Category: General

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Permalink 10:17:52 pm, by fumanchu Email , 58 words   English (US)
Categories: General

Latest ministry statistics

On a regular basis, my team leader Wendy puts together a wonderful PDF of registration statistics for the ministry. I now shamelessly steal all of her hard work and post it for your edification:

Participant Registration

  • 2004 Spring: 8,955
  • 2005 Spring Goal: 9,378
  • 2005 Spring Actual: 9,800!

Ciudad Juarez has grown 33% this Spring over last Spring!

  • 2004 Total: 22,912
  • 2005 Total Goal: 23,795
  • 2005 Total (so far): 20,244 = 85% registered already!


Permalink 08:48:51 pm, by fumanchu Email , 27 words   English (US)
Categories: General

Not just houses


"They weren't just building houses with love, but kids as well."

Building kids, that is, not just with kids... ;) Thanks for sending this one to me, Dad!

Permalink 03:05:24 pm, by fumanchu Email , 11 words   English (US)
Categories: General

Missionary blogs


I couldn't agree more. Jump on blogs, all youse hep missionaries.



Permalink 01:38:02 pm, by fumanchu Email , 33 words   English (US)
Categories: General

Free clip art

The New York Public Library has made their digital collection publically available.

Via Todd Blanchard at IWETHEY.


Permalink 10:47:31 pm, by fumanchu Email , 213 words   English (US)
Categories: General

Amor is 25 years old!!!

I can't believe I'm the first staff member to blog about this--you all were at the party!

We headed off to Anthony's Fish Grotto at lunchtime today to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Amor Ministries! Our staff, some old friends, and several board members were present to tell some great stories about the early days, and to give congratulations to Scott and Gayla Congdon, our founders, in particular. We also heard a great report from Scott about the last board meeting in El Paso, and how thrilled they were when they recounted all of the milestones we attained this past year:

  • We built our 10,000th home.
  • We had over 22,000 participants working in Mexico.
  • We became a $5 million company.
  • We established a new "main camp" in Tijuana.

...and many more.

I want to take this opportunity again to thank Scott and Gayla for their years of dedication--to those about whom nobody else cared--this manifests the love of Christ more powerfully than any speech or sermon. Thank you for modeling Christ for me directly. And a big thanks to all who have lived, worked, and donated time, energy, money and labor to the building up of the church in Mexico. You are part of something great!


Permalink 11:30:18 am, by fumanchu Email , 242 words   English (US)
Categories: IT, General

Moving out of the 1990's

I finally upgraded my last copy of Windows 9x (98 SE, if you must know) to Windows XP Home. Windows 98 was working just fine; however, it was on my video editing machine. Windows 98 doesn't allow files larger than about 2GB--in most of my cases, this means about 17½ minutes of DVD-quality video. When I was working on my own projects (like transferring old laserdics to DVD), this wasn't much of an issue; I'd simply enjoy watching the content as I ripped it off laser or VHS, and endure the pauses every 17 minutes as I closed one file and started a new one. But lately, I've been doing more side projects:

  • Mom's Super-8 home videos (OK, a lot of it is travel footage).
  • I'm putting last year's Stanley Cup games on DVD so we have something to watch this year. Each game is over 3 hours, so that's about 45GB each.
  • I received a nice Sony 8mm camcorder in exchange for transferring the previous owner's 8mm to DVD (obviously, a sweet deal--they're being generous and I appreciate it greatly!).
  • I've got a couple of church productions (Christmas shows) which need to move from Mini-DV to DVD.

Can you tell DVD is a common target for me? ;) Anway, WinXP seems to be working well so far, and didn't take long to install. Next trip: to Fry's, where I hope to find a better DVD authoring tool than Pinnacle Impression (bleah--worst user interface ever).


Permalink 09:44:37 pm, by fumanchu Email , 520 words   English (US)
Categories: General

Leading horses to water

"You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." --Old English proverb

Some of our teens at church recently decided they needed more in-depth Bible study. Wednesday nights are outreach-oriented, and draw large numbers of kids. Sunday mornings are lectures (quite often given by yours truly). They wanted something more student-driven, and on a small scale (5 to 8 people).

