It is that time of year again! If you have not heard yet, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were announced by Apple yesterday, and will go on sale next week. For many people, especially here in the United States, this means that it is time to "upgrade" our phones and get the latest model. Or maybe you're an Android user, and are looking to upgrade to the latest and greatest Phablet phone, which is also coming out this month. Technology moves us forward!
Many phone companies, electronic stores, Amazon, and even Apple have started programs where they will buy your old phone from you after you upgrade. Usually, the buyback programs sound great until you hear their "offer" on your smartphone. Others take to sales options like Craigstlist or Ebay to sell their phones, which can work for you, but offer their own set of obstacles to selling your phone by either charging you fees, or forcing you to meet unknown people in parking lots for the "exchange." All of those options work, but let me throw one other option at you...
My wife and I work with a lot of missionary families that live overseas. We have a ministry called Mobiles 4 Missionaries that we started after being with these families overseas. You see, outside of the US, phones (even used) are quite expensive. To give you an idea, an iPhone 3 could go for as much as $400-500 in some countries in SE Asia. A new iPhone, due to exchange rates could cost 30-60% more in other countries, depending on many factors. Our missionaries have many needs met through their sending organization. However, most cannot afford a smart phone due to the initial purchase price.
Here are 5 reasons that why donating your old smartphone can help our missionaries:
1. It helps them stay in touch with FAMILY at home
Through iMessage, FaceTime, and with iOS8 (soon to be released) these missionaries have
the ability to text, video chat, and even make phone calls over a wifi connection without having
to pay for expensive data. Connection to SUPPORT at home is vital to the success of their
2. Smartphones open up a whole range of MINISTRY TOOLS and communication with people
in the area where these missionaries minister.
Group texting, apps for sharing your faith across language barriers, photos of Bible studies and
events, ability to connect to social media at any place and time, etc. All of these things and
more are made possible in a mobile way by the use of a smartphone.
3. Smartphones help SUPPORTERS AT HOME stay up to date on ministry
Missionaries are busy people, just like those of us here in the States. One of their tasks as a
missionary is to keep their supporters at home up to date on what is happening with their
ministry. Having the ability to update web pages, post social media updates, send email, etc.
on the go is a huge help to their ministry.
4. It gives YOU a way to help missionaries DIRECTLY.
Usually, when we give to missions, we put a check in an offering plate and let the church,
mission organization, etc. divide the money up and send it out, as needed. You rarely get to
know where your money is being utilized. With Mobiles 4 Missionaries, you can know that the
phone you donate will go directly towards helping missionary families do their work, wherever
they happen to be located in the world. How cool is that?
5. These gifts ENCOURAGE our missionaries.
It may not sound like much to those of us who live in America, but the simple gift of a solid,
working smartphone is a big deal to these families. Obviously, it meets a need for them, but
there is something more valuable than that. It tells them that there is someone thinking about
them here at home. Caring for them in ways like this just feels good for everyone involved!
In just 18 months of our ministry, we have placed 15-20 phones with missionaries all over the globe. We even sent an iPad to an American pastor/worship leader, working in a Hungarian church in NE Hungary. We take iPhones, iPads, Android phones, Android tablets, etc. We will even take phones/tablets with broken screens, etc. Why? Because even if we do not place a broken phone with a missionary, we are able to sell them for parts, and use that money to purchase other used phones to send out. We also take monetary donations. This is what allowed us to send the iPad to Hungary. We would love your support! And rest assured, we do not keep any of the phones or any of the donations. Everything is used for the ministry.
Here is a link to our ministry's Facebook page: Mobiles 4 Missionaries on Facebook