Mission IT Consulting

From MissionTechWiki


Mission IT Consulting Trips

What are they

A Mission IT Consulting trip is when an individual or team of computer guys travels overseas to work with one or more mission organizations.

How do they work

Most IT guys, at least until they have a few trips under their belts, prefer to go with a group. The problem with this is that even a small group of IT people will overwhelm a single organization. So it works best to send the IT team to a city or region, and work with multiple organizations.

Many organizations in a large city will have a missions guest house. Usually the team finds a centrally located guest house to base themselves out of and finds transportation to work with the organizations there.

Because the trips are "hit and run", it is very important that the team focus on training the people they are helping out, not just doing the task. With tools, like networkstreaming access desk, a team can continue to do some support even after they have gone. But it is imperative that they plan on not being able to do that. Ongoing support from a distance is always harder than expected.

What does not work

  • It does not work to come un-announced. Always schedule your contacts well in advance.
  • It does not work to assume that everything will work according to plan. You may think that your trip has everything lined up.
    • Usually the missions you are talking to will not know technical terms for what they are asking you about. You may find that what they say is a broken "firewall" is really a broken "file-server." You may also find that their actual needs are much different
    • Missions regularly find themselves double-booked. On a few of the trips that I have attended, one to three of fifteen organizations needed to back out at the last minute.
    • It is just the nature of the trip. Something will happen to keep you hanging onto God. It is a good thing.
  • It does not work to come in, change everything around, and leave. For the trip to be successful, you must spend more time training than just fixing things. With the exception of laptop repair (virus removal, etc.) All server stuff and hardware stuff should go through the IT guy at the mission.
  • Some of the offices overseas are part of a home office in the USA. Make sure there is communication with the home office. Occasionally a new server you go over to set up will be shut back down, simply because the red-tape has not properly been followed.

How do I join one?

Contact an organization, like LightSys, Crosscape Technology in Australia or InTime in the UK & Korea, and see if they have one planned that you can jump in on. Many of these trips are done through a church, and so you may need to ask the third party (the church) if you can join in.

How do I create one?


Finding the location

The destination and organization hosting you is the first main hurdle. If you do not have anyone in mind but want to plan a trip, the best thing to do is to email the ICCM email list, or to work through a group like LightSys. If you have an organization in mind, say your church supports a missionary in Africa you know has computer problems, you can work through your missionary on the field.

Finding the missions

Once you have a location in the country, you need to begin finding the organizations to work with. This is actually a circular process with finding the people below. Your contact in the country will need to know which skills you will be bringing with you, which will come from the people who are going on the trip. Usually you need to "predict" or guess what skills you will be able to get.

Finding the People

Usually this is done through your church or some other community you are part of. You may be able to find more people through sideros, or through contacting one of the organizations listed in "Who do I contact" below.

A team leader is one of the most important parts of the trip. Some of the organizations listed below may be able to provide a team leader for the trip. If you intend to lead your own trip, you may want to take your team leader and send them on someone else's trip as a participant, before your planned one.

Preparing for the trip

Preparation for the trip cannot be described shortly. Every time you go from one country to another, you have culture issues from the two countries. But there are a few things you can do:

  • If you are working through a church, see if they have any pre-trip preparation they normally send their teams through.
  • Otherwise, contact one of the organizations listed below to see if they have some pre-trip materials for you, or if they would be willing to help you prepare the team.

Who do I contact?

Original page: http://www.missiontech.info/wiki/Mission_IT_Consulting
from the MissionTech Wiki created by the International Conference on Computers and Missions

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