Newsletter, December 2009

It’s funny, but the print version of our newsletter was mailed and received before this post. However, if you read it here, you’re also going to get an update to the bit I wrote in the letter about a trip I just made to North Carolina.

Ten of us gathered at the JAARS center in Waxhaw to talk about how we could make the online help desk easier to use for the Wycliffe workers worldwide. Two of those people were my future colleagues at Wycliffe Europe, Ken Haugh and Martijn de Vries. Two people came from Orlando, and another came from Calgary.

Right now, a person putting a request in to the help desk has to complete 10 fields. That may not sound like many, but some of them involve complex categorization of the request. Yuck. Only geeks care about that stuff. As a result of these meetings, we’ve cut those fields down to as few as five. We’ll find out how useful folks find these changes when we make this new look active at the end of January.

So, here is the newsletter. Pick the medium that suits you best!

December 2009: A Liddle Good News (for reading on-screen)

December 2009: A Liddle Good News (for printing)

Irons in the fire

Today I gave a pilot presentation of our impending email change to my own department. It was good to have a rehearsal for the similar talks we’re planning for the rest of the people who work on our campus. Rather than deliver this major news to one large group, I hope to work with small groups to pass on information that could be somewhat overwhelming to people.

I think my little seminar was well received. No one tried to kill or maul me.

For a lot of the Wycliffe members I serve here in Dallas, this change in email is going to necessitate a major shift in thinking and practice. Much of the work of Bible translation is progressing through email messages that flow constantly around the world. Any disruption to what is now a familiar daily exercise is bound to cause anxiety.

I don’t need the Counseling department breathing down my neck because I’ve given them more clients than they can handle. But after today, I think I can prevent the stampede.

At the same time, I am also working on a major overhaul of our helpdesk system. Have you ever submitted something to a support website? Ugh, even the terminology sends me reeling! “Request”, “ticket”, or “incident”? “Helpdesk”, or “support”? “User”, or “customer”?

When we first put this system together, the handful of us working on it looked at things almost exclusively from a geek’s perspective. It’s easy to see that now. And even while those 1,000 mailboxes occupy some part of my mind, other parts are bent on making our helpdesk “user-centric”. The whiteboard in my office is losing its white-ness to all the ideas I’m putting on it.

These days, Bible translation needs technology in order to work smarter and faster. When it doesn’t work, I want the people involved to have their problems resolved as quickly as possible. A smoothly functioning helpdesk can help make that happen.

In the week ahead, please pray that the Lord, my King, would give me the wisdom, patience, and perseverance I need to bring glory to Him through these projects. Hmm … even now, Psalm 46:10 comes to my mind. Did you pray before I hit the “Publish” button?

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