. It is a website that allows you to communicate with your team members, manage expenses, track donations, track task completion, and more. At the price of $15/trip for one trip, or $15/month for multiple trips, it is an affordable option for churches and ministries.
In many parts of the world, the mobile phone is the equivalent of the laptop computer in the West. In Africa, Asia, and other areas many people who do not have access to computers and internet use their mobile phones to connect with each other and share information. Unlike expensive smartphones, which often require post-paid contracts and data plans, SMS (short message service), or text messaging, is within the grasp of most mobile phone users. A text is easy and affordable to send and requires only a basic pre-paid service. Often it is free to receive text messages and some carriers offer email to SMS gateways. Many missionaries find text messaging to be a simple and affordable to communicate with those they serve.
is a free software application for your computer that allows you to send and receive text messages over your computer. You can link your mobile phone to your computer (desktop, laptop, or netbook) with a cable, or you can use a USB dongle with a SIM card. Not only can you use your larger keyboard to compose messages, but your messages may be managed in a similar way to an email program. You can configure distribution lists. You can also setup a SMS server, where people can text certain keywords to subscribe themselves to a distribution list. You can also use forms and conduct surveys via SMS and export data to Excel and other programs.
There are several ways missionaries can use FrontlineSMS. Besides using your netbook to send and receive text messages, here are some ideas.
Sending SMS to your team in a distribution list
Sending announcements and prayer requests
Sending daily scripture passages or encouraging words to a large distribution list
Are you looking for a computer program to help you as you raise missionary support? TntMPD is a free computer program designed by missionaries to help missionaries manage their list of financial partners. It tracks the key information and giving history of your ministry partners and reminds you to contact them. It works with Microsoft Outlook and other applications to send email. It is available in Mac and Windows platforms. Visit the TntWare website to learn more and download.
is an online video-based training tool. I recommend Lynda.com to missionaries regularly as they have quality videos that teach many standard applications. While many computer programmers and graphic artists use Lynda, they also have a good selection of videos for the rest of us. Videos cover the changes between Office 2007 and Office 2010 and advanced topics such as mail merges and Excel macros. The cost is $25/month for unlimited classes.
is a service that places a special folder on all your computers and synchronizes the contents of that folder constantly so you have your files regardless of which computer you use. You can also access your Dropbox files online as they are stored securely on Dropbox’s website. Dropbox works on Windows, Mac, and Linux computers and Apple, Android, and Blackberry mobile devices. Another feature is the ability to easily make a file or photo album publicly viewable on the internet for family, friends, or co-workers to view. Your files are actually on each device and on the internet, so this works great in situations where you are offline and need access to your files and when you are away from your computer. The free service is limited to 2GB, so you will not be able to store everything on Dropbox for free. Premium accounts start at $99/year for 50GB. Visit Dropbox.com
Do you enjoy waiting two to three minutes for your computer to start-up and shut down? If not, you may want to look at Presto. Presto is a Linux distribution that boots in about 15 seconds and shuts down in about 2 seconds. If you are not familiar with Linux, it is another operating system, like Microsoft Windows or Apple’s Operating System. Most Linux distributions are harder to install and use than Windows. Not so with Presto. You have to have Windows XP or Vista to install it and it installs like any other Windows program. After installation, when you boot your computer, you will be asked if you want to run Windows or Presto. After booting Presto, you will be able to run Mozilla Firefox, Skype, Pidgin Instant Messenger, and OpenOffice.org. This is a great way to get online fast. You can access files from the Windows “side” of your computer easily and use common office files like .doc, .xls, and such. You will find this to be a fast way to get online, surf the web, and check your webmail. If you don’t like it you can easily uninstall it from Windows without messing up your computer. The cost is $19.95. Learn more, download, and buy at PrestoMyPC.com
. So what makes a collection of freeware Christian, you may ask? This collection includes software for internet filtering/accountability, church management, Bible study, music projection, as well as other needs.
. Google Pack includes: Adobe Reader, Firefox with Google Toolbar, Google Earth, Google Desktop, Google Photos Screensaver, Google Talk, Google Toolbar for IE, Norton Security Scan, Picasa, RealPlayer, Skype and StarOffice.
is now out, retailing for $199.95. The big change many overseas users will appreciate is that it now handles multiple currencies. You can track both the local currency and the currency of the donor country, or two neighboring countries. To use fund accounting, you will need the Premier edtion for $399.95.
We know that the pen is mightier than the sword, but is the pen drive mightier that the hard drive? A USB flash, jump, or pen drive is something that most people own and use to store files. While these drives are useful for backups and file transfers, they can do much more. As a solid state drive they are not as fragile as your computer’s hard drive. One way to get more out of your USB drive is to run applications from it. Many applications have been created or adapted to run completely from your USB drive. That means that you can use your programs, bookmarks, and files from any computer. This empowers you to leave your computer at home and carry your USB drive instead as it is smaller, lighter, more rugged, and less likely to be stolen that your laptop. Many of the portable apps, as they are called, are free. There are two main “platforms” or launchers – U3
. U3 comes on certain USB drives, but is not worth paying extra for since PortableApps is a free equivalent. You can download many other individual programs. Here is a list of my favorite portable apps. You can also install these portable apps in your Dropbox folder