Change is good … right?

Change is tough. Martha’s experience in changing email programs is one example of how God uses me to help people who are advancing His kingdom. I recently had the chance to help Martha through one of those times when you just want to throw technology out the window. She kindly agreed to write about it for you:

I recently changed assignments within Wycliffe, and that meant that I needed to change email systems. I had been using two different systems, one on my office computer, and another on my laptop. I had two different email accounts, and I did different work on each one, and did not want the two to be mixed. When I moved to an assignment with Wycliffe USA, they required that I change both my email accounts to the system that they use. Their offices are in Orlando, Florida, and I am in Dallas, Texas, so I was trying to do things from a distance.

“It will be a painless process,” I was told. “It’s all pretty intuitive.” Unfortunately, what is intuitive for a computer expert is not always intuitive for someone else. I’ve been a Bible translator and a schoolteacher, and am now doing editing, and a lot of things are intuitive, but the computer change was not intuitive for me!

Changing to a new email system required not only that someone somewhere work computer magic to make it all happen, but now I had to do things — install this program, configure that, update this. Wow! I can say all those words, but I don’t know how to do them.

I had a couple of weeks of frustration, trying to do things long-distance with the guys in Orlando, who couldn’t understand why I was having so much trouble, mostly because I couldn’t explain it well. I finally took my laptop to the computer department in Dallas, hoping that they could help. They hooked my computer up to a network so that the changes could be installed remotely. But my computer didn’t cooperate. I guess I had some type of security protection on it that prevented anyone from working on it.

After several more days, David Liddle of the Dallas computer office kindly stepped in. Being able to actually see the computer you are working with helps! He was able to turn off the security protection so that the changes could be made. He then showed me some of the features of the new email system.

As we were looking at it, I noticed that I knew a lot more people than I thought I did. On closer inspection, it turned out that my entire contact list for email had been doubled, with each person in twice. I glumly envisioned hours of work, deleting each duplicate entry. David said, “No, wait. I think I can fix this.” In just a few minutes, he had redone my contact list. All my old emails were now accessible to me, I had a little icon I could click on my computer to get to email, and I only had each person in my address list once. Since most of my work depends on being able to contact people by email, having the system up and going was a true blessing.

The behind-the-scenes people like the computer department are the unsung heroes of Bible translation. The ‘frontlines’ people, the ones who go to the villages and do language work, may get more attention, but without people like David who help keep our equipment running, the task of getting God’s Word to all His people would be slowed down.

Perhaps some of you have had a similar experience. It was my great pleasure to be able to help when help was needed. (Why? See Col 3:23-24.) If you pray for or give to our ministry, then you helped Martha, too.

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David Liddle

I grew up in Media, Pennsylvania, close to Philadelphia. I graduated from The Citadel in 1994. In 1995, I joined Wycliffe Bible Translators and have served in Africa, the United States, and Germany. Katherine and I were married in November 1998.

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