Tuesday, April 14, 2009

So did you know...

In case you didn't hear, an Argentine won the Master's this year! Angel Cabrera is a "most unlikely champion" according to ESPN. Not being a fan of sports, this important information might have gone completely unnoticed in the House of Hoyt were it not for a conversation with friends from the U.S.

Our internet connection with friends and family back home provides not only up-to-the-minute news and information, but also allows the hubby to trouble-shoot water heater problems from 6000 miles away and permits me to make online banking way more complicated than it needs to be. *sigh*

But then you stop and think...it's truly amazing that we're able to be this connected. The daughter is doing some preliminary research into how missionaries use various technologies these days, and it's mind bloggling how far we've come in just a short time. When my in-laws were on the field, snail mail was about the only way to communicate. Phone calls were rare and very, very expensive. I remember early in our marriage when the postal service in Argentina went on strike and we had NO WAY to communicate with my in-laws for months. Some missionaries used ham radios but few had the equipment and know-how.

Then along came fax machines. It made doing important business a little faster and easier, but still time-consuming. You had to find a business that offered the service, coordinate with those in the other country, and it often took multiple trips to complete the transaction. I remember the story another missionary told of traveling two hours to the capital city for a fax, waiting in a long line at the central post office for several more hours, and then paying $2 per page to receive a birthday message someone had sent to one of their children, with one letter per page! It cost them a day of travel and waiting and $32 to "receive" the message. I'm sure the person in the U.S. thought they were doing a nice thing, but it was a very frustrating experience for the missionary.

We happened to be in Uganda during 9/11. Deep in the bush where we had no electricity (used solar power) but we DID have a cell phone. And our son called us right after the second plane hit the World Trade Center so within minutes of the attack we had our radio tuned in to the BBC and listened to the events unfolding half a world away. The hubby was picking someone up at the nearby hospital, and while he was waiting he visited a friend who had his television turned on and they saw the towers collapse. Later that night all the Americans in the area gathered at the hospital to watch CNN as they broadcast the news via satellite all over the world.

So now fast forward to today...we have e-mail, Skype, Vonage (VoIP), blogging and personal websites, cell phones, texting (SMS/MMS), and networking sites (like Facebook). Yikes! Any wonder that I panicked yesterday when my internet went down?!

It'll be interesting to see what the daughter's research uncovers. How does all this technology help a missionary get to the field, stay on the field, be more effective on the field?

I love being able to stay in touch with friends all over the world. This morning we received an e-mail from a friend in Uganda. She shared about a group of MKs (missionary kids) from Russia who came to work at Kasana Children's Center and how "they did an outstanding presentation in our classrooms on Russian life and culture. The favorite of the kids was learning to sing the song Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes in Russian and seeing the different letters in the Russian alphabet."

How cool is that?! Orphans in the African bush learning songs from a group of kids originally from the U.S. but who now live in Russia and whose story about visiting Uganda is being transmitted around the world via e-mail, blogging, and who knows what other format?

How can you NOT get EXCITED to hear what God is doing in Argentina, Uganda, Indonesia, Thailand...as well as Dallas, San Francisco, Cleveland Tennessee... I'm very thankful to be a missionary in this new era of technology ☺


Mari said...

It's incredible! When Andy was in Korea, I kept reminding myself how lucky I was to be able to keep in touch with him, especially when I think of how long my Grandma had to wait for a letter from my Dad when he was in the service.

rita said...

Does Ivan remember G'ma Hirschy's epistles--several pages of carbon-copied onion-skin paper lovingly typed, collecting all the scattered missionary son & daughters letters and any home news. I can remember how special it was to read about everyone else around the world. Imagine the HOURS she must have spent. Amazing ministry of communication!

Kim said...

Rita, we both remember G'ma Hirschy's letters! I remember having the hardest time reading some of them, she'd use multiple pieces of carbon paper over and over again :-) But yes, those were FANTASTIC letters and such an excellent way of keeping a far-flung family up-to-date (such as it was back then).

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

Very exciting indeed! The expansion, or should I say, shrinking, of the world in the last century due to electronics is mind-boggling.

skoots1mom said...

u r so right...it has condensed our world and we can get to know neighbors across the world...more reason to keep sharing jesus, huh??!! And, it gives me new incentive to get to know my "real" neighbors by walking across the street :)

glad your net is back up...

i'm making a jello salad for one of my classes this week--using some fresh/frozen black cherries and cool whip...yum!

have a good night!

Lhoyt said...

Yes, I too remember Grandma's letters, and U.Ed and Aunt Joyce's. The wonder today is that missionaries are able to get anything done besides communication back home. The Gribble's camped and prayed for two years before they got their permission to enter Oubangui Chari. With today's communication, the "simmering" process of prayer that makes a productive missionary "soup" is often neglected. Perhaps the communication explosion spreads the responsibility to the folks back home to keep their missionaries 'simmering' in the 'soup' of missionary prayer.

Amy Beth @ Ministry So Fabulous! said...

You're sweet. Thank you.