Brad drives an hour from the closest paved road to his village of 2,000 people. His refrigerator runs on kerosene, he collects rainwater for drinking, and he uses solar panels to provide electricity. When asked how far he has to drive to get mobile phone coverage, he replies, “Oh, we have coverage at the house.”
A missionary teaching Bible classes in the poorest areas of Nairobi, Kenya tells of his students’ daily struggle to feed themselves. But almost every student has a mobile phone. They need them to get work.
Since 1994, Kay and I have pioneered internet technologies to help people understand God’s love for them and to help believers grow in their faith. We now have an amazing opportunity to help pioneer in the use of mobile technologies.
In many parts of the world, mobile phones are leapfrogging traditional internet connections. The U.N. recently reported that one-fourth of the global population use the internet, but more than half use a mobile phone. Text messaging is used everywhere.
Mobile phones are a convenience for us in the U.S and other developed countries. But for people like Brad in Tanzania, mobile phones solve the problem of the last mile: the final leg of delivering connectivity from a communications provider to a customer.
We are excited to partner with a public university to develop a solution to the last mile. The university team is developing the technology. Campus Crusade for Christ’s Nairobi International School of Theology is developing the course material. Our Global Technology Office is helping organize a trial project in East Africa. The trial project will involve completing a class entirely through using a mobile phone and text messaging.
Kay and I will be in Manila, Philippines in mid-March to explain this opportunity to the International Leadership Consortium which gives leadership to all Campus Crusade’s 12 schools of theology. These leaders are very interested in the mLearning project.
How have you seen mobile phones used in discipleship?
Interesting post, I enjoyed it.
For me, stateside, text messaging has really helped just stay in contact with guys that i’m working with on a discipleship level and with friends whom sharpen each other. It’s not always easy to drop what we’re doing and make a 10-15 minute phone call, but it’s easy to send a text and say “how’s ____ working out for you?” or “hey, need any prayer?” Its true we can’t get into deep conversations this way, but it helps us know a) that someone is thinking about us and praying for us, and b) gives us a chance to get something out in the open that we can talk about next time around.
Of course… one of your sons (*cough*jon*cough) still won’t put a txt package on his cell phone, but oh well.