Gaining experience in computer ministry through an interview with Artur Boicu

We live in the world of new technologies. More and more Christians try to use computers to serve God. One of the encouraging examples is Artur Boicu, a leader of ScripTehInfo Computer School. He serves in this ministry from the time of its foundation. Media Faculty students in the International Mission School – Precept Ministries Eurasia took a chance to talk with him and collect information on how to use computers to proclaim the Gospel.

Svetlana Sinyaya: Why did you choose computer ministry?

Artur Boicu: Because I understood that God wants me to do this, and I can be useful to the people through this ministry.

SS: How long does your ministry work for?

AB: It started in 2003.

SS: What does the ScripTehInfo School do?

AB: We teach computer courses. And each course is based on a specific Bible text or specific topic. So we teach computer courses for any levels and any ages.

SS: How can computers be used to proclaim the Gospel?

AB: Computers can be used in two ways: when you teach others how to use them and when you use Internet and computers to create materials that would spread the Gospel. There are two points: to teach computers and evangelize and to make disciples while teaching computer classes. This method is very good to evangelize people because they come to study computers. And most people don’t have such opportunities in their cities or towns. They have to find someone. In many schools, they do not get the training studies, the skills they need to do some kind of work on a computer. They want to find somebody else who can do this. For example, in our country, the teachers from public schools are asked to use computers more and more for their work. And the Ministry of Education does not give them necessary skills. And this is a good opportunity for us to go to different schools and train the teachers how to use computers. And of course, we teach them an Inductive Bible Study during each course. There were many public school teachers who have never opened Bible in their lives until they got to our classes. And during our classes, they started to open Bible, read, study, mark key words, make lists, conclusions, and so on. So I think this is a very good tool. In our country, for example, there is not such a big need in learning English among teachers. For young people, there is also a big demand in learning English.

SS: Who are the teachers and students of this ministry?

AB: The first teacher is Vasile Filat. He is the founder and one who came up with the idea of starting such a school. He compiled the first courses and trained the main teachers within this school. And there are other teachers that we prepared. The first members of the team trained other people. Now they work together with us.

And the students: there are different ages and different categories of people. We teach kids, teenagers, young people and adults. We teach in three languages, but there are also places where our courses are taught in other languages.

SS: What programs or applications do you teach?

AB: We teach mostly open source programs, Microsoft Programs, and different paid programs. We have compiled courses for almost every need, every category of people. The first and basic course is the typing tutor program Scripta. And our Romanian version is the only typing tutorial program in Romanian language. And it is based on the Gospel of Mark. We also have it in Russian and English. So this is the first and the main thing that we teach almost all people because they want people to start typing fast and save time and money, and be efficient in their work. We also have courses on Office Programs like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. And also we have courses on graphic programs like Photoshop, Corel Draw, and others. We also work with open source graphics applications such as GIMP and Inkscape, and others. We have courses on how to shoot videos, edit, make good videos, and make good photos – how to become a good photographer. There are lessons on creating websites and managing them. Also, we have programming courses. These are mostly all courses we have.

We have compiled courses according to the biggest needs of the people around us. We didn’t focus on categories of people who are interested in narrow specialization. We do not teach programs that only few people need to know.  We teach programs that many people want to learn.

SS: How can someone start a computer ministry in their regions, hometowns, country?

AB: They can come and be trained by us. Then they go back to their towns or cities and start the same thing. This is what we already do for several years. We did this in Moldova, Ukraine, and Romania. It is called leaders’ training. This is how they can start the ministry in their towns and cities.

SS: How can people find you on the Internet? Is there a website or Facebook page?

AB: Yes, we have a website: ScripTehInfo is the name of our ministry. It comes from Scriptura Tehnology Information, which is a combination of Romanian words (not English). They can also find us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+, and odnoklassniki, which is a social network for ex-Soviet Union countries as we work in these countries, we are on that network.

SS: As for students at the Media Faculty, what would be a basic course which we can teach in our regions?

AB: You can teach GIMP. Then you would be able to teach video: how to shoot videos, edit them, take photos and edit them in Picasa. There is a high demand in such courses. They are linked to social networking and creating content for websites. Many young people want to study these courses. And mostly, the courses you study here are computer ministry courses, and Media School is the result of it. We just added some disciplines and topics related to journalism. And other things are computer ministry courses. If you want to make disciples through media and computers, best thing you can do is to teach the courses that you study here. And thus you start making disciples: people that would do what you do. And of course, you would have to teach them Bible and what you already know and can do. You raise up your team.

SS: We know that you teach seminars. What other ways do you use?

AB: We teach individually and in groups. We have three computer labs in Moldova, one in Romania, and one in Ukraine. We also have seminars in different locations and do computer camps. This is a good tool. There are also online courses, webinars and web-based groups.

SS: We would like to thank you for your time and for all you taught us in these two months. We learned many new things and will use them in the computer ministry.