We continue our series of guest blog articles written by missionaries telling how the Internet impacted their ministry. Today’s blog article is written by Brian Kirschenbaum, who spent 9 years bringing the gospel to Slovakia. He writes about how the Internet was a blessing while overseas. Plus he describes the challenges of feeling overwhelmed by all the possible ways to communicate via the Internet and having to make decisions about how he would use the Internet so it would help his ministry rather than burden or detract from it.
I have said it over and over again the past 8 years, “I could not have imagined being a missionary only 15-20 years ago without e-mail or the internet.” Ever since we moved to Slovakia in 1999, e-mail and our website have been our lifeline to our support back home and the internet has become a vital tool in reaching young people for Christ.
When we first moved to Slovakia in 1999 our internet connection was only 14.4 on a good day. Even with such a slow connection I cant tell you how encouraging it was when we got a reply back almost immediately to a prayer request we had sent by email only minutes before. While I tried to stretch the technology with our website with things like animated gif’s and even flash, it was the basic message that kept us connected with our family back home. In those “early” days of our time overseas, the focus was to get a communication out not on how it looked. The impact, or readability, or even much of the visual content was not as vital as just getting something out. That is not the case today.
The world and especially the virtual world has changed. It seems that nearly everyone is somewhat media savvy. If what we want to share is lost in the overpopulated world of the web, than what impact can our communication have? As I have read in other blogs on the subject, the job of maintaining our own website or even creating creative and interesting e-mails has become completely overwhelming. In this environment I have learned that it is vital to rely on the technology that others have created to make my life simpler. Even though I have learned to code and knowhow to create my own content management system (CMS), that is not my primary job. If others have done it why should I duplicate it?
I have learned to relinquish complete control over every aspect of my communication. My goal now is only to learn what the capabilities are and how to use it both in personal and ministry communications. Using a CMS has allowed others to be involved and freed me to focus on the direct ministry we are called to. It has also given us the flexibility in ministry that is attractive to students who are constantly on the web. I hope to be able to do the same with our personal site.
We are currently on staff with the Military Ministry branch of Campus Crusade for Christ. Although we are no longer overseas, we are still in ministry and hope to remain connected with our family and friends here in the U.S. and back in Slovakia. We are so thankful for all those partners who help us do our ministry and make it possible to cary the message of Christ creatively around the world.
God bless you for your partnership and support.
Brian, Gigi, Kayli and Chase Kirschenbaum
Brian Kirschenbaum and his family have just returned to the U.S. after serving in Slovakia. You can read more about them on their website.
If you are/were a Christian missionary and would like to write a guest blog article about how the Internet impacted your ministry, please contact us through our help desk. For more information about other Christian missionaries see OurChurch.Com’s Missions Mashup.