Fifteen years ago, at the Macworld convention, Steve Jobs, then CEO of Apple Inc., unveiled a device that would change the world as we know it. The first iPhone launched in June 2007, and Android devices followed a year later. Thus began the smartphone era. No longer was information or the internet constrained to our homes, offices, workplaces or libraries. You could now carry the world’s knowledge—in your pocket! This amazing marvel truly changed the world.
Fifteen years later, and smartphones have gone from non-existent to a multi-billion-dollar industry. With the internet accessible in your pocket, interconnectivity is endless. From researching your next school paper to limitless streaming of cat videos, smartphones have become a seemingly necessary part of life.
As Seventh-day Adventists, this presents an exciting opportunity. It would appear that every family has at least one smartphone and, consequently, internet access, right? Therefore, we should be able to communicate with everyone on earth, changing the whole world and sharing the gospel through those smartphones. Easy as Apple pie.
Except, well, that is not the reality. We can reach many people this way, but not all. In late 2021, a United Nations agency found that 2.9 billion people—about 37% of the world’s population—have never been on the internet.1 Even if we sent a worldwide message about Jesus’s second coming in every possible language (including those that don’t have a written form) to every device connected to the internet, we could never reach every person solely using technology. Billions would remain as they are—unreached and oblivious to the Savior’s soon return.
Smartphones and other technologies lend themselves to many outreach opportunities. But they can’t finish the work Jesus asked us to do. To reach the unreached, we must go share Jesus with these people in person. This presents a marvelous opportunity for you, similar to Brenden Teal’s experience as a student missionary to the Palawan project from 2014 to 2017.
Brenden worked in the village of Emrang, where only one person was literate at the time, and no one was digitally connected. Emrang now has a church and school with several baptized believers. In fact, ignorance and spiritual darkness would still dominate Emrang if Brenden and others were unwilling to leave the internet, technology and electricity behind.
Not only did this move bring villagers to Christ, but it had a tremendously positive impact on Brenden as well. “Going without the internet as a student missionary allowed me to have the best overseas experience I could ask for. My ministry and personal life improved, being undistracted by idle time-wasting or life [back] home.”
Instead of being preoccupied with the coolest app or latest gadget, why not join one of the most significant movements in Earth’s history—sharing the gospel with every nation, tribe, tongue and people? You, too, have been called. Go and change the world through Him. For Him. For eternity.
Start your journey today by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.