We had a long and involved discussion last Saturday between the two visionaries (Josh and Fred), myself, and Brent (the interim youth pastor). We thought that such a Bible study might also produce more student leadership within the larger group, and the study topics should be chosen in light of that goal.

Well, today we had the first study. I must say (and did say) it's fun to watch people squirm when they're not used to leadership roles. :) Although I did my best to let them lead, they really did seem like a pack of lost horses for a while. When I lecture, I like to use a mix of declaration ("X is true because of Y") and leading questions ("if Y is true, then what?"). In this study, however, I'm not lecturing (and shouldn't be leading in the traditional sense at all)--I rather hoped I could let them run on, and simply rein them in when needed. But despite having grown up in the church, these guys haven't had any opportunity to lead before, and are therefore slow to start. They can glimpse the end-product they are after, but have no idea how to get from here to there.

So I couldn't simply lecture declaratively; they need to do the research themselves. I also couldn't ask my usual leading questions--the logical leaps are too great. So I spent much of today showing them how to use some of the tools available for study (mostly word-study). There are some great resources online for this which we used today:

[What I haven't found yet online is a tool to find the derivatives of a given word. That is, each Greek word usually has a root word from which it is derived. Most online tools, if they use Strong's numbering system, will have a link to the root for each word. What I'd like is links in the opposite direction: given a word, show me all of the derivative words which claim it as root]

Despite the above, which might sound like criticism, I'm very pleased with the vision and effort these guys have shown so far. I think with a little encouragement and direction (both academic and practical), we're going to see spiritual growth, and more ownership of the youth group by the teens themselves.


Permalink 10:17:06 am, by fumanchu Email , 285 words   English (US)
Categories: General

Miedo, Incertidumbre, y Duda

[ = "Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt"]

In late January 2005, the U.S. State Department decided to alert Americans traveling to Mexico. The announcement was very carefully worded, intending to raise the awareness of risk ("U.S. citizens should be aware of the risk"), rather than imply that Mexico is now off-limits.

Unfortunately, many people have taken the warning to extremes, and have let their imaginations and conversations run away with them. We've heard from frantic parents that drug lords are "kidnapping Americans and putting them on buses" (is there a concentration camp in Cabo San Lucas we don't know about?), that it is "not safe for women and children to cross the border" (but it's safe for men to do so?), and that violent groups are "specifically targetting youth groups" (...what anyone would gain from that is beyond me). For the record: I have not heard of any of these activities actually occurring.

Some relevant points that may have been missed in the original announcement:

  • "...the majority of travelers in the region visit without mishap..."
  • "The overwhelming majority of the victims of violent crime have been Mexican citizens."
  • "thousands of U.S. citizens who cross the border each day do so safely"
  • "[visit] only the legitimate business and tourism areas of border towns during daylight hours."
  • "It is strongly recommended that red-light districts and neighborhoods where street drug dealing occurs be avoided." We should point out, for completeness' sake, that Amor Ministries does not build homes for the poor in red-light districts, nor in downtown areas at all.
  • "This Public Announcement expires on April 25, 2005." You can all go back to your normal lives at that point. ;)


Permalink 04:59:15 pm, by fumanchu Email , 158 words   English (US)
Categories: General

Customer psychology

I listened to James Currier (CEO of Tickle) last night (via the marvelous ITConversations site). He was speaking to a group of software developers, and asked them, "what's on your mind?" Answering his own question, he listed some keywords: power, technology, knowledge, code, gadgets... He then listed keywords for "what's on your customers' minds": puppies, babies, God, NASCAR, celebrities. There is clearly a difference between the two groups, and developers tend to focus on their own favorites, rather than meeting the needs and the psychology of their customers.

It's no different for "us missionaries", especially those of us who work in parachurch ministries, and especially for support staff like myself. Things on my mind include: budgets, maintainable code, modeling, process management, integration, scalability, Spring Break.

But since I've never been on a missions committee, or supported a missionary every month, I have no idea what's on your mind. Care to share?

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