Don’t Lose Your Stuff! Grandpa’s Letter About Backing Up — Jack Popjes

Dear Mica, Kiki, and Ellie,

I’m delighted with the latest stories you sent me! They are getting better all the time. I especially like the drawings that you made to illustrate them. I’m not at all surprised at how good your stories are, after all, you aren’t just any grandkids, you’re my grandkids. 

I’m also glad that you’re each keeping a journal of daily happenings, and how you feel about them, and that you, Ellie, have started keeping a notebook of writing ideas. Way to go! 

You’re so lucky that you can write everything on your laptops! For 30 years, I wrote daily dairies by hand. Then they finally invented laptops and I got one. I packed my diary notebooks in a large plastic bin with a sign on it, In Case of Fire, Grab This Bin and Run! 

That reminds me! Grandma and I worked for more than 20 years in Brazil to translate the Bible into a native language. For the first 15 years, we did all our work on paper, then finally we did it on a computer that we shared with lots of other people. At the end we were getting really scared something might happen to the computer and we would lose 20 years of work. 

Jack PopjesI know you girls love your laptops, but they are only human, I mean, they are made by humans and they aren’t perfect. Someday your laptops will crash. The question is not if they will crash, but when. And laptops can get stolen too. 

Did I ever tell you the sad story of how my laptop was stolen from my motel room? I did, okay then, I won’t have to tell you how I carefully locked my door, and went down the hall for breakfast, and then . . . . Oh! Sorry, I’ll go on with my current story. 

Grandma and I didn’t like being terrified, so we prayed for God to preserve our work. Then, after editing for four hours, I copied everything to a floppy disk (sort of like a CD) and wrote the date and time on it. Grandma took it to a special storage building and put it in a filing cabinet. 

In the meantime, I worked for another four hours, copied everything again, and put that floppy into a safe in the office. 

Then I worked for another four hours and, after copying my work to a floppy, took it home and slept with it under my pillow. I’m not kidding! I slept soundly every night because even if the house burned down, or the office, or the storage building, I would still have two back-up copies. I did that for two whole months until the final document of the Bible was sent to be published.

Backing up was a lot of work, but now it is so easy for you. You can use wireless transfer, or USB data sticks. Which means you can copy all your stories, letters, and notes to a folder and store it on each other’s laptops, or your dad’s desktop computer. 

Of course, one of the easiest and surest ways of backing everything up is to use cloud storage. That’s what I’m using now, and everything gets backed up automatically several times a day. I don’t have to tell you how to do that since you are almost teenagers and already know how to find out anything.

But this is just a little encouragement to actually, really, do back up your stuff. It’s just too good to lose.

Much love from Grandpa

Note to editor about the genre:

For the past ten years I have been writing mostly devotional style blog posts—a personal anecdote, with a scriptural application and action point closing. 

Before that, I wrote long, story-filled, weekly letters to my 7- to 10- year-old grandkids. With this post, I returned to the letter writing genre and aimed it at beginning writers around 12 to 13 years old. 

After writing this post I realized that the letter writing genre lends itself well to sharing personal anecdotes, homey advice, and encouragement. I, therefore, plan to use the letter style occasionally in my personal blog posts, aiming to answer questions about missions that young people often ask.

Wordman logoJack started writing stories for their missionary newsletters during the decades he and his wife were Bible translators in Brazil. For the past twenty years, he has blogged weekly on missions, church, Christian spirituality, and Bible translation. His current blog is INsights & OUTbursts. He has print published three books and e-published two books of story-based articles—all selected from his blogs. His storytelling ability makes him a popular speaker who averages fifty speaking events each year.

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