I remember as a kid being fascinated by the missionary phone patch, or at least that is what it was called at the church I grew up in. During a worship service, we would call one of our missionaries and do a mini-interview with them through the church sound system. It was really cool to think that our whole congregation was talking with someone halfway around the world. As the church got more technology proficient, I remember that we would use an overhead projector to show their picture during the call.
Fast forward 20 years.
Two weeks ago at Faith Church we Skyped with Lamar and Janice Stoltzfus, long-time Faith Church members who are full-time EC missionaries serving with Africa Inland Mission at Rift Valley Academy in Kenya. It was a live video call. Live video of them was on our big screen up front, and through a camera in our sanctuary, they could see us. Through our sound system we could talk as if they were right there. The wonder of the internet. It was like Skype that you are accustomed to, but on a big scale! I am so thankful for that kind of technology.
We’ve done it before plenty of times with our missionaries, but those calls have always been short, 5-10 minutes. We would check in, hear brief updates and prayer requests, pray with them and say good bye. But then we thought, why not give them the whole service like we do with missionary guest speakers? Through the magic of Skype we can easily do this.
That is if Kenya doesn’t lose internet! As it did last time we tried to do a short Skype with them. Imagine that…the internet goes out over an entire country. That gives you a bit of a picture of life in Kenya.
Thankfully this time, the connection was great, until literally right before I was about to turn the service over to them. At that very moment we lost the connection. It was great that their daughter Alyssa was with us in person, and she had just spent a month with them in Kenya. So as I interviewed her, the sound/projection team restored the connection and got the Stoltzfuses back on the line, and we had a clear call the rest of the way. No delays either.
It was great to hear from Kenya, where God is at work!