On Friday morning as I sat down with some Mozambican church leaders, I noticed that everyone was staring at two cell phones laying side-by-side on the table. “What’s going on?” I asked. In amazement, I listened as a subsistence farmer with little formal education explained in Makua how he was transferring the ‘Jesus Film’ from his phone to another church leader’s phone via Bluetooth. “Wow,” I thought, “I don’t even know how to do that.”
Earlier this year, I listened with amazement to recordings that a different church leader had made of himself teaching from the Bible on his cell phone. He’d found that people in his village liked to listen to them. So, I copied them onto my computer in order to share them with other church leaders.
It’s amazing how quickly new technology catches on!
Cell phone usage in northern Mozambique has exploded. A new cellular service provider moved in a couple years ago and set up towers all over Cabo Delgado. Now almost all of the villages we routinely work in have coverage. More and more of our friends are buying phones and our contact lists are filling up with new numbers.
While being “connected” and available all the time has created some new challenges – some of our Mozambican friends like to call at 5 am (!) - it also has created some new opportunities for influence and ministry.
A few months ago, on a Sunday morning I had a few minutes to myself in the village of Newara and tried an experiment. I sent a short text message to about 20 church leaders just letting them know that I was thinking about them and praying for the churches they serve. I was pleased to get a number of messages back thanking me for the greeting and saying how they had passed it on to the body of Christ.
That got me thinking.
Most of the church leaders we work with have little Bible training. Some weeks they say they just don’t know what to preach.
What if I sent them a text message with a Text they could share with their church?
So for the past few months I have continued my experiment. Early Sunday morning I use my phone to send text messages to about 50 or so church leaders. It’s a text with a Text from scripture along with a potential application for the church. Not all of my friends will receive it, of course. A number of phones are turned off because of dead batteries. Some of them probably ignore the message. But, every week I hear back from about 10 of them.
They tell me how preaching from that text’s Text was received by their congregation.
They tell me how it spoke to a situation that they’re dealing with.
One leader told me that through the previous week’s text he felt challenged by God to plant another church in a nearby neighborhood.
Sending the text messages is a small thing. It costs me almost nothing. And it’s an idea that’s certainly not original to me.
But even small efforts, seemingly inconsequential things, can contribute to something that will last.
“So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” - Isaiah 55:11
May God use whatever technology is at our disposal to help further His Kingdom!
Grace and Peace,