Author: Ron Graham
This page reports my voluntary ministry activities for the information of those who take a special interest in my work.
Dear Brethren... This report covers the second quarter of 2016.
During April, May, and June 2016, I presented 18 Sunday lessons in Bundaberg. These included 9 sermons, and 9 Bible class studies. The sermons were a variety for encouragement and teaching. As with last quarter, the class lessons were mostly on the theme of grace and concluded that theme. During the quarter Bundaberg church had a good trickle of visitors.
Susanne and I were away from Bundaberg for two Sundays at the end of May, enjoying a short break in Ballina, 500km south of Childers. On the way we spent a day at the Australian Zoo at Beerwah. On the way home we visited Maleny and enjoyed views of the Glasshouse Mountains. We also enjoyed the days in between, in which we explored Ballina. The weather was lovely. Two days after we got home however, Ballina copped a deluge and wind storms —as did a long stretch of the coast. Over 70mm of rain even came to us at Childers.
At Ballina we were guests of a lovely Christian couple. We worshiped with the church on the two Sundays, and I preached two sermons and two classes for them. The Christians at Ballina are truly genuine and kindly people. It was a happy time, however short, to be in their company.
One evening we attended what we thought was a “concert” at a Christian school with lovely African children singing and dancing. They were raising funds for their projects in Africa. It turned out that it was a religious “service”, including not only the very entertaining and enjoyable singing, but complete with altar call, sinner's prayer, personal witnessing, exhortations to give, and passing buckets for donations. We found it most interesting and a rare opportunity to observe a modern evangelical meeting.
In the quarter, I added five more lesson pages to the new series, “True Grace”. There are now 12 lessons in that series which is now fairly complete.
I also added two new pages of Bible chapters, 1Peter 1 and 2Peter 1. These pages are simply scripture readings. They are my paraphrases, in simple straightforward English, for the benefit of readers who have English as their second or third language.
Susanne has continued maintaining the Facebook pages. The simplybible Facebook page has now exceeded 1000 likes. You can view the page at facebook.com/simplybible
Susanne's own Facebook page of Encouraging Bible Verses has exceeded 6000 likes. You can view the page at facebook.com/bible.verses.4u
Our social media presence, quite apart from the website itself, generates interactions of more than 1000 per month. As for outreach, it is not unusual for a single post to reach 250 people.
We also have accounts with Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and WordPress. I posted to these occasionally, but they are less active than facebook which Susanne maintains.
I've continued the upgrade program for 2016 as described in my last report, in particular the item “adding internal links (cross-linking pages within the website)”. Thirty pages were fully upgraded during the quarter.
During the quarter I fixed “issues” on more than 100 pages to which Bing Webmaster Tools drew my attention. They were mainly titles and synopses that the search engine (Bing) counted as too short or too long. I need to keep Bing happy, because it is stealing some of Google’s “market share”. At present 7% of our pageviews come through Bing.
The figures for page views (total of pages opened by visitors) continued to be high over the quarter: April 133,005; May 132,362; June 116,367 (source Awstats).
That maintains an average per month of more than 125,000 pageviews. The most-used page in the quarter attracted over 12,000 views, and several pages more than 3000.
My main computer, a laptop, was getting very tired and old. Its lid hinge was broken and the lid had to be left up. During its life, the computer was upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 8, and thence to Windows 8.1, and thence to Windows 10. It did not cope well with the latter. My other smaller and newer computer (a Windows 10 notebook) works quite well. However it is too little to use as my main computer, but serves as a portable machine, and at home as a companion to the main one.
Susanne was working with a notebook running Vista. It couldn't be upgraded to Windows 10 and its limitations were growing more obvious as modern technology progresses.
So we were on the lookout for two new computers. We felt that a switch to Apple computers might be the best option, and after careful research that's the way we went. Susanne got a quite powerful Apple notebook. I got a 21.5-inch iMac running OS X El Capitan. In English, that just means the latest Apple Macintosh computer with a medium-sized screen and hardly any cords to get tangled!
I was able to make my little Windows 10 machine have access to the big Apple’s files so the two machines work together quite well and even my smart phone, which is Android, co-operates. These days “mixed platforms” are not much of a problem. There is the advantage that I'm able to view the website on three “platforms” to check its behaviour on each.
Naturally we would like to think that simplybible.com has a substantial outreach in Australia. Let's compare pageviews in Australia with the USA and Great Britain. If we calculate, as a percentage, the ratio of pageviews in thousands over population in millions, we get 35 for Australia, twice that of the USA (16) and three times that of Great Britain (11). Here is a table:
[Pageviews in thousands per month; population in millions]
Because the website is world wide, we rarely are made aware of the results. We can only have faith that teaching the word will bring results. Recently however, a young lady was baptised at Bundaberg, and we were told that this resulted partly from her reading about baptism on the website.
Thank you for keeping on helping me in the Lord’s work and for your confidence in my work, especially the website, by means of which we reach out to many thousands of people. By sharing with me in the ministry you enable things that I could not possibly accomplish on my own.
Love and best wishes in Jesus.