It was a delight to speak with JennyBeth Alford. She's the Curriculum Director for the Transformational Education Network (TEN3). While she currently hails from Texas, she's raising funds to relocate to Zambia.
In her interview, she shares some great perspective on God's character, some stories of His provision, and how God turned a software challenge into a teaching advantage. You'll be inspired by what she did to continue in her calling as a missionary while others threw in the towel. And you'll also discover why it's important for her to move to Zambia.
Life in Ministry
Because of her role in the organization, she has exposure to a variety of disciplines. That's right up her alley because when she went into missions, she wanted to do everything – evangelism, discipleship, and meeting human needs.
Now, while she edits curriculum, she knows she's involved in all of those things because of what she's doing. And her reach is so much further than it would be if she was trying to meet all of those needs directly.
The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
You support my lot.
The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.
Psalm 16:5-6 (NASB)
JennyBeth knew she wanted to go into missions when she completed college. She'd applied to be part of the International Mission Board's conference and was all ready to go. Unfortunately, the conference was cancelled due to lack of funds. So she rescheduled and that one was cancelled too.
Then she was informed that there would be no future conferences.
Many people suggested that maybe it wasn't God's will for her to be a missionary. Some suggested that maybe God only wanted to know if she was willing. But that wasn't what was in her heart.
“NO! This is all I want to do.” — JennyBeth Alford
Rather than throwing in the towel, she persevered. She just knew that she wanted to do missions work and started looking for other ways. Ultimately, it was that search that led her to TEN3, which has been a perfect fit.
After working really hard for over a year on a new curriculum, TEN3 rolled it out. But once people started trying to use it, they complained that their computers kept freezing up.
After looking into the problem, TEN3 discovered that the older computers weren't able to run the version of Linux they'd hoped. So they had to rewrite the entire curriculum to use a different version of Linux.
But something great came out if it: They have the opportunity to use a wider variety of older computers. And once they've completed the training, students know enough about computers to teach themselves how to use other operating systems.
Three Reasons TEN3 uses Open Source Software
- It preserves their integrity while keeping costs down
- It allows them to use a wider variety of computers for training
- It is actually a better teaching tool, giving a stronger understanding of how computers work
JennyBeth is excited about the new basic Office software course they're completing. Not only does it give a solid foundation in using the software, it also presents the Gospel.
We want to equip our African brothers and sisters to use technology for the Kingdom rather than being brainwashed by it.
Significance in the Marketplace
While giving and prayer are always a need, there are so many other ways to be involved.
- Help mobilize others
- Share your own heart and your own story for why you love Jesus so much and want to see His Kingdom around the world
- Teach people about missions
- Gospel Laptop Program
- Nothing. There's something about learning from experience.
Personal Success Habit
- Disciplined prayer.
Shifts in Society
- Ask them into your home
- Do your homework
- Remember that they're eager to learn and meet new people
JennyBeth would immediately start looking around for churches, ministries, and schools as potential partners. Then she would see if the TEN3 Computer Training Outreach was a good fit for them.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’
Matthew [7:21]-23 (NASB)
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