Tag Archives: mpd

Doing a Label Mail Merge on Pages (Mac)

If you are someone who can do a mail merge without wanting to swear at least once, I applaud you. You are a better person than I. This past year I delegated this job to Willy when Prayerletters.ca then Prayerletters.com was not the best option (love them, BTW). We’ve decided to stop using them only because we think it’s become less expensive for us to do it. Also because we’ve found a way to do mail merges on labels super easy.

I used to never manage my MPD addresses using my Address Book app. I had them on TntMPD and then later online at prayerletters.com. Every time I tried to import the .CSV my computer would cough and sneeze and refuse to do it. It just didn’t work. So today I searched the internets for the billionth time finding a work around on a forum. I did. It was very intimidating looking. Very.

This example is for Avery 5163 label sheet: 2″ x 4″ 2 across, 5 down

Change the dimensions to suit other labels.

1. Inspector > Document > Document Margins > 0.5″ top & bottom/0.25″ sides

2. Inspector > Layout > Layout > Columns: 2 > Gutter: 0

3. Click in the top of the left hand column

4. Toolbar > Text Box > Inspector > Metrics > Size > High: 2″ > Width: 4″

5. Inspector > Wrap > Object Placement > Inline > Object Causes Wrap : 2nd icon > Extra Space: 0

6. Inspector > Graphic > Stroke > None

7. Click inside the box Menu > Insert > Merge Field/Sender Field > Select appropriate fields

8. Inspector > Links > Merge > Choose… > browse to Numbers spreadsheet/ drag on Address Book Group

9. Pages generates a multipage document with one label per page

10. Delete all the Section Breaks separating each label on each page:

Menu > Edit > Find > Find… > Advanced > Find: > Insert > Section Break… > Replace: empty > Replace All

The text boxes then stack into place, ten per page in this case.

I was not looking forward to trying this, but I did. I was using an Avery 5160 so I was even more skeptical it would work. IT DID. Like a dream. In the process I found that with my new refurb mac I had no problem importing contacts into Address Book.

And then as I was test printing them, Willy — his first HOURS as a Mac user — said, “Doesn’t it just work like this?” He basically clicked a bunch of contacts in the Address Book and clicked print.


It worked like a dream. Two mail-merge dreams in one day. The Lord does indeed love us.

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prayer and doubt and faith, oh my!

Have you ever found yourself in a place in your spiritual life you never thought you’d go? Had doubts you never ever thought you’d have or questions that you’re flabbergasted you suddenly need the answers to?

A few weeks ago I found myself there in that yucky place void of prayer. It occurred to me that I was avoiding it because I questioned whether God was actually going to do anything about my problems (MPD). I felt stuck and quite convicted of the bad place I was in.

My prayerlessness became even more evident when every sermon I heard, piece of advice I was getting was all about prayer. I became determined to fix my attitude and lack of faith, because it was sin (but probably more because the conviction was really annoying, frankly).

As a part of this process, I wrote my May newsletter on the topic of prayer and how much I needed it in order to complete my MPD in time to be on campus this fall. To be honest, I had a lot of doubt that the newsletter would make a difference. I had a lot of doubt that my supporters actually pray for me (or even really care at all about what I’m doing), and I still have doubt. But boy, am I ever glad I sent that newsletter out.

Suddenly, it’s evident that at least someone is praying. People have been responding by giving even without an ask, and in the last two weeks I’ve seen more support come in than I saw the entire month before that! Seeing this change in my support and seeing God respond to my prayers has been a huge encouragement and given me that desire to pray again. I can see momentum building in a big way.

And yet, I still have pretty large doubts that loom over my heart. Doubts that I will ever finish MPD (even though I have ~10% left to raise!) and doubts that God really cares about my agenda of getting on campus in time. Maybe he doesn’t care that I want this to be OVER! and he has other things planned. Maybe this is all about my recent uncertainty of my own theology & how that relates to God responding to my prayers.

So doubt or no doubt, lack of faith or full of faith, I have not given up on this thing called prayer (which is probably a good thing because I would have probably been fired if I had!).

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Real people, aliens and MPD.

[tweetmeme source=”jesslin”]
Fact: I don’t know how to talk to “real” people. You know, the 30-35+ aged people with jobs, spouses & kids. I just don’t know what to talk about. I can’t do rapport building because I feel like asking about their job is a dumb question because a person is so much more than just their job. If they don’t have kids, I can’t ask about their kids.

And you know what? I think it’s the Internet’s fault. Or maybe more appropriately, my generation’s use of the Internet. We MSN/gchat/facebook (and now increasingly, text) people instead of calling them. Even though I’ve been around “real” people all my life because of church, I’ve never really learned how to get to know them and talk to them. I’m so used to getting to know someone based on something I saw posted on Facebook or their blog or something. How do I get to know a generation who doesn’t really use Facebook or blogs?

This is a huge learning curve when it comes to MPD. Thankfully, after a year on campus I feel so much more equipped to make the calls. After calling people for follow-up, approaching so many people for spiritual conversations, even booking busses for events. I find calling so much easier.

