Dear Apple fanboys and Android fanboys, it’s a heated discussion: which is the superior mobile OS?

In a recent Facebook thread, I was seeking suggestions for a new smart phone after my iPhone went for a dip and drowned in the Andaman Sea. The vocabulary used in some commenter’s posts were telling of the Apple vs. Android war:

“Hated every second.”
“Loved every second!”
“Apple fanboys are venomous.”
“An abundance of crap apps available on Android.”

So here’s my question:

What kind of a phone do missionaries serving among the unreached world in the 10/40 Window deserve? To simplify, we have a few options:

  • iPhone
  • Android
  • Dumb phone (you know, the ones that you need to press a key 24 times to spell the word “MISSIONS”.

Which phone we would gift a missionary with tells a lot about how we regard the global missions endeavor—especially for those working in the final frontier of missions among unreached and unengaged people groups like Within Reach Global.

A while back, I started a ministry called iPhone For A Missionary, where people could donate the smart phones they were no longer using to a missionary in the 10/40 Window. Praise God, we received 4 iPhone 4’s and 2 iPhone 3’s  that we were able to repair and use on the mission field! But recently, the donations have been lackluster as people donated:

  • an iPhone 4 with a shattered screen;
  • a Verizon iPhone 4 without a sim card slot that we are unable to use;
  • 2 dumb phones (Nokia 6310’s) whose oblong designs are barely useful as a paperweight.

I realized that although we have extremely strong opinions about which smart phone is superior, we have a very low priority for empowering missionaries to reach the unreached.

After starting the iPhone For A Missionary Facebook page, someone left these comments:

Which Phone We Would Prefer For A Missionary Tells A Lot About How We Regard The Global Missions Endeavor 002

I thought to myself, “That which costs me nothing is not worthy to be sacrificed.” – King David

Apple fanboys and Android fanboys are passionate about which is the superior mobile operating system. So which one do you think someone reaching the remaining unreached people groups should have?

Or should we just leave missionaries app-less and map-less with their dumb phones?

I personally believe in empowering missionaries with high tech resources, making it easier for them to reach their target people groups.

Here’s what one commenter said:

“I think it’s a good idea [to gives smart phones to missionaries]. Using tools to help spread the word of God is right there in the parable of the talents, make a good return on what your given, more can be accomplished with better tools and translation materials. Think of it as the difference in using a horse or using a car. You pick the car every time, right? Why are you saying, “missionary, all you need is a horse”? He’s not replacing Jesus. He is trying to find ways to spread Jesus most effectively. Almost every Wycliffe translator uses a computer in aiding the translation of the Bible. Are you saying they shouldn’t have a computer, and should go back to just pen and paper? That’s just silly!”

Want to donate a new or used smart phone to a missionary? Head on over to iPhone For A Missionary. (Android fanboys, replace “iPhone” with the name of your preferred smart phone! We can use those too!)

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I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave your comments below.

David Joannes
Founder/President at Within Reach Global
David Joannes is the co-founder and president of Within Reach Global, Inc, which serves the advance of the Gospel in some of Southeast Asia’s most difficult places. He is the author of The Space Between Memories: Recollections from a 21st Century Missionary. David has a love for language, culture, and creative writing, and for the last 20 years, he has witnessed God’s Kingdom established in forgotten parts of the globe. David lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with his wife, Lorna, and their daughter, Cara.
  • I think that tools like iPhones and other smart phones are brilliant for missionaries. With apps like the Jesus movie app and others it can help to equip missionaries to reach people that they would be otherwise unable to.

    I’m sorry that not everyone sees it that way.

    • yea I’m amazed how people are not pro smart phones for missionaries! C’mon, give us the tools we need to create maximum impact! I’ll have to check out the Jesus Movie app. Is it any good? I am looking for a place to download minority languages among unreached peoples.

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