s a new book release, “Scaling the Wall”, by Kathy Hicks of OM USA. At the Urbana 2001 Missions conference hundreds of college students were posed the question, “What is keeping more people from becoming involved in the great commission?” Their fears were written on a large wall and later collected, compiled and categorized. Fears such as loss of friends, loss of money, disapproval of parents, inadequate experience surfaced as common obstacles to be overcome. In this brand-new book, missionaries, from many organizations and from around the world who have experienced these same fears, share their personal stories of how God overcame and met their needs in ways they could have never expected. The distributor, Gabriel Resources, offers discounts on books to individuals, missionaries, mission organizations and churches. Email or call 1-8MORE-BOOKS (1-866-732-6657) toll-free in the USA & Canada or 706-554-1594.

  8. CHURCH MOBILIZATION TOOL – DualReach has developed the Design Your Impact Workshop — a five-hour seminar that enables church leaders to discover their congregation’s key characteristics and resources (their DNA) and identify a strategic missions focus that can unleash powerful, new global dynamic from their church. Workshops are led by trained individuals with extensive teaching resources. They include 7 video clips of model churches, 2 animation clips, PowerPoint, Facilitator’s Manual and Participant’s Notebook. Upcoming training dates: Oct. 15/San Juan Capistrano, CA (south of LA); Dec. 2/Orlando, FL; Jan. 14/San Juan Capistrano, CA; and Jan. 29/Vancouver, BC. Details at: or email

  9. THE WORLD OF STREET CHILDREN & HOW TO RESPOND — Here’s another new release entitled, “Street Children,” by Andy Butcher. In it, he documents an estimated 100 million Children spend their days on City Streets around the world, 10 million of these are totally on their own, uncared for and unprotected. He cites 4611 children and adolescents that were executed in Brazil between 1988 and 1990. These frightening statistics are just a snapshot of the plight of street children in the world today. The result of extensive research, this book combines hard statistics with individual stories to challenge our indifference and awaken our conscience. Andy Butcher’s newly updated book compares the situation facing Street Children today with that epitomized in the Dickens novel Oliver Twist. Frighteningly, he concludes that if we look at a global perspective, little progress has been made. Gabriel Resources offers discounts on books to individuals, missionaries, mission organizations and churches. Email or call 1- 8MORE-BOOKS (1-866-732-6657) toll-free in the USA & Canada or 706-554- 1594.

  10. A FINISHERS FORUM — Catch this event slated for Charlotte, NC October 24-25, focused on those willing to serve the Lord in the missions enterprise, home or abroad, short-term or as a second career. This is a powerful time to consider how to spend the rest of your life. It for those post-college through post-career. For details and registration see

  11. HOSPITALITY FOR THOSE WHO SERVE — ServantCARE is a ministry that cares for those who serve, and they’ve been establishing “Hospitality Homes” around the world for those who serve while they travel, whether for ministry, or on furlough. To date they have “Hospitality Homes” in 16 states and 11 countries, but need more, especially in the United States. The goal is to have five locations in the N., S., E., W., and Central part of each state. They would like more volunteers to serve as a B & B, or to do exchanges. Please let Christian friends know of this opportunity to serve. For information contact Anita at . They also have a home in S.E. Alabama that serves as a retreat center for individuals or couples in need of rest and refreshing.

  12. FINISHERS PROJECT — “Finishers” has added an interesting new feature to its website. Each partner mission agency is able to post five of its top needs so you can easily find a specific compelling assignment that fits you. About half of the top needs are in North America. Each entry contains facts and a summary description. There are several ways to sort the list. See

  13. TESOL SCHOOL: PREPARE TO TEACH ENGLISH — Teaching English opens many doors to ministry throughout the world, but it takes some training to teach English well. Youth With A Mission in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, USA has scheduled the next TESOL school for January 18 to February 13, 2004. For information, see the website:, or e-mail to .

  14. ESL-JOBS.COM — This is a new website to mobilize Christians to take real jobs teaching English as a second language in Asia. These are now being filled by secularists and Mormons. These are first of all ministry positions, but they also offer income. Finishers Project partner organizations are placing applicants with real employers. There are many partial support and missionary assignments as well. Successful applicants must speak English as a first language and have a college degree. Help mobilize our own to represent Jesus in these spiritually needy countries. Visit and commend it to your friends, especially those in their 20s and empty-nesters.

  15. SPECIAL REPORT ON PHONE & VIDEO CONFERENCING — Here’s the special report on phone and video conferencing from Andrew Steele, a Senior Assoc. with International Christian Media Commission in the UK. Thanks Andrew!
  16. First of all for video conferences (and quite often audio only links) everyone involved needs a broadband connection. Although most services claim to work on 56k dial-up modems our experience was distorted sound and vision unless a broadband link was present. Sometimes audio worked OK but video without broadband was never successful.

    The most effective package that we discovered in our searches is iVisit. This comes in a free version and a slightly more functioned subscription based version. Both provide audio and video streams plus the usual text chat service. The subscription version (US$25 per year) adds the option to create private meeting rooms). iVisit connections seem to work well until organisational firewalls come into effect. Theoretically they shouldn’t hamper the service but somehow we kept running into issues when firewalls were in the loop.

    University College London provides a set of conferencing tools that are full of promise but need some technical assistance to set up. So, we haven’t been able to test the software yet. So if anyone wih the skills wants to volunteer to help us get the package up and running we’d be keen to speak.

    MSN Messenger and Microsoft’s NetMeeting software are both useful tools provided you only want to conduct a two way conversation with video and audio. In fact for two way work our experience was that these packages were more intuitive to use than other packages.

    For lectures and presentations we found a combination of either Real Server or Windows Media Server for the presentation and a simple text chat using MSN Messenger (or one of the other messenger programs) worked well. Real Server (now called Helix Server) and Windows Media Server require an arrangement with an ISP willing to host the server software but both come in a free version that served our needs adequately for small groups.

    We also found a few commercial providers whose rates were prohibitive for regular use.

    We are still convinced that we can find a combination of tools that will do what we need but are resigned to the fact that, so far at least, those part of the world without broadband Internet will be limited in their ability to link up. That means we’re sticking with our tried and trusted methods of connection so that all our contacts can participate regardless of where they are and only use the ip based technologies when we are sure that everyone can link up.

    Andrew Steele