But I still don’t really find talking to people any easier. With people in my generation I talk about music, movies, pop culture in general. But I just don’t share those things with “real” people. I feel like real people are this total other species that speaks a whole other language and has this totally different life that I can’t relate to. How does one connect with aliens?

What’s more, it’s even more difficult knowing that I need to learn to connect with these people or I just flat-out wont get the funding I need to do what I love.

No pressure.

I feel like an awkward teenager trying to be seen as an adult. I’m very nearly 24, but I guess I still don’t feel like I fit into the real world (hence why I don’t feel like I’m a “real” person).

So for you real people out there, how do I connect with you? How do I learn this basic life skill that I obviously seriously lack?

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What does Steve Jobs have to do with Campus Ministry?

“Probably the strongest character trait of Steve Jobs is his absolute lack of fear. While every other CEO in America, it seems, shakes in his boots at the very thought of not having a good next quarter, my experience in knowing Steve Jobs is that, frankly, he could care less about the next quarter. He’s much more focused on the next five years, rather than the next 90 days. But even more than that, it is his quest to change the world, and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish that end even if he risks failure in the process.” (AskTog.com, emphasis mine)

I read this quote yesterday and wondered if this was true of me. Am I focused on the next five years, where I want my life to be, where I want the Montreal campuses to be? Or do I worry about getting through next semester? Or even this summer’s MPD? How would my life & my work be different if I did think like Jobs?

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getting to know you, getting to know all about you

As I’m heading back into full-time MPD/MPM in the next little bit, I did a little blog searching for some tips on some ways I can improve my MPM. I know it’s worth my while to work to keep a supporter, but I also know that 80% of a person’s support generally comes from 20% of the people (or something like that). So it is wiser for me to pay special attention to certain supporters who seem to care more and are really interested in my work.

I found this blog that gives some great tips. One in particular that I found useful was for getting information about your supporters, so you can send them birthday/anniversary cards etc. The author sent out a form for their supporters to fill out and return. Only 25% returned the form. Because of this she did some research:

In one study, a sales company’s response to their form increased significantly when they changed their typical form to a form that reads like a letter (the second example).  Some questions you might want to ask: children’s names, church name, birthdays, anniversaries, phone numbers, times to call, hobbies, place of employment, and definitely prayer requests.

So instead of mailing them out to all your supporters, she also suggests sending out an editable PDF.

However, in the age of Google Forms, I think that makes the most sense & what I’m going to do. I’m now planning to send out an email with the form embedded in the email & also send a small form via snail mail to the people I know are less e-mail friendly or are older and don’t use it at all.

I’ll let you know how it goes. I’m interested to see what percentage actually responds.

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Using Facebook well

The CCC Blogfrence (#cccbf) has been going on these last few days. One conversation in particular has caught my attention. Russ posted about tithing 10% of your campus ministry time online, using facebook etc. At first I didn’t think the concept was that revolutionary to me because I do spend a lot of time on facebook and twitter connecting with students. But what developed in the comments became helpful. The concept of “hot hours” on facebook vs. on campus was a good thing to note.

Then Brian replied on his own blog asking about a conversation that had developed in the comments to Russ’s post in how we use facebook to connect with our financial supporters. This struck a nerve of sorts with me and it really indicates something about how I use social media/networking.

There are certain boundaries around my life that I keep and that is true of my facebook use and whom I accept as friends on facebook. I don’t accept just anyone – I friend people who I am really friends with and who I’m comfortable seeing my phone number and any pictures that are posted of me, or notes that I’m tagged in etc. I still struggle with the fact that facebook is open to the “general public” and not just students or people my age, because somehow I feel it’s strange for me to be connecting with people my parent’s age on facebook. Not only is it strange, I just don’t feel very comfortable allowing them to see all the things I post, the links and the comments. Somehow I find it invasive when someone wants to friend me if they are over 35 (unless they work with me).

I’m not sure why I feel the need to have these boundaries around my life that I have no problem being public information for a certain demographic. Perhaps it’s the discomfort already involved with people who don’t fully understand our job. When people wonder why I’m posting on facebook regularly throughout the day – what they don’t know is that I’m checking it while I’m waiting for a student to show up, or as I’m riding the elevator up to a meeting etc. Maybe I’m afraid to be “judged” by a generation that doesn’t understand the perpetual use of social media by my generation (or maybe just me who uses it perpetually).

So I don’t know if this is weird or an improper view of something that can be used as a “tool”. Perhaps what I need to do is find a way where I can feel comfortable about connecting with supporters on facebook, but making only certain information available to them using  the special profile options. Brian replied to my comment and suggested I make a second facebook profile but, as he said, it’s technically illegal by facebook standards & can get weird (what do you do when a supporter asks you why you have 2 profiles? Do you just say, “Well… I don’t really want you to see every aspect of my life so I keep you in a different zone”?)

I guess what I’m curious to know is, does anyone else get what I’m saying? Does anyone else see where I’m coming from or agree with me? Or does anyone have any suggestions on how to deal with this in a different way?

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