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Skype and the accidental missionary

I’ve been meaning to write about Skype. For those of you who many not heard of this service, Skype is a very simple and very easy-to-use Internet phone application that is free if you talk computer to computer (p2p) – provided each computer has Skype installed.

With Skype, I have already enjoyed conversations with people around the globe, including two wrong numbers who called me because I guess I signed early and took a name more popular than I had realized. Here’s an example of Skpe’s ease in the form a delightful distraction from a very nice lady in Ireland. I was having a hard day at work, and believe it or not, the following ‘wrong number’ made my day (please note, somenicelady is not the caller’s actual id):

somenicelady says :11:40:26

hi is that Dean Peters from the US? Don’t know if i have the right person!!

Dean Peters says :11:40:44

well so long as there is only one of me, yes, I’m in the US of A

somenicelady says :11:41:08

are you the Dean Peters i know??

Dean Peters says :11:41:20

I have now way of knowing that from my vantage point.

Dean Peters says :11:41:34

(mind reading capabilities diminished these days)

somenicelady says :11:41:50

do you know SOMENICELADY?

somenicelady says :11:42:03

from Ireland?

Dean Peters says :11:42:15

I dunno, where do you know Dean Peters from?

somenicelady says :11:42:21


somenicelady says :11:42:32

he worked there

Dean Peters says :11:42:43

well, haven’t been to Nicaragua so I guess that’s a negative

somenicelady says :11:43:16

sorry for bothering u…must have the wrong person…there’s another dean peters in the world then!!

Dean Peters says :11:43:27

my evil twin, I’m sure

somenicelady says :11:43:37

haha…thanks anyway!!

Dean Peters says :11:43:42


somenicelady says :11:43:46

the luck of the irish to u!!

Wow, I think tht is the first time I’ve enjoyed/welcomed a wrong number … well actually I didn’t so much mind a similar call from a nice gent in South Africa about a month earlier … but I digress.

As the above exchange exhibits, I’ve been able to use Skype to talk to people all over the World – for no money down. In fact, once my wife finally gets moved down this weekend, I’m going to install Skype on her PDA/Pocket PC so she can talk to other Skype’rs when she’s out having her therapeutic Chai at the local Starbucks … but I digress … again.

My point is simply to point out that regardless of your platform, you now have a way of contacting summer missionaries … well heck any missionary, so long as they have a computer, an internet connection, and Skype.

Hmmm … y’know, I’m wondering how hard it would be to remaster a Knoppix with the Linux version of Skype (in this case the Debian distro) … hmmm ?

Then add some sort of online Bible application … something lightweight from the Sword Project … hmmm.

That way I could buy an old laptop off of E-Bay and equip my missionary friends with several bootable, Bible-enhanced CDs along with a cheap computer complete with a robust and free operating system enhanced with a nice communications suite … that they could leave when the return home? Hmmmmm ….

If I could only find the time to do such geeky things for the Great Commission … hmmmm.


  1. And don’t forget to add a handy Skype-enabled USB Phone for a greater ease of use with a traditional landline feel.

    Well, almost. =)

  2. But how well does Skype work on dial-up connections? Do many missionaries have high speed connections?

  3. I’m a big fan of Skype. I’ve blogged about it a couple times also: Here, Skype & Vonage, and Is Skype Spyware?

  4. Actually many missionarys are lucky to get email the dial up is so unreliable

  5. Used Skype for the first time last week to do user interviews with a guy in Japan. Other than a nasty echo of my own voice that only I seemed to hear it went well. Sound quality was great – better than phone. Almost like talking to a DJ.

    Plan to use it this coming week while on vacation with folks who have broadband but no landline.

  6. There is also another service free world dial-up. check http://www.pulver.com It let you set up a virtual party line, where if you share your line you can use other peoples lines to make calls that would be local to them. I am FWD 616131 if you want to give me a call

  7. I’ve used Skype once so far, but I absolutely loved it! I would also love to use it with a dear friend of mine who is a missionary in Mali, but he has to pay per the minute even for local calls, so while Skype would save him some (and I’ve encouraged him to get it), the cost might still be prohibitive compared to composing email offline, dialing up, quickly sending email, and then hanging up. :(

  8. Dont bother remastering Knoppix. You’ve got to try Kanotix. http://www.kanotix.com It comes with not only Skype installed but also Mozilla Firefox AND Thunderbird… what more can a web developer ask for?! Kanotix is built on Knoppix, so no worries on being lost.

  9. As a missionary, I’ve found Skype very handy to keep in touch with friends and family. Free to talk to those computer-handy, and really cheap to call those who are not connected on their land lines.