Wanted: Young men or women who love the Lord, have a testimony of missionary service, are willing to sacrifice, want to dedicate a portion of their life at their own expense, and have a fondness for… technology.
When we think of full-time missionaries, we often have a definite image in mind: conservative dress, modest hair styles, white shirt and tie, and traveling in pairs. We normally don’t see missionaries carrying an iPad to their next meeting, working on lines of code, or testing the latest smartphone app. But this is exactly what Alan Smoot, manager for the LDSTech community, hopes to see more of in the near future.
“Not every young man or woman can serve a mission for various reasons, yet they may still have a desire to contribute their time and talents,” Alan explains. “As a bishop, I had one such young man come to me recently. He was tech-savvy and wanted to serve a mission, but for various reasons, a proselyting mission wasn’t appropriate. He was nevertheless able to contribute by coding.”
Meet Elder Aaron Monson from Lindon, Utah. He recently completed a technology service mission for LDSTech. Growing up, Elder Monson played computer games, as do most kids today. Okay, he played a lot of computer games and was so involved with the games that he wanted to build his own, so he learned how to program. He took some intro to computer programming, information systems, and Java classes at BYU. Elder Monson then took a break from his studies at BYU to serve a mission.
Last April, President Uchtdorf’s talk Waiting on the Road to Damascus inspired me to look for more ways to be a member missionary. In his talk, President Uchtdorf encouraged us to use our hands “to blog and text message the gospel to all the world.”
Because I am shy in social situations but outgoing on the Internet, President Uchtdorf’s suggestion resonated with me, and I decided to put the advice into practice. As another general conference nears, I’d like to make a few notes about my online misssionary progress so far.
I decided to start a blog to record my experiences with the gospel. When I feel moved, I write entries on things that have powerful meaning to me. You can read my blog here.
The only problem with writing on my blog is getting enough publicity. I am not receiving comments on my entries, so I don’t know if anyone is reading it. Still, I have not given up. I announce blog updates to Facebook and Twitter, and have also included a link to my blog on my Facebook and Twitter profiles.
When a new volunteer joins a project, project managers receive an e-mail notification letting them know there’s a new member on the project. The initial role of the volunteer is "observer," and the new volunteer usually waits for some direction from the product manager. During this waiting period, observers usually
are not aware that they can get involved in the project.
are not aware of the opportunities to get involved.
hesitate to get in touch with project leads because they don’t think their skills would be useful to the project.
Although observers do have more permissions -- they can view and comment on issues in JIRA, as well as download source code from Subversion -- volunteers are generally unaware of these autoprovisioned rights, and they tend to wait until invited to act. This period of waiting can extend indefinitely until the project manager reaches out to the observer with a welcome e-mail. Since many observers are too shy to reach out and make contact, it’s essential that product managers reach out and make first contact. Here are four guidelines for effectively welcoming and engaging new volunteers.
The LDSTech Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is a group chat room for anyone involved in the LDSTech community. You can monitor exchanges, post to the group, or talk exclusively to specific users.
All conversations are archived, so people who missed the conversations can review the logs and catch up. Additionally, you can get real-time support from technical leads who are almost always on IRC.
Overall, IRC provides an excellent means of communication for your projects, so if you’re working on a project, get logged in and stay logged in to the LDSTech channel on IRC. For more information on connecting to the #ldstech channel on IRC, see the IRC page on the wiki.
The Church’s Translation Department and the Helping in the Vineyard team have partnered to provide community volunteers with an opportunity to assist in translating Church publications. Helping in the Vineyard seeks to promote community participation in Church projects, and the Translation Department seeks to promote volunteer translation efforts. “The partnership is a perfect fit for what both groups are trying to accomplish,” says Joe Jatip, a Human Resource manager leading the effort.
Leaders have been coordinating with volunteers throughout the world to facilitate a massive translation effort encompassing many different languages. For example, the Teachings of the Living Prophets manual, used by institute students, is currently being translated into 31 different languages.