LUP016 – You Can’t Be A Missionary: Jerry Dwire (Part 1)

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Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll hear in Episode 16:

  • Update: Non-Geek solution to whole-house internet parental controls, and Edify Hub’s renewed focus on expanding and improving our solution for missionary websites.
  • Encouragement: After a tragic accident during childhood, today’s guest was told no mission board would ever accept him with his physical condition. Despite that roadblock, he spent his second career working for Baptist International Missions, Inc.
  • Tech. Tip: That PDF of your newsletter or ministry information packet may be too big to be useful. Learn how to keep its size down while keeping its quality up!

Resources mentioned in this episode

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast to catch the conclusion of today’s story next week:

  • via iTunes for your iPad or iPhone
  • via Stitcher on Stitcher Radio
  • via RSS for other podcast players

Update

Since our last episode, Edify Hub has published a how-to video showing how to set up whole-house internet parental controls to cover every device on your home network – even if you’re not a geek. Our previous articles on accountability software mentioned OpenDNS as the solution we used previously, but it is quite a challenge to set up – and even harder to explain.

The new video – at edifyhubcom/meetcircle – shows step by step how to set up and install a new parental control system that doesn’t need nearly as much technical knowledge.

Also, I’ve been trying to sort through many opportunities that are presenting themselves, including these:

  • Discover how to improve the experience creating missionary websites
    • People who have used it – what could be better?
    • People who chosen not to use it – why not?
  • Simplify/enhance features.
    • Clarify domain transfers
    • Tighter MailChimp integration
  • Turn MailChimp articles into a course
    • Paid course to fund Edify Hub ministry – step-by-step videos, how-to on more advanced features.
    • Free access to those who upgrade to paid plan – yearly
    • Discount on yearly paid plan to those who buy the course.
  • Deputation Manager software
    • Hear common refrain that deputation takes too long
    • Software can shave 10 seconds off each call
    • For a dedicated missionary making 450 calls in a day, those seconds add up to more than an entire hour saved each day.
    • In addition, software can remove dead phone numbers, and keep church contact information up-to-date, improving the answer rate of the calls that do get made.
  • Many other ideas for products and solutions to improve ministry for missionaries and churches.

Ultimately, I’ve decided my focus needs to be on the missionary websites.

  1. Improve the automated interaction to gather feedback and help missionaries find the free training that’s available
  2. Make time so that I can have more personal interaction with the missionaries to better meet their needs.

Encouragement

Have you found yourself with a desire to serve God in a specific way, only to be told that you’re not cut out for that kind of ministry? My guest today faced situations in his childhood that would have eliminated most people’s opportunities to be involved, but after retiring from an engineering position with IBM, he found a nearly twenty-year second career that gave him opportunities for service that even a second retirement hasn’t completely eliminated.

Listen to find out why people thought he couldn’t possibly be involved in missions.

The pastor’s wife, a registered nurse who helped with the surgery, would not pray for healing because she didn’t believe it was possible.

How is a mom supposed to cope with a situation like this? Opposed and rejected by her husband because of her faith. Then, when that faith is needed so desperately, to find no reason for medical hope, and no reason for prayer from one who she trusted to support and encourage her!

Of course, this wouldn’t be the Lift Up podcast if the story ended there, but we’re out of time. We’ll finish the story next week, so subscribe to the Lift Up podcast on iTunes or Stitcher or your podcasting app to make sure you hear the end of the story.

Tech. Tip

If you want to share a newsletter or information packet about your ministry on your website, a downloadable PDF is an obvious way to share it. But I’m surprised at how many times a simple document turns into a huge download. I’ve seen missionary information packets that are only two pages of text with a couple of simple graphics, but the PDF file is bigger than two megabytes.

Files that large take a long time to download, leaving a bad impression for your visitors.

In order to keep your website moving fast, some systems won’t even let you upload a file bigger than two megabytes. But even if you can, that doesn’t mean you should. On today’s tech tip, I’ll give you 4 steps to keep your PDF files small so they open up fast, without making them look bad.

1. Don’t use a “Print as PDF” program.

Instead, Save or Export your document as a PDF.

If the way you start creating your PDF document is by asking your application to “Print” the document, then there’s almost certainly a better way. A PDF printer is convenient because it will let you create a PDF from pretty much any program that knows how to print. But that convenience often comes at a price. Many of those PDFs end up calculating and storing every dot that makes up every letter of every word in the whole document. It often stores far more dots than you’d need to make the text clear and readable on your screen at normal size, but still not enough dots to make the text as clear as possible when it’s printed or zoomed in. So you end up with a bloated file that takes a long time to download and still doesn’t look very good when someone looks closely or prints it on paper.

Rather than starting with “Print” to create your PDF, look in the File menu of your application to find a “Save as…” option or an “Export as…” option. When your application saves or exports the PDF, it can be smart enough to save the shape of each letter once, and then store just the text of your document, creating a smaller file with clear, crisp text.

2. Use standard fonts.

Some commercial fonts have a kind of copy protection that won’t let you embed them in a PDF. But part of the promise of a PDF is that everybody will see things exactly as you see them. But if you can’t embed that commercial font, how can the PDF keep its promise? Well, by storing every dot of every letter again – just like the Print as PDF solutions do. But that’s what makes for a rather large PDF. So, if you can use standard fonts instead of expensive commercial ones, you can help keep your PDFs from getting too big.

3. Optimize your images.

When you’re saving or exporting your PDF, most programs will ask you what quality to use for your images. Some programs will give you options like “optimize for the web” or “optimize for printing”. Others will ask if you want “good, better, or best” quality. Still others will ask for a number of DPI (“dots per inch”) to use for the images. If you expect people to just view your PDF on their computers, use “optimize for the web” or “good quality” or somewhere around 70-90 dpi. If you expect people to print your PDF, you can try “optimize for printing” or “better” quality or somewhere around 150 dpi, but be aware this will make your PDF file larger.

4. Use fewer, smaller, or simpler images.

If you have very large photos – or lots of photos – in your document, you may find that the PDF still ends up rather large. If that’s the case, you may need to simplify your images. Some options here would be shrinking the photos so they don’t take up so much space on the paper, or cutting out some images that aren’t critical to the story you’re telling. You may also find that you can afford to use “optimize for the web” even for a printable PDF if you crop your images down and zoom in on them.

Closing

Today, you’ve learned how to keep your PDF documents small to make a good impression on your downloaders.

You’ve also met a man active in missions, even though he had been told he could never be involved in missions. Be sure to come back next week to hear the conclusion of that story.

Finally, you’ve learned how Edify Hub is focusing on the missionary website builder to make sure it provides the best experience and the most help for missionaries – especially those who are just getting started with deputation.

Take Action

If the Lift Up podcast has been an encouragement to you, please take a moment to drop me a note at steve@edifyhub.com to let me know that you enjoy listening – especially during your drives on deputation or furlough.

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