We realise it has been a while since we wrote an update. We enjoy the Facebook Live events, but a written communication is also nice.
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Healing a Broken Heart (September 2016)
Dear Friend,

Imagine you're interested in going on a short-term mission trip this summer. To get more information, you fill out an inquiry form on the agency's website. You then wait for a response. You wait. And wait. You never hear anything from the agency, so you assume there aren't any trips available for the summer.

But what if there are trips available, and something is wrong with the agency's website?!?!

About a year ago I predicted that OM USA was/would have a problem with web inquiries. I explained to them that inquiries were getting caught as spam and how to fix the issue. I left it with them to resolve. I have been doing this same communication with all of OM’s webmasters over the past year.

Fast forward a year. This time of year is the busiest in the recruiting department at OM USA. Each day, roughly 30-50 people inquire online about going on a short-term outreach or working long term with OM. It is when churches and individuals begin looking for short term mission outreaches. Last month all the inquiry emails were getting caught as spam. This was making it very difficult for the recruiting team to their job.

A few weeks ago I had a meeting with the IT Director at OM USA about the problem because it had gotten so bad. All along I had been saying that I could help fix the problem if they wanted me to do it. They had now explored all their options, spent many hours trying to fix it and spent money on support tickets trying to the problem. This time they gave me the credentials for their web server and let me loose.

I was told by OM USA that the company that wrote the website software never solved the problem at hand. They, in theory, knew what needed to be done, but they had never been able to help resolve the problem nor did they know of any client who had. I had already done a bunch of detective work and I was pretty certain what I needed to do to fix the problem. I felt I was up for the challenge!

An hour after getting the credentials to the server, I had inquiry emails working properly! So now, if you have an interest in going with OM in ministry, your inquiry won’t get lost in spam filters.

We realise it has been a while since we wrote an update. We enjoy the Facebook Live events, but a written communication is also nice. So to catch you up on a few of the major events since Christmas:

Leon's Highlights

  • Performed a major update to OM’s intranet. The previous server had been continually updated in place for a decade and was poorly documented. The new server is running the latest technology under the bonnet and will allow for easier development for our in-house Java developers.
  • Stricter spam controls implemented to protect OM staff from spam and phishing. We will soon implement controls to protect external email providers from also receiving spoofed emails from us.
  • Our online learning platform will have a major facelift at the beginning of May. I have played a major part in recommending and customising the new theme. The major benefit is a more mobile friendly platform which allows for an offline attendance of courses in places like Africa where the internet is not always reliable.
  • We had a major antivirus update that required hundreds of reinstalls of the software to the new version. (The AV company changed their deployment strategy.)
  • After talking about setting up a server in Asia for 2 years, we are no longer talking about it. I am completing the setup of our server in Singapore this month. This server will provide faster access to IT services for those living and working in Asia.
  • Migrating all our various source code repositories onto a single Git server. Migrating from SVN, 3rd party Git, and Bazaar to a privately managed server. This will give us a standard solution for all our in-house development.
  • I am now our Carlisle team leader entirely by myself. I had been operating in that role since assuming the role. My co-leader has hardly been physically present as he travels a lot which meant it was mainly my work. Recent changes now have me entirely leading the team. My main tasks are to encourage the spiritual life of the team, build the team and provide a leadership structure for our team here in Carlisle. To that end, I am planning our first team retreat for this autumn in over a decade.

Chrysti's Highlights:

  • Chrysti's pregnancy is going very well. We had 2 appointments at the hospital in Newcastle in the last 3 months; both have shown that baby 'Cocoa' is healthy! I have one more scan booked in May just to check up on things.
  • We had a lovely visit from my mum at the end of March. The children always enjoy when she comes. This time they helped her plant some seeds for our garden. Asher especially enjoyed practising the piano with her (Grandma used to be a music teacher!).
  • We celebrated Asher's 5th birthday and Eva Joy's 3rd birthday while my mum was here. Both celebrations were fun, and Asher and Eva Joy each had a lovely time.
  • The children, my mum and I went on our first 'field trip' to the Life Science Centre in Newcastle. Asher's favourite part was the Lego Exhibit (history told through Lego).
  • At the beginning of March, Chrysti took a personal retreat in Ambleside. It was an opportunity to get away for a day to focus on what God has for me in the coming year.
Prayer Points
  • Pray for continued good health in pregnancy. We praise God for a healthy baby so far!
  • Leon will travel to Belgium for 5 days in May. This will be for the leadership training course that he is taking part in this year.
  • Leon's workload is keeping him busy. While he enjoys all the work, it's challenging to find a balance between work and family life.
Prayer Points

Things they say

It's a regular occurrence to hear our children say something we find funny. The following conversation took place the other day:
(Asher was talking to his spoon at the dinner table)
Leon: "Do you address your spoon now?"
Asher: "No."
Leon: "Do you address Mummy and Daddy?"
Asher: "No, you dress yourselves!"
God Bless,
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