Saturday, November 20, 2010

I Like Skype (5.0)

Just a quick note to tell my fellow Skype users that I have upgraded to 5.0 and it works great for me. 

This is significant because Skype 4.x never did work good for me.  I had tried it a couple times and wound up reverting back to 3.8.

But so far 5.0 looks like a keeper. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Encouraging News

From a friend (and loyal blog reader) on Sunday:

Wonderful news about your Mom!!  I sure hope she did not suffer consequences from her outing and can enjoy many, many more like it.

Rev. Bill Witt did a very informative and persuasive slide presentation for our church service today about the work of the VOM.  It held the entire church audience spellbound (except for the younger kids). Good information which is NEWS to many.


My reply (today):

Thanks for your prayers for Mom.  She did go and seemed to tolerate it fairly well.  The Sunday School classroom was more stuffy and harder for her.  During the church service, she sat in the foyer of the sanctuary (where she could still hear and see) with one of the big doors open to get fresh air.  This worked well, other than being chilly.  But she was thrilled to be there and does plan to go again.

When they heard about this, my brother’s family (who have desired for many years to have us share a holiday with them) invited us to have Thanksgiving dinner with them.  In the 18 years my brother and his wife have been married, Mom’s health has prevented her from having a holiday with them, outside of one time that they spent New Year’s Day here.  The 2 hours each way will be tough for Mom, but I guess she is getting gutsier in her old age!  (But do keep this trip covered in prayer!)

Thanks for the good report on Bill.  He is indeed a great public speaker.  He is also a good one-on-one encourager/mentor.  He is the one who suggested that I harness my passion for the persecuted church by becoming a VOM Area Representative.  Occasionally now I tease him about what he started!


Monday, November 15, 2010

On Death Row for Jesus

I sent this email to some of my VOM colleagues today and thought you might find it interesting too. 

Hi team,

It is very unusual that at this time there are two Christians in the world with official death sentences awaiting execution.  Normally governments are not so obvious about their evil intentions; this seems to indicate that they are bowing to the pressure of local fundamentalism Muslims.  We hope and pray that both of these death sentences will be overturned by higher courts before they are carried out.  They are good ones to focus on in your presentations and letter writing.  Perhaps God will even use the obvious evil of these rulings to evoke public outcry against the laws that they are based on, and bring about greater freedom for Christians in these countries.  

Asia Bibi in Pakistan:
She is the first woman to be sentenced to die under Pakistan’s blasphemy law.

Youcef Nardarkani in Iran:
This one has an extra twist.  It appears Youcef is apparently a part of a cult known in the US as the Branhamites.  They are as “far out” as Mormons or J.W.’s.  But I’m sure the Iranian government sees him as a Christian.  What happens to him will have repercussions for the true Christians in Iran.  The irony of this situation is that he might die for Christ and yet go to hell.  This underscores the vital need for solid teaching for persecuted Christians.  We tend to think that persecution automatically imparts spiritual strength.  But sometimes, as we can see in 2 Thessalonians and in Hebrews, Satan attacks the church from two directions at once: false teaching from within and persecution from without.  (See for a basic introduction to Branhamism)  My heart goes out to Youcef Nadarkhani.  He is the same age as I am. has contact information for both of these prisoners.

One colleague wrote back to my email:

Thanks for your e-mail.  For IDOP I placed a huge poster board of Asia and Youcef in the hallway of our church saying they were on Death row and a blew up their Prisoner profiles really big.  I did have a few people show interest and one that said he was going to write.  I don't understand how people aren't crowding around the poster looking to see their family on death row and what they can do about it.  Too many people see them as people far away and not our true family.   I know it's in God's hands. I am going to change how I pray for Youcef and ask that he find Jesus through this.  Now I can write him in prison and witness to him.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Door Opener

Hi praying friends,

God has been doing some wonderful things. Keep praying!

First of all, Mom was able to go to the persecuted church conference in Cottonwood last Saturday. Her ankle had been very painful and somewhat swollen for the previous two weeks, but on the morning of the conference when she woke up it was much better. She took that as a sign she should at least try to go. She figured that if the fragrances inside the church building made her sick, she could at least stay out in the car and pray for the conference. However, she was able to stay inside and listen to all of the speakers. It was not because there were no fragrances in the building—I could smell them, the normal combination of perfume, laundry detergent, hand lotion, etc. that most people live in and carry in their clothes all the time, and which seem to be particularly noticeable in church buildings (perhaps because people “dress up” when they come to church?). A friend of hers who is a member of that church and who has the same sort of allergies as Mom gets sick whenever she goes there. I thought perhaps the adrenaline of the moment – the excitement of her being able to be inside a church building, worshipping and listening with other believers for the first time in 10 years -- was simply causing Mom to ignore the symptoms of sickness which normally occur when she is exposed to fragrances. However, she experienced no repercussions from her long exposure to fragrances.

Praise God!

We’re not sure whether this was just a temporary miracle for that one great Saturday, or whether He’s opening the door for her to be physically present with the body of Christ on a more regular basis. But as a sort of test, she’s decided to try going to our own church tomorrow. Pray, OK?

The conference last Saturday was a great blessing in other ways. Over 700 people showed up. I met a local man who shared an interesting testimony with me. As a youth, he went to a Christian college and majored in accounting. He entered the workforce with the specific intention of sharing Jesus on the job, of being an “accounting missionary” if you will. And the Lord did give him many opportunities to evangelize in many different offices. However, over the years he began to lose his boldness. He began to hold his tongue. In retrospect, he says he’d become dependent on his salary and didn’t want to risk losing it. Ironically, God then allowed him to lose his job. Now, the only work he’s been able to find is as a janitor in a public school. He’s still looking. But meanwhile, he is back to sharing the gospel at work without fear. He figures he has nothing to lose now, he’s only a janitor!

