After my trip to Africa 3 months ago, I’ve wanted to inform everyone about a large bottleneck that I see in getting Christian media to the remote using mobile technology.
Most missionaries traveling from countless places all over the globe aren’t aware that they can access bibles and other Christian media through mobile devices for free in thousands of languages. Having Christian media available online on various apps does not end our responsibility. Putting it there, but not communicating that it exists does not solve the problem of getting that media to the people that need it. It is blind trust to think that the unreached will find something that they are not looking for.
What They Learned in Uganda
I spoke to a local church person who had just returned from a trip to Uganda. He was so excited about what he’d accomplished there. His team installed poles with solar panels at the top and electric outlets at the bottom. They placed them in remote places so that people could charge their phones easily without having to go into town or pay for batteries.
He said, “We stood by the poles, and the people came to us. While they waited for their phones to charge, we handed them flyers and told them about Jesus.”
“If you had asked me, I would have given you digital Bibles and other Christian media in a dozen languages for Uganda, and you could have downloaded them to their phones while they were charging!”, I told him.
He was completely dumbstruck! The idea had never occurred to him that he could do that!
The local church person wasn’t aware that the technology was available, or that he could get what he needed online before he traveled (He might have also needed a 101 course on how to put an audio file on a mobile, but that’s cheap in the scope of time and money he spent on his trip).
An Additional Bottleneck
Some missionaries may think that Gospel media shouldn’t be distributed right away. In case of people being overwhelmed with what they are reading and learning, who is going to be there to do follow-up? I am reminded that Christian media is left in Laundromats often, with no follow-up other than maybe a phone number or a website to learn more. Christian radio programs air with no follow-up, and Christian book stores sell books without contact with who they sell their books to.
The mobile should be used in a similar way to bring people to knowledge of Christ, as well as used as a tool to teach them after they receive Christ. The mobile starts as the “evangelist,” then transforms into the “teacher,” in a similar manner to radio, TV and now the Internet.
All Missionaries Need to Know
How can we educate missionaries worldwide to take at least audio media in the languages of the places they are traveling to wherever they go, particularly to remote places where the real hunger is?
The reality is that these people may die before a pastor is ever sent to them or a church is ever built. If a remote group of people have no Gospel media translated into their language, there is always the possibility that they understand neighboring languages or their national language. At least, we can be hopeful and prepare for that.
Missionaries must attempt to take whatever they can to the people they are trying to reach and deliver it to them as fast as they can. THIS IS OF FIRST IMPORTANCE. It is far more important than building a school or digging a well. The more time we take to reach people with the word of Jesus, the more of a chance they have to receive Jesus Christ. It is life or death……forever.