Etnopedia News


Hello everyone – In This Issue:
bulletSummary of Ethne09 Research Meetings
bulletPriorities for English Portal / Team Bookshelf
bulletIs it vacation time yet?
bulletThe New Serbian Language Portal

Summary of Ethne09 Research Meetings

The Ethne09 meeting in Colombia was a huge success! I personally was not able to attend but one of the main administrators of Etnopedia was able to go and also present Etnopedia to two workgroups. He told me all about the meeting. I was able to listen to all the Research Strategy Workgroup sessions and the roundtable sessions via We participated in the coordination of the prayer strategy workgroup and the research strategy workgroup. The Etnopedia team’s role in the prayer strategy workgroup is that we have the prayer plan integrated into out project.

See: See the other languages Ethne pages on the left.

Our role in the Research Strategy Workgroup (Called also the Information Strategy Workgroup) was to help coordinate and translate messages for the Spanish-speaking participants. Also give suggestions to the content of the sessions.

I will write a little about the Research (Information) Strategy Workgroup. There were about 50 people on the first day from all over the world. They translated from English into Spanish as a large part of the group was from Latin America. Since there weren’t earphones translation took up half of the time during the sessions. I understand that earphones are expensive but this added to the sessions being more focused on general subjects and shorter on time. I believe these discussions were also chosen because it was a mixed group. Some people just needed to be informed on the unreached focus of Ethne. Each session ended in the roundtable discussions with questions about the information/research effort. I was able to listen to the English speakers from North America’s roundtable. The sessions were all very good and had very good discussion questions.

They are sending an email to have seen each roundtable participant fill out a small summary of his or her thoughts on the questions posed. This will give the group data to anylize.

What I would like to say in summary is this. In all the Information Strategy Workgroup sessions and roundtable discussions about resolving problems between the various and diverse peoples databases, no one mentioned Etnopedia as a solution.

What is even more surprising is that no one even mentioned MediaWiki as a solution (the software that runs Etnopedia). MediaWiki is the most advanced, most sophisticated and development funded research and translation tool in the world. Nothing compares to it. So I am surprised the when questions were raised about how can we work together, no one mentioned MediaWiki as a soluton. Well, except for us. But as far as I know, no one seemed to see Etnopedia as a solution for us all to work together.

I believe that one of the most important parts of finishing the journey of the Great Commission is the roadmap. We need to know where to go. Etnopedia is the only research and translation tool that allows us all to work together and in a multi-language setting. When I say “work together” I don’t mean that we share data just to change it up to fit our own individual databases. I mean really working together, on the same project. This really is the most efficient way to work allowing live collaboration. It also gives the users an up-to-date roadmap.

The roadmap is important and working together is vital. In the missionary endevour, we can do many things separately and with our own ministerial nuances. But in my opinion, the roadmap is probably not one of them. When you want to go on vacation there are a hundred places you can go and even more ways you can get there. But when you buy the roadmap, they are all basically the same. They need to be up-to-date and take you to where you want to go. If they aren’t, you might end up in a different place than you intended.

Another thing that surprised me is that I did not hear anyone mention that we should work together or try to work together.  [ by we, I refer to the all people working on research of unreached peoples — the secular world is doing it on the encyclopedia and has learned to work together on issues ] I need to stress that I did not hear all the roundtable discussions though. It may have come up. I personally think we should work together. We don’t care where it is or what the name is. A few years ago we talked about merging Etnopedia with Joshua Project and I was all for it. It did not happen. But had it happened, we would have had a bigger team and the combined experience. We would have all been working on the most advanced research system available.

We would all have to bend our concepts and definitions to some degree to be able to work together on the same platform, and those concepts and definitions would feel hurt for a while from being bent. But after the pain is gone the missionary movement would be much farther ahead because we are working on the same roadmap together. (The Google Maps developers understand this concept) More importantly there would be one less roadmap on the market and thus we would be leading the people on a much clearer journey to where they need to go; the unreached peoples of the world!

As in all missionary conferences, there is a large amount of networking and encouragement that comes from being in one place with people of like mind. This is always the highlight of large meetings. I love to go to them when I can. Unfortunately the larger the meeting the less time for workgroups and actual problem solving and/or ministry advancement. The real test of the success of the large meeting is afterward when we go back out into the unreached world and do something. So, we either do something more encouraged than we were before the meeting. Or we will do something differently because we learned something new. Or we will do something together and gain the power of the alliance. Let’s pray that all that happened at Ethne09 is energized and pulled along by God so that more peoples are reached as a result.

Priorities for English Portal

The technical team has been discussing what our priority should be during this initial phase of Etnopedia. It isn’t always easy to see what comes next. We know we should continue to upload people profiles in English for translations, but where to begin. We have uploaded almost all the full people profiles and now have about 1,000 profiles lacking some measure of information. We also have new data from field researchers on several countries, but many of these would have little or no profile information. We knew that we would come to this place eventually, but this is one reason that Etnopedia is an open project. So that people can fill in the information where it is lacking.

The team should know that there are many peoples who may not have information about them for a long time. We don’t know how reached they are. We don’t know what languages they speak. They just aren’t classified or even known to exist. Or we just don’t have access to the anthropological journals or other text about them. This is the principal reason that we all need to work together. So we have a new idea called the Team Bookshelf.

Team Bookshelf

We need people profiles books. They give us information about the people. I have been purchasing more books on peoples this year. I have about probably 25 books waiting at my US address for me to pick up in December. When I get time I will post on Etnopedia all the books we have in our office so that the team can see which books we have. Then, the team around the world can also look for ethnic peoples books without buying the same ones we already have.

Is it vacation time yet?

As Etnopedia is an open volunteer project, we don’t set hours or work schedules. Everyone works when and as much as they can. If you need a vacation take one. If you feel the urgency to keep working, let the Lord be your guide. Some may have noticed I have been busy this month. I have taught two courses on ethnic peoples and attended a missionary conference. I even made trips to two unreached people groups. All the while I was ether promoting Etnopedia or gathering data.

The New Serbian Portal

We just finished installing the Serbian language portal yesterday. We also found out how to fix a small technical problem while working on it. We need to pray that our new team members stay encouraged and learn quickly how to use their portal. We have installed portals in the past for people and for some reason they haven’t started. We understand that this is a lot of work and that it requires time and learning. However, it is more simple than one would imagine to translate the people profile. So pray for the new Serbian team. Also pray for the people interested in the Turkish and Russian portals. There are people ready to start; they just need to break through that spiritual barrier. Lets pray for them.

Have a happy holiday! Be blessed in Christ Jesus for all your diligence and know that your labor is not in vain.