'Reach for the Skype' by Robin Sanderson
Email has had an enormous impact upon the global missions community. Urgent prayer requests can circle the globe and mobilise thousands even millions to intercession in an instant. Up to the minute reports and praise items can be shared in a missionaries home sending church saving £'s on phone calls or replacing out of date newsletters by the old method of "snail mail".
But something even better than email has arrived that will aid communication and make the lonely missionary "out in the field" feel much more connected with their supporters, family and friends.
Skype is a free download which enables people to make telephone calls and send instant messages over the internet to other skype users. The free software is available at www.skype.com in windows xp and 2000, Mac OS X, Linux, and pocket pc formats. The simple installation takes only a few minutes to setup and the operating of the program extremely user friendly.
As the operations manager for the UK branch of an international missions agency it has made a tremendous difference to me personally. I have at times in the past felt isolated from colleagues in the international office but since I have been using skype I have felt like I was in the same building, in an office just down the corridor! I have had conversations with colleagues in Canada, Brasil and Germany - and the best part is knowing that you're not having to watch the clock and worry about how much the call is costing!
You will of course need to plug in a microphone and speakers in order to have a conversation - but for best sound quality a headset is advisable (you can pick up these for as little as £10). Most laptops have inbuilt microphones but these often pick-up the noise of the fan.
Once installed you can build up an address book of contacts and a little window pops up when they are online should you wish to contact them. you can also let your contacts know when you are on line or click a button to say you are unavailable.
Make the most of this fantastic tool - get connected and get skyping!
Robin Sanderson is the Operations Manager for Janz Team UK (www.janzteamuk.org). Besides managing the day to day running of the UK office, Robin travels widely both at home and overseas.