Wednesday, June 25, 2008


My family and just returned to Florida from a trip to northern New England to visit churches and individuals that financially support our ministry with New Tribes Mission. I think this needs a little explanation for those who are not familiar with the workings independent, non-denominational missions. New Tribes does not pay any salaries, but each individual that becomes a member of the mission needs to visit churches and individuals of like faith in order to raise the funds necessary to live. Then after you are working for the mission you return on regular basis to those churches and individuals to report on what you have been doing. I liken it to the Interview and Performance Review process that you go through when landing and keeping a job. The first time you visit a church to present the ministry you will be doing, you are interviewing with them. When they choose to financially support you, they have "hired" you. Then you return to tell them about the work you have done, you are having your performance review. Have you really done what you told them you were going to do? Hopefully the answer is "Yes", and they will continue to financially support you and maybe give you raise.

All that to actually get to the real story. We flew from Orlando to Manchester, NH, on Thursday night and had our first speaking engagement at Calvary Baptist Church in Newport, ME, on Sunday morning. Thursday and Friday night we stayed at my brother's house in Derry, NH. Well, I setup my laptop at my brother's to use while we were there. On Saturday we packed up and headed for Newport. I went to the church Saturday night to setup and did not have a power strip so I got everything setup and tested (projector & laptop) using my laptop battery. On Sunday morning I arrived early to get the power strip I was borrowing setup so I could plug in my laptop. I went to my laptop bag to get my power cord and, OH NO, it was not there! I had left it at my brother's 3 1/2 hours and 140 miles away! I currently use a 5 year Dell Latitude D600, so the battery life is not long, so I knew I could be in trouble. I use the PowerPoint slides as my notes and expand on them extemporaneously and I had not printed out the presentation, so I had no notes. Having attended a Successful Technical Speaking class presented by Andy Warren at End to End Training this spring, I knew better, but hey, I'd never not had power before, so why be prepared? Needless to say, about halfway through the presentation the battery died and I had a blank screen. Since I had recently put together the presentation, most of it was fresh in my mind, so I was able to complete it without leaving out any major points, but this was not a situation I am interested in repeating. In the long run, this worked out, as I learned that several slides incorporated more detail than was necessary and I was able to remove them to improve the flow of the presentation. Thankfully the people were very gracious and understanding, so my faux pas was forgiven.

The moral of the story, make sure you pack everything and print out those slides!

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