GleanerNOW! Let's Keep in Touch
Does someone in your church keep in touch with missionary families who have gone out from your church to an overseas assignment?
It doesn't matter if they are church employees, Adventist Frontier Missions volunteers, medical missionaries, or self-supporting missionaries. If they send back e-mails and photos describing their mission and what it's like to be there, GleanerNOW! would like to give them a wider audience than just their friends or local church. If you are willing to be a conduit for their stories, here's what you can do:
Obtain the missionary family's permission to republish their e-mail messages, or ask them to submit stories and photos directly to www.gleaneronline.org.
Go through their message and take out any personal messages to individuals that would not be appropriate for wide distribution. Limit story length to about 350 words. (If you don't, we will.)
Make sure there are no requests for money in the story. It's appropriate to describe a need and/or ask for prayer about specific things. But let's just let the Holy Spirit do the rest.
You may determine what contact information you and/or the missionary family are willing to have published, in case someone is impressed to establish contact after reading the story. Remember, the Internet is a very public place.
Make sure there is a photo to accompany every story—preferably one illustrating the story—and that it has a descriptive caption, written in a complete sentence.
Their church of origin must be within the North Pacific Union territory.
Keep the stories coming on a regular basis.
The same thing can be done when your church has individuals or a group going on a short-term mission trip.
Establish a GleanerNOW! login for each designated correspondent before leaving on the trip. Go to www.gleaneronline.org. In the left panel, under Resources, click on Contributors' Information. Print out the PDF file Step-by-Step Instructions, then simply follow the directions. The same guidelines apply to these stories as to the print edition, so print out the GLEANER Guidelines you see there too.
Make sure someone on the trip has the ability to take digital photos and send stories back. Make it their assignment to do so. Youth are particularly good at this. It is better to choose a support person who is not responsible for preaching, however. Those who are preaching have found that they are much too occupied with sermon preparation and visitation to keep up with this correspondence regularly.
If your group will have several projects going on simultaneously, consider assigning someone at each site to be the GleanerNOW! reporter. Just make sure each one has a digital camera that shoots at least 3 megapixels. Once the photo is shot, and the story written, it's just a matter of finding an Internet café to get online. Then all the folks back home don't have to wait until the group returns to hear about their loved ones on the trip.
A blog style is quite acceptable for this type of story.
The stories can be short, but they definitely should not exceed 350 words.