Why Every Missionary Needs a Smartphone

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Last month during a brief furlough I took some time to evaluate ministry in the 2016 year and came up with two big ministry goals for 2017.

  1. To disciple three young men in Barrouallie

  2. and develop a real relationship with prayer supporters as well as supporting Churches

now the truth is communication is always a goal of mine, but I would probably give myself a low “C” (and in some cases a high “D”) during 2016.  The problem isn’t that I wasn’t sending email updates.  However those updates weren’t resulting in effective communication.

For me effective communication is a back and forth conversation between two people. My emails did find their way to inboxes, however they rarely resulted in further communication.

At the same time my communication on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram exploded however it wasn’t directly connected to supporting Churches or prayer partners in a specific way (meant for lots of people not just them).

For years missionary have had to choose between an email based relationship with supporters (good for sharing info but difficult to communicate back and forth) and a social-media relationship (great for constant communication but lacks privacy or direct communication).  Thankfully with today’s smartphones you have the best of both worlds.

It’s my personal belief that every Missionary should own a smartphone…not so they can use it as a status symbol, but because it allows them to communicate directly with Churches and supporters from anywhere in the world.

For instance using my smartphone this morning I was able to:

  1. Contact a supporting Church in Virginia to make sure I had their updated contact info
  2. Leave a message on a supporting Churches answering machine
  3. Communicate with my father to make sure the 336 area code number I’m using for communication in SVG works properly
  4. And send text messages to my field-administrator who is currently in Brazil!

I am aware that smartphones are incredibly expensive (especially if you buy them without a contract) but the relationship it develops is worth every penny.

With the Lords help in January 2018  will be able to look at a phone full of text messages from close friends, supporting pastors and Churches.  Messages that share praises, prayer requests, encouragement, helpful advice, and maybe even a confrontation or two.  And in that moment I will be able to thank God for my smartphone.

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