One of the speakers was “Fred”, a man from a restricted nation. Apparently Fred’s first language is Arabic and his second language is Spanish. They had a Spanish-speaking woman lined up as an interpreter. But one of the attendees “happened” to be the pastor of an Arabic church. It had not been advertised that Fred would be present at the conference. When the pastor arrived and found out about Fred on the morning of the conference, he offered to translate from Arabic, which would be easier for Fred since that is his heart language. The conference organizer didn’t know the pastor from Adam so he didn’t know how it would work out, but he decided to go ahead and give him a try. He proved to be a fantastic translator, matching Fred’s personality and passion like a twin brother. It was like they were two mouths with one heart.

What's the common element in all these stories?  I think it is that God is the one who opens and closes doors.  This should drive us to seek God's favor more, and men's favor less. 

"...[P]raying...for us as well, that God may open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ" -- Colossians 4:3 (NASB)

The Courageous Living Conference was evidence that this is one prayer God loves to answer!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Biblical Volunteer Management

Hi ______,

I heard you mentioning your plan to provide some training in managing volunteers and staff.  I have something that may be of help to you, which you are welcome to borrow.

When VOM bumped me from being an Area Representative to being an Area Coordinator (overseeing and training other reps) a few years ago, they provided me with a fantastic training course called “High Impact Volunteer Management”.  Honestly, I’ve not had any other training in this field so I had no idea what to expect or what volunteer management involved, but I was afraid it was going to be a bunch of psychobabble imported from the business world, with a few Bible verses tacked on.  

I was pleasantly surprised to dig in to the training and discover that it seems to be thoroughly founded on Scripture.  It is also some of the most “compacted” training I have EVER received.  By that I mean, the whole thing is compressed into one 45 minute DVD and two audio CDs.  About 3 hours of material altogether.  But I found myself repeatedly having to stop the recordings so that I could catch up in writing down important points that the speaker was making.  Very little fluff in the material.  After watching the first part (the DVD) I understood for the first time why the nursery at my church was always short on volunteers. :)  It gave me a solid track to follow in the volunteer management process.  I can also say now with several years of experience using it that it has worked very well.  That is to say, I feel like it has helped VOM attract, screen, train, and develop excellent reps.  (As far as rep skills are concerned, from my experience, I am towards the bottom of the pile.  VOM has some really neat reps.)  One of the HIVM teachings is that anything you do with staff members you can also do with volunteers, if you manage the process right.  Normally people think that because staff people are paid, they will have a higher commitment level than volunteers, but such doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.  

The only bad thing about the HIVM training is how expensive it is.  If you buy it on their web site, it’s $150.  (  VOM provided it to me at no charge, for which I’m thankful (although I hope they got a discount!).  You can buy additional workbooks for $15. 

(But I’m not sure if they have revised the material since I went through it in 2006.  The materials I have may be several generations behind by now?)

There is very little of the material available for free online, but here are a few links that are available.  They will give you a small taste of what it’s like:

In any event, if you would like to borrow the DVD and CDs I have, you are more than welcome to them.

Because of Jesus,

Daniel Bartsch
Area Coordinator (AZ, UT)
Voice Volunteer Network
The Voice of the Martyrs

Monday, November 8, 2010

Preparing for IDOP

From a friend...

Hi, Daniel......

You offered assistance for IDOP for the persecuted church, and I would like to have a list of prayer requests and/or names of people and/or families who are imprisoned and persecuted for sharing Jesus.  Pastor R____ has asked me to put together a presentation for Nov. 14th.  I already ordered the kit and have received it. 

Thank you, Daniel, for your love and dedication to those suffering in so many ways for the cause of Christ!

Love in Christ,

My reply...

Hi L______!

Thanks for your note.  Here are several great resources that might help:  (free, downloadable PowerPoint presentation containing 9 prayer requests from 9 nations)  (free, downloadable list of prisoners with mailing addresses)  A few of the most prominent prisoners, with printable case backgrounds and photos and contact information.

It’s great you have the kit.  It has a lot of good stuff in it.  The DVD this year is quite touching. 

Let me know if you have any questions or need anything else.  May the Lord bless your church as you bless our suffering brothers and sisters!


Since sending this note, VOM has also added a printable bulletin insert to their resources:

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Hidden Generations

Sent this morning to some relatives:

Howdy from Arizona!

Until 3 days ago, the furthest back I knew in our family tree was about 1850.  Then a friend mentioned he was interested in discovering more about his genealogy, so I did a little searching for helpful websites for him.  The last time I had examined the “genealogy world” online, my understanding was that the sites would only give you a little info for free and then you had to pay—something I was not interested in.  (I must have some Scotch blood?)

But this time I discovered that there is a wealth of information available for free.  I now have traced parts of my Bartsch side back as far as 1485, and parts of the Lyons side as far back as 1570!

I am wondering if any of you have done any research on the Lyons/Rester family tree?  If so, I’d love to get the data you’ve collected.  Because there are still some missing gaps that I have not yet been able to fill in.

By the way, the two best websites I’ve found for FREE genealogical data are:

I am also using the free version of a software program called Legacy 7.4, which you can download free here: