Ward Mission Program

Discussions around miscellaneous technologies and projects for the general membership.
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mkmurray
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#21

Post by mkmurray »

Yes, I agree a cell phone would be a great next step. However, I feel strongly that it only needs to be a dumbed down local-call-only phone. No fancy PDA's or Smart Phones. There might be some productivity gleaned from that, but I would think not enought to justify the cost expense for the church.

Also, I personally feel that missionaries should not carry around expensive gadgets for a few reasons. You don't want to be a reliable target for theft or robbery. Also, in my opinion, missionaries pulling out expensive PDA's in front of investigators or members in humble cirumstances can accidentally introduce a feeling of distance. I'm not sure how to explain it, but I just don't want people somehow thinking missionaries are well off and better than us. I'm not saying it's a major issue, but I think it could contribute. Again, I hope you get what I'm trying to say and I apologize for the bad explanation.
jeffszone
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#22

Post by jeffszone »

I get what you're saying. What if we were to give them some old Palm III's with the anchient green & black display?

As for the cell phone issue, I don't like the idea of it being restricted to local-only calls. Our ward mission leader has a Salt Lake City cell phone number but lives in Michigan. One of our members has a Lansing phone number on his home VoIP service but lives up here in the thumb. It is increasingly popular for someone to move and just bring their old phone number with them using a cell phone or VoIP service.

What you could do is give the missionaries one of the utra-basic cell phones and program it to only allow calls to numbers in the phone's address book. I've done this before for a friend who had a daughter that was racking up huge cell phone bills. It worked quite well when she discovered she needed a password to dial anybody except her family members.

This issue of course with this is how to get phone numbers into the address book. Missionaries are always encountering new potential investigators. If they can't call them until they see the mission leader then it degrades their ability to setup appointments during the week. That means they'd have to keep their land line phone around in their apartment, and I really don't like the idea of having the church incur two phone bills as a result.

Perhaps what we could do is setup a special phone number that can be dialed from the missionary's cell phone. The phone system could check the call ANI info to ensure the call came from an authorized cell phone, and if so, prompt for them to enter the number of who they wish to call. The phone system could query the membership and referral databases. If the number belongs to a member or an investigator, then the call could go through. If not, it would be blocked.

The mission leader could still have the password to add numbers for the progressing investigators or various members to the address book so those could be dialed directly without the more cumbersome method. But, at least there would be a means to call any investigator back that is put into the existing web-based system or entered by the MTC.

-Jeff
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mkmurray
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#23

Post by mkmurray »

Interesting thoughts...

How would you keep a trunky elder from calling home (or even girlfriend) frequently?
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#24

Post by jeffszone »

mkmurray wrote:Interesting thoughts...

How would you keep a trunky elder from calling home (or even girlfriend) frequently?
The feature I was referring to is in a lot of models of cell phones already. When enabled, you have to enter a password to add numbers to the phone's speed dial list, or to call numbers that are not already in that list.

The "special number" concept I mentioned was aimed to provide a means for Elders to call their new referrals before the mission leader has time to update and add them into the phone's address book. This special phone number (already in the authorized speed dial list) would work kind of like a calling card number, except instead of querying to see if there are enough minutes remaining, it would query the referral database for the mission to determine if the destination phone number is authorized.

Of course, the girl friend back home could go on http://www.mormon.org and add her phone number as a referral for a bogus address in the missionary's area. Hmm... I doubt they would be that cleaver though.

-Jeff
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#25

Post by russellhltn »

mkmurray wrote:Also, in my opinion, missionaries pulling out expensive PDA's in front of investigators or members in humble cirumstances can accidentally introduce a feeling of distance.
Also, I don't think you want investigators knowing they are being tracked as a "prospect". Putting down a name and number and a schedule is fine, but you don't really want them make the rest visible to them.
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tomj
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I'm picturing my younger sister

#26

Post by tomj »

This phone conversation is interesting, because I think this possibility is right around the corner, I agree there are alot of good positive uses, however, I'm picturing my 20year old sister and the way that she uses her cell phone. You can't have a 15 minute conversation with her without being interrupted by at least call from a friend or cohort.

I forsee a lot of problems of abuse/overages even just elders calling investigators and spending 15 minutes finding out about their day, Yes, its good to know they care, but it has a potential to be a lot of wasted time I think.
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mkmurray
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#27

Post by mkmurray »

This thread has wandered from the ward mission program. We should probably redirect any more phone comments to [thread=310]this thread[/thread].
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bhofmann
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#28

Post by bhofmann »

mkmurray wrote:This thread has wandered from the ward mission program. We should probably redirect any more phone comments to [thread=310]this thread[/thread].
Yes, thanks for getting us back on track. I think we should be talking about Tom's cool Ward Mission Program. Is there any feedback from those who have downloaded it?
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WelchTC
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#29

Post by WelchTC »

bhofmann wrote:Yes, thanks for getting us back on track. I think we should be talking about Tom's cool Ward Mission Program. Is there any feedback from those who have downloaded it?
I'm getting ready to upload a new version with the calendering in a much more stable state.

Tom
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#30

Post by jeffszone »

It would be nice if the http://referrals.lds.org/ website had some CSV import/export functionality that could be used as a means of bridging the gap between it and programs such as Tom's.
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