When I was the director of communications for Lausanne II in Manila, we didn’t have any problems with wireless internet connections or with broadband connections for instant delivery of video. No, widespread use of the Internet was merely a gleam in Al Gore’s mind back then. But today, at Cape Town 2010, many people and planned programs are relying on fast, robust connections.
According to the onsite Tech Squad, Cape Town 2010 is using twice as much bandwidth than any gathering in the history of the Cape Town International Convention Center, and more bandwidth than was used during the World Cup games.
In addition to the 4,000 on-site participants from 197 countries, the Congress extends to an anticipated 100,000 individuals at nearly 700 GlobaLink sites in more than 95 countries worldwide. GlobaLink allows users to download videos from the Congress — in a number of different formats and languages — along with a synopsis and study questions, allowing them to hear voices from around the globe challenging the Church in the 21st century.
Those GlobaLink sites were to be served by the Internet – but the IT infrastructue of the Congress was hit by a cyber attack. Millions of malicious attacks coming from several locations plus a virus brought the Internet throughput to a stand still.
In God’s providence, two cousins from Bangalore, India were attending the Congress as volunteers in the IT department. They were intending to simply hook up computers and other basic IT tasks, but when word of the problem reached them, they revealed they had a unique expertise in the exact problems the Congress was experiencing. They were the individuals God used to shut down the attack and bring the system back up to full speed. Now all GlobaLink sites are getting the feed as planned.
Pretty cool, huh? Two humble guys (one working at a major international IT firm, and the other with a doctorate in computational biology) were willing to volunteer to do the mundane, but God had them in place to do a great service at a time of great need. It’s like the boy with the bread and fish, give what you have to the Lord and see what He will do with it.
PS: I finished today’s video report – it’s on reconciliation (in the context of South Africa) I’ll have it posted for you tomorrow.