Google Voice

Google VoiceGoogle Voice, formerly called GrandCentral, is a free phone service from Google.  The basic idea is that you choose a local US lifetime number which forwards calls to your phones (home, work, mobile, computer, and more) automatically.  It is currently in an invitation only roll out, so you have to request an invitation and then wait for an email from Google to sign up.

Some neat features:

  • Forward all calls to voicemail (voicemails are delivered via email or SMS)
  • Make calls for free to US numbers (calls your phone and then the other persons phone)
  • Send SMSs for free to US numbers
  • Temporary forwarding to a hotel room or other temporary number
  • Press * to switch phones without loosing the call
  • Forwards to phones in other area codes, giving you a local number even if your real number is in another area code
  • You can create a separate number that only goes to voicemail for use when buying things online
  • You can setup a number for a “duty officer” and forward it to the on-call person of the week

Sign up for Google Voice now (requires requesting an inviation)

Read more about how to use this along with Project Gizmo (which gives you a free phone number on your computer) at Gizmo Voice

Using Skype to Connect with Churches and Ministry Partners

SkypeDoes your home church’s missions conference not coincide with your furlough?  Do your supporters want to talk to you after a major event on your field?  Skype can help bridge the gap between you and your supporting churches.  It is not high quality video conferencing, but it is easy to do.  Here is what you need to get started.

The church needs:  (this may take some time for the sound technican to set up)

  • video projector
  • computer
  • webcam (if you want to see them)
  • internet connection (wired is better than wireless)
  • audio connection from their sound board to the microphone jack on the computer
  • audio connection from their sound board to the headphone jack on the computer
  • video connection from their projector to the computer

You need:

  • computer
  • webcam
  • microphone (many webcams include a microphone)
  • internet connection (wired is better than wireless)


  • choose a quiet place, where family members, collegues, or pets will not interrupt you
  • turn off all noises (alarms, mobile phones, house phones)
  • check your webcam and microphone position
  • check your background and lighting (more lighting usually helps)
  • dress appropriately
  • use a wired internet connection, not wireless (speed matters)
  • have an outline of what you plan to say
  • write out your first and last sentences word-for-word
  • ask the church for a list of questions they will ask and prepare your answers
  • look at your webcam, not your screen
  • test it with the church a few days before the interview (talking to a large auditorium is different than talking to a friend on Skype)




Do you use Skype?  You should!  Skype is an internet based telephone service.  It allows to make calls from your computer to another computer for free and make calls from your computer to a landline or mobile telephone at affordable rates.  Skype offers video calls and instant messaging for free.  Calls to or from regular telephones may be purchased through prepaid or postpaid airtime.


Are you looking for a way to save money and maintain contacts easily?, a Google product, offers a free local telephone number that may be forwarded to one or more phones. You can get a number and have it forward to your home phone, mobile phone, hotel room phone, computer, or voicemail. This allows you to maintain a single US phone number for your lifetime. It will not forward calls to international phones, but you may forward calls directly to voicemail, which may be sent to you as an email. Learn more at