In the United States, people often take for granted how well their computers, phones and tablets run on a daily basis.
There is online and phone tech support, IT managers, even Google to search out answers to technical problems. However, for missionaries in much of the world, this support can be virtually non-existent and when email, Skype and other forms of communication are cut off, it can be devastating to their work.
Mark 5 Ministries was founded by Eric Straw, Ph.D., an associate professor of computer science at Corban, to help missionaries needing technical help. In August, he took a 9-person team of computer, phone and tablet savvy volunteers to Willigen, Germany where they helped more than 100 missionaries at the Greater Europe Mission conference resolve technical problems and get the training they need.
It’s mostly software fixes, but we have pulled machines apart and put them back together,” Straw said. “We do what we can to get them running again.”
Many of the conference attendees who needed help come from countries where it is illegal to share the gospel or to work as a missionary. Straw’s team helps these “full-time servants of Jesus Christ” not only solve software problems, but also teaches them how to make their communications and data more secure.
The impact of the mission wasn’t just felt by the missionaries at the conference, but also his by team members.
“It’s not magic that is happening, but when we have missionaries who haven’t been able to check their email for three weeks, they are frazzled,” Straw said. “Once you crack that safe as it were and get the right combination, we can have both technicians and missionaries in tears at times because these breakthroughs are powerful.”
Currently Straw is considering two additional volunteer missions in December, one with WorldVenture in Athens, Greece and another with Africa Inland Mission in Uganda. For more information about Mark 5 Ministries or to donate, click here.
Willegen, Germany Team Members
Craig Pruitt II, ‘11
Craig, ‘79 and Mary Pruitt, ADP ‘95
Peter, ‘10 and Ana Buhler, ‘13