I just got off a Skype conference call with the two pastors that are working directly with us in Portugal – Pastor Lenildo in the church in Albufeira, and Pastor Tito in the new church plant in Castanheira (Lisbon). What a blessing to be able, from Georgia, to strategize, fellowship and even pray with these good men. During the call, Bro. Lenildo commented on how he was amazed at the technology that allowed us to have this meeting. This made me think of all the ways we are already using these tools for the furtherance the Gospel in Portuguese.
- Skype: This free communication technology allows us to stay in touch with people and bring together resources from different towns where we are planting churches. We want to see independent Baptist churches started. These need to be independent from error, not from each other.
- Facebook: There are many voices against this social network and there is no doubt that it can be badly used. Nevertheless, for the last 30 days we have had a Facebook ad campaign going on telling people about the Gospel preaching services at the new church plant. Only people in a 15 mile radius of the new location see the ad. So far, 7500 people have seen it and 125 have actually clicked on the site. Along with the extensive tract distribution, this is one more way to reach that community and get contacts.
- Ustream: This free live streaming service allows us to stream our churches’ activities live overt the internet. No only that, we get to record and keep those recordings for future reference. Every week we offer two hours of Bible Institute training. People from different parts of Portugal (and other Portuguese speaking countries), watch the classes. Whoever is interested can take those classes for credit, with the textbooks and exams being sent via email.
- Youtube: We have about 10 full Bible Institute courses on video. The student that wants to take any of these courses, gets the Youtube links for the lessons (Youtube allows, if we want, for these videos to be private and offered only via the link that is emailed). The students can watch, and even download, the videos to do the lessons according to their schedule.
I could also write about the articles that I email to Portugal every week, or the daily devotional that is posted through a blogging service. The truth is that for now, these technologies offers us opportunities to reach out with the Gospel of Jesus that we did not have before. Just think that when Hudson Taylor was a missionary in China, a 4 months trip by boat to get there was considered fast. And that was the way their letters traveled. We are thankful for the tools the Lord has put at our disposal and we pray that we will use them effectively and with wisdom.