Living and working in the cloud

There are many days of the year, especially in autumn and spring, in which one can wake in this valley of the Wetterbach and find that the village of Holzhausen has been uploaded to the cloud. Or has the cloud downloaded itself to Holzhausen? Fog Computing just doesn’t have the same ring to it …

A foggy morning at the Wycliffe center.

Before we returned to Germany last year, I knew that one of my major projects would be to introduce Wycliffe Germany to Office 365, the suite of cloud services from Microsoft. Yes … that cloud. So … mysterious. No, it’s not. In a nutshell, it’s just taking stuff that lives on a server that you own and putting it on a whole pile of servers that somebody else owns.

The chief advantages to cloud services are little to no downtime, no physical maintenance, better security, and access from anywhere with an internet connection. Wycliffe Germany was increasingly in need of each of those features.

On my return, I began planning to move their email system from a single aging server in the basement to shiny new servers at Office 365 data centers throughout Europe. (I don’t really know if they’re shiny.) In February and March of this year, I executed my carefully tested plan, and I was very pleased with the results. So were my colleagues … whew!

The new arrangement is easier than ever to manage, and I have more information at my fingertips that helps me to keep Wycliffe’s email safe. There are many other products in Office 365 that we’re slowly beginning to use to our advantage. Please pray for me to be patient and wise as I make the introductions; neither you nor our Lord want me to try dragging my colleagues into the digital age. May He encourage me to heed the advice of the Teacher in Ecclesiastes 3:1.

And now for a personal interlude: during the last full week of the boys’ summer break, we had the pleasure of vacationing with Katherine’s parents in Wasserburg on Lake Constance. What a lovely place it is, even with … clouds!

Vacation is over and we’re all back in the saddle again. Jonathan is in his final year at Gymnasium, and Caleb has two years left. Please pray for each to have the academic prowess to put this year away with great success.

Katherine will be spending more time in the library now and less at the Wycliffe reception desk. Nevertheless, her time at reception is precious to the administration, because she has proven skillful in organizing several predecessors’ work. Pray for her to act wisely as she tends to the resources in both places on which many people depend.

There’s another cloud that I want to mention in closing. You. This cloud is comprised of you who take an interest in our ministry, who pray for us—regularly or irregularly, who give so that we can pay our bills, and who provide for us directly—in big ways and small—when there’s a need. Just as a believer’s faith draws in great part on the “cloud of witnesses” referred by Hebrews 12:1, so does our faith in serving draw on you. We’ve been using cloud services for decades now. Thank you!