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Jul 4 2008

Mission Disk Update

Jamie Barrows

Since I’ve been traveling so much lately, I haven’t been able to do much with the Mission Disk project. But the good news is that Darrell has been hard at work updating the website and getting all the software versions of the included programs up to date. And now he’s put out a new release(v 1.1) of the disk. So check it out.
www.MissionDisk.com

And if you don’t know what the project is all about, follow this link to read about it.


Jun 8 2008

Perceptions

Jamie Barrows

Traffic Blur

I watched the new Rambo movie a couple of days ago. It was actually pretty decent for an action film. Not a lot of plot, and very bloody, but good overall.
The premise is that Rambo has to go in to rescue a group of missionaries that have been captured by the Burmese military. The plot line is a bit weak, but what can you expect form a Rambo movie.
The thing that struck me was the portrayal of the missionaries in the movie. Throughout the entire movie they are portrayed as naive and out of touch with the real world.
Rambo cautions them against going into Burma unarmed, but they won’t listen. Instead they tell him that weapons are the problem. So they refuse to carry them.
He saves them from river pirates, and they tell him that violence isn’t the answer. In fact, they tell him they are going to report his killing of the pirates to the Burmese government.
They bring prayer books to people who are starving. They sing hymns and read Bible stories to people who are under attack. They just have no concept of what is happening all around them, until it happens to them.
So that made me wonder. Is that how people see Christian missionaries? The movie wasn’t anti-Christian and the Christians in it weren’t portrayed as bad people. They were just portrayed as people who don’t understand the world.


Dec 30 2007

Missions Project

Jamie Barrows

Rock PileToday I set up a website for my missions project. The whole thing kind of went on hold over the last month. What with Christmas and everything, I just didn’t have a lot of time to work on it. But now I’m getting back to it.

Things are going rather well on the Installer. So I thought it was time to set up a website to host the project files and various pieces of data that this project entails. It’s mostly a shell at the moment, but I’ll be adding to it in the next few weeks. So stay tuned to the new project website for updates.

Check it out: www.MissionDisk.com


Nov 21 2007

New Project Idea

Jamie Barrows
DVD disk

Ok, the paying bills post got me actively working on trying to find something I could do. Preferably, at least to start, it needed to be something I could do with my current resources. And after a lot of discussions with friends an family, I think I came up with something I can do now. This project would be just the beginning, but at least it’s a start. My thought is to put together a software and training package for missionaries.

Specifically a package for missionaries and native pastors dealing with writing prayer letters and doing basic publishing. I’ve been trying to find something where I can use my current skill set. And I think this might be useful. I realized that, while I don’t have a lot of formal training, I do have a lot of word processing and small scale publishing experience. Things a lot of people can do with very little experience, but most wouldn’t know where to start.

Small CrossIf I could create a training package that used nothing but free software and taught missionaries and native pastors how to create prayer letters and presentations using that software it would be a really useful tool. Maybe add some basic image editing to the package. I could try to get a list of cheap digital cameras that I could evaluate and recommend (or tell them to avoid) as part of the package.

I’ll also be trying to collect a bunch of online resources and links for them. And if they have local Internet access, try to teach them how to set up and run a blog (which would be basically just an online prayer letter).

So the plan is to use my expertise to build an entire resource package geared towards missions that would be very low cost or free for the missionary. I’ve done a good bit of research already to see if there is a package out there that does this, and haven’t found anything. And the more I talk to about this to people, the more it seems like there is a real need. And it is something I can easily do and should be able to do a good job at.

Finding and evaluating disparate pieces of software, integrating them together, and writing support documentation is something I do in my job all the time. So building and collecting the pieces needed for a package like this is something I have some experience with and should be able to do.


Nov 18 2007

Paying Bills

Jamie Barrows

Mail
Lately I’ve been more than a little depressed. The reason is that I don’t feel like anything I’m doing is worth anything. Not just not worth anything, but actually pointless. Every week all my actions are based around a single goal. Paying bills. I go to work every day for no other reason. Don’t get me wrong, I like my job. The problem is that the only purpose for my job, is to pay bills. And paying bills is not something that is really a worthy goal to have in life. It’s actually very worthless.

I need to have a point to my life that goes beyond paying bills. I need a goal that is really worth something. I really don’t know what I can do, but I need to find something. Otherwise, this pattern of depression about my life will keep pulling me down and leave me in a state of depression.

Finding that goal is the hard part. The problem is that I don’t have the skills and abilities to do the obvious things. People I know are going to suggest that I get involved in missions work and the church. But I’m already involved in my church, and the truth is that they don’t really need me. And I don’t have any of the usual skills that missionaries can use. No church planting or preaching skills. No building or construction skills.

About the only skill that I do have, is an aptitude for computers. My computer skills are not really any use to most of the churches around here. Computer skills like mine are just too common in the US. But possibly my skills could be useful on the mission field. Specifically in third world or impoverished nations. Maybe there is something I could do that would take advantage of the skill set that I do have.

I don’t know if it is even possible, but I think I will try to find out. If I can make some contacts with groups who are working in those countries, then I might be able to find out what I can do. Maybe my computer skills could be used, or maybe there is another area I could help out in. The only way I can find out what I can do is to ask. So that is what I’m going to try.

Because I don’t want my goal in life to be “paying bills.”