LUP011 – Paul & Sherry Zimmer: God’s Engineering, Part 2

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Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll hear in Episode 11:

  • Update: Find out why I’ll be pausing podcast production for 2015 after Episode 12.
  • Encouragement: Hear the conclusion of Paul & Sherry Zimmer’s story of making contact with the outer islands of Yap, in the Federated States of Micronesia.
  • Tech. Tip: I’ll tell you how you can read signs and placards in a foreign country even if you don’t know the language. It’s really quite an amazing trick.

Update

I have mixed emotions about this month’s Edify Hub update.  As you know, we’ve really been working on the Missionary Website Builder. Just a couple of weeks ago, Bryan Ries dedicated an episode of his Ministry Connection podcast to share information about that project.

But here’s the thing. Getting that initial website can be done in five minutes or less. But when it’s time to start adding in your own personality to your website, some people can poke around and figure things out, and others need step-by-step guides. How do I add my family photo? How do I share my PDF information packet? Can I add my deputation video on there somewhere? Can I link to my facebook page?

All those things can be done, but with so many possible ways to customize your website, it’s not always easy to tell where to begin.

As I work with missionaries setting up their websites, I’m realizing that for this to be scalable, I’m going to have to focus a lot of attention on producing a lot more support documentation and how-to videos and resources to help you be successful in making your website reflect your ministry.

I’ve mentioned before that all of this Edify Hub work takes place outside of my full-time day job. That means that to take on all of that unexpected work, I have to let something go.

Right now, my content production schedule includes one podcast each month, one video tip each month, and a few blog posts. To give the website support documentation the attention it needs, I’m going to have to focus all of my content-production efforts on that.

And that means putting everything else on pause for a while.

I do have one more conversation to share with you on next month’s episode of the Lift Up podcast. Next month, evangelist Jerry Sivnksty will share why it’s always too early to quit. Believe me, I certainly get the irony of having that topic be my last podcast episode of 2015, and I’ll explore more about that on next month’s episode

My hope and plan is to be able to pick it up again in early 2016. Who knows, maybe I’ll learn a lot between now and then – maybe something that will help me improve the format, or frequency of the podcast.

In the meantime, thank you so much for your faithfulness in listening, and for your encouragement to me with the Lift Up podcast.

Encouragement

Paul & Sherry Zimmer, Missionaries to Yap

Last month, we shared the story of Paul and Sherry Zimmer, and how God used Paul’s degree in Electrical Engineering to throw locked doors wide open for the gospel with their ministry in Yap, Micronesia.

Listen to find out how Paul & Sherry’s faith was tested as Paul went a second time to the outer islands of Yap, Micronesia.

“Sometimes you hear only bits and pieces of miracles.” That’s what Sherry said. So many times we don’t know how God is working, or what’s going to happen.

Maybe you’re in the middle of the need for a miracle. Maybe you have a family member who is serving God far away and the communication with them just isn’t as frequent or as regular as you wish it was. Or maybe you do hear stories of what’s happening in other ministries, and you just can’t see it in your own.

Maybe you hear the stories on the Lift Up Podcast, where we take something that happened over months or even years, and condense it down to one or two short episodes. The stories seem surreal. That’s partly because you don’t see all of the unglamorous daily grind of just regular daily life that these major events punctuate.

We don’t always see our own miracles – even when they’re happening right under our noses. Most of what we see is our own daily grind. I love what my friend Andy Bonikowsky says. “God is always doing far more than we can see.”

There’s probably a miracle that He’s working in your life right now.

When you discover what it is, I’d be thrilled if you’d share your story with me. Just drop me a line at steve@edifyhub.com and let me know the miracle that God is working in your ministry.

4/4/2015 – Urgent Prayer Request: Please pray for Paul as he visits the outer islands to help following the devastation of Typhoon Maysak.

You can help.

Visit Edify Hub’s Natural Disaster page for links to ministries accepting donations to help local churches and missionaries like Paul Zimmer reach out through recovery and cleanup efforts.

Tech. Tip

When Lana and I visited missionaries Mike and Becky Petersen in Poland a few years ago, we had a layover in Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris, France. I remembered hearing stories from others who had layovers in that airport – how they found it hard to find their way around. I don’t know French, so I was concerned about how we’d be able to know where to find customs, for example – or our departing gate. Fortunately, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be, and when we arrived in Poland, Mike met us at the airport, so we didn’t have to worry about reading signs any longer.

We’ve also been to Spain and the Dominican Republic. In both of those countries, as soon as you get outside the touristy areas, all of the signs are in Spanish.

In both Spain and Dominican Republic, we were with a larger group and, again, the missionaries were there waiting for us, so we still didn’t have to worry about reading any signs there either.

But what if you’re the missionary? What if you’re finally arriving on your field for the first time, or you’re headed into the country for language training and you’re either rusty or maybe even a complete beginner. You may not need to be able to read every sign or placard or menu, but every once in a while it really can be helpful to be able to read the signs in a foreign language.

Today’s tech. tip is a mobile app that will let you do just that. And you may even have that app already installed!

You have certainly heard of Google Translate. Maybe you’ve even laughed at some of the results online. OK, so no computer translation is flawless, but it’s often enough to help us get the basic idea.

If you install the latest version of the Google Translate app on your iPhone or Android device and have it configured for the language of the country you’re visiting, you can tap on the camera icon, and it put the app in what Google calls “Word Lens” mode. Just point the camera of your phone at the sign, and the app will instantly replace the foreign words on the sign with the equivalent phrase in English. I’ve tried it out, and it’s actually quite amazing how everything else in the picture looks the same – it’s just that the printed words get replaced – realtime – same size and color – but a different language. I’m a geek who does software for a living, and Word Lens amazed and impressed me with its combination of power and simplicity.

As I’m recording this, Word Lens works to translate from Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, or Italian into English – or the other way around. If you’re headed somewhere with some other language, Word Lens won’t help you yet, but they do have dozens of languages where you can type the words or write them with a finger or stylus and it will translate.

One of my immediate concerns with this whole idea was that when I arrive in a foreign country, I’m probably not going to have a mobile connection or a data plan. Not a problem. This isn’t like the web-based Google Translate where you have to have an Internet link. The language packs are downloaded directly to your phone or tablet, so it will work even in airplane mode with no Internet connection.

So next time you find yourself headed to a foreign country – or maybe just a foreign restaurant and you want to read the menu – load up Google Translate on your phone and tap the camera icon to use Word Lens. It’s completely free!

And of course, I’ll have a link to the app in the iTunes and Google Play stores available on our Show Notes page.

Closing

So today, you heard how you can use the Word Lens camera built into the mobile Google Translate app to read signs in a foreign country even if you don’t know the language.

You also heard how God intervened for Paul and Sherry Zimmer during Paul’s trip to the outer islands of Yap, Micronesia.

And we talked about our upcoming pause for new Lift Up Podcast episodes while we shift our focus to make sure missionaries have everything they need to fully describe their individual ministries using Edify Hub’s free Missionary Website Builder tool.

So – we’ll have one more episode in 2015 – Episode 12 next month. If you know someone with an encouraging story you’d like to hear featured on an upcoming episode in 2016, tell me a bit about them in an email to steve@edifyhub.com. Let me know a bit about their story, as well as how to contact them. If you could copy them in the email to introduce us to each other, that would be even better.

And as always, I’d like to end with this question.  From Hebrews 12:12, who will you lift up today?

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