A New Era in Missions

africa computersSaturday afternoon I was sitting at the computer uploading some pictures to my Facebook account when I heard a soft “ping” as the chat feature opened on my account.  It was one of the teachers at West Nigerian Christian College who had sent me a message through his smartphone. It struck me just how much has changed since I first visited Africa in 1987.

I remember the communication challenges I faced when I first entered the mission field in the 1980’s.  It would take weeks for mail to arrive and I very rarely made a phone call (with rates in excess of $5.00 per minute). Each month I would write my newsletter, mail it to the Crieve Hall Church of Christ who in turn would mail it to my contributors.

Nowadays I receive emails from our staff on a weekly and sometimes a daily basis. IMG_0958Occasionally I receive a phone call (which runs about 20 cents a minute) and it won’t be long before we will be conducting board meetings with our school director’s logged in through Skype or some other online meeting service.

A few years back African Christian Schools realized technology provided some of the answers to the challenges of working in a dangerous region of the world like Nigeria. While there is always a need to make missionary journies and visit the work (much the way Paul, Silas, Barnabas and others did), we realized that we could reduce expenses and increase productivity if we invested in a high quality technology center on the campus of West Nigeria Christian College.  Consider just a few of the benefits this new technology center will offer us in the years to come:

  • Vocational programs are already developing to provide new opportunities for our preachers to support themselves, and tuition based programs on campus to increase local revenue to the schools.
  • We can participate in staff and board meetings without the expense of flying to Nigeria.
  • Our students and teachers can pursue higher educational opportunities through distance learning programs with our Christian colleges here in the states (without having to bring them over).
  • We will be able to provide live feeds of graduation events, lectureships and other exciting programs taking place on the campus of WNCC.

DSCN0628Our new computer lab is nearing complete, but we still need help in a few areas. First, we need to be able to cover the ongoing expense of our contract with the satellite/internet providers (about $1,000 a month). We also need to raise $2,000 a month to pay for the tuition of two of our staff who are enrolling in the Master’s program at Freed-Hardeman University (via distance learning). They will be able to stay in Nigeria and teach while completing their studies.

This project has taken us nearly two years to complete, but with your prayers and your support, we hope to launch the new lab by our annual lectureship in August, 2014.

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