The time for the big move is getting closer and closer. We will be at our company orientation for a few more weeks and then home with family for a few weeks at Christmas. After that we will be jumping the big puddles to our new lives the first week of January.

We have said several times in person and on here that one of our greatest requests and needs will be for people to stay connected with us while we are overseas. Loneliness is a big issue with a lot of our co-workers and could be with us. With those requests for you to stay connected several people have asked some really good questions about how is the best way to do that. Below are some good avenues to use and thoughts to keep in mind with out future communication:

  • Email – You can always reach us at stayingsouth@gmail.com. We also each have private email address that you can request if you’d like to reach us individually. We will have Internet…when we have electricity. The main thing to know is that if you email us, it may take a few days for us to get back to you. It’s not because we don’t love you, it may just be because we can’t turn our computer on or are extremely busy. There will also be some security things to keep in mind that we will discuss below.
  • Facebook – You can communicate with us using social media. However, you will have to be careful with this. As I said, I will talk more about ways we can approach those security things below. The main thing to keep in mind with social media is probably to limit any comments that have anything to do with what we are doing to private messages. We have started a secret page that’s invitation only and is only for updates on our time there. If you want to be added to it, just let us know.  
  • Phone – We will have phones, we will text, and we will call. We don’t know our phone numbers yet because we will have to get service through a provider in our country. Honestly though, texting and calling are not going to be as easy and sensible as some of the options below that are free and internet based instead of data based.
  • Texting Apps such as Viber, WhatsApp, or Voxer- These are all Internet based messaging apps, meaning if you are on Wi-Fi they don’t cost any money to use. If we use these we will still need to stick to the security options below but a lot of these work great. And you can even leave voice messages.
  • Skype or FaceTime– Skype and FaceTime are programs that allow for live video conversations. We can see and hear each other relatively live, except a few seconds of delay and the occasional freeze up.  
  • LETTERS & packages!– Do people still do this? If anyone writes us, we will LOVE it and we will (hand) write you back. Packages that are 4 lbs. or smaller can get to our city within 3-4 weeks. Anything over 4 lbs. will take longer and could be held up in the capital city for 2-3 months.

Now for the part a lot of people have asked about: security concerns. There are some things to keep in mind whenever you contact us overseas no matter which medium you choose to use above. There really isn’t a completely safe option so it’s best to train yourself to use these simple practices no matter what. I say “simple” because while this is really important, it’s also really easy, and there aren’t a lot of things to have to remember in order to be safe.

Security Do’s and Don’ts:

  • Never use the word M1$$10N@RY. This is the easiest and most important thing to keep in mind. Do not use it in any way or any word that could easily be traced back to it as the reason we are there.
  • Other specific words to avoid would be words like “c0nverts”, “d!sciples”, “Je$us”, etc.
  • Whenever you ask questions about the job we are doing, it’s fun to find creative ways to speak in codes. Business or sports language has always been the easiest for me.
    • How is the business going?
    • How are people responding when you try to get the to join the team?
    • What do you feel like our big coach/boss is trying to lead you to?
  • I understand that at times people use these types of words in our culture in a way that belittles but I think if we are all on the same page of what we are doing it will be ok.
  • Some words that are perfectly fine because of what they can mean in any culture are…
    • Father, son, pray, spirit, etc.
  • Sometimes you can use symbols to help disguise words like I did in the first point of this section but it can get tricky to make sure it’s done well and I don’t recommend getting stuck on that, unless you have a lot of time.

There really isn’t much more than that to worry about. The odds are if you make a mistake, it won’t be a huge issue. We can probably just point it out to you and nothing will be a problem. The main concern is our visa status in country and the safety of the nationals that we will work with. Please feel free to send us a test run email or two before we leave to practice how you might communicate with us there. That way we can give any advice and pointers you might want or need and don’t hesitate to ask any questions you might have.

Comment