The iPhone 6 has been out now for many months. I’ve still got an iPhone 5. Actually, I’ve also still got an iPhone 4, sitting in a drawer at the house, totally unused.
Once your contract expires and you upgrade to the latest-and-greatest, what to do with that old phone? I gave one to my mother, once. People hand them down to the kids, often stripped of telephony services, as a platform to play Jetpack Joyride.
Here’s another option for you: Donate it to missionaries and help spread the good news about Jesus to the world.
I need to come up with at least six iPhone 5s by the time of the SBC Annual Meeting in Columbus, OH. At that meeting I’m going to hand them off to an IMB missionary who is going to use them in a team’s work. Oh, yeah, and I need you to unlock them and they can’t be Verizon or Sprint phones (because they have to be GSM phones rather than CDMA phones). I’ll anticipate a few of your questions:
|I’ve got an iPhone 4. Will that work?||I’d like to collect iPhone 5s, not 4s or earlier. Why? Haven’t the missionaries heard the old adage, “Beggars can’t be choosers?” Actually, there’s a good reason. The work that the missionaries are going to be doing with these phones requires attaching peripherals to them. When they released the iPhone 5, Apple changed from the dock connector to the lightning connector interface. To simplify matters (and simplification matters when you’re far off the beaten path), I’d like all of the accessories to be interchangeable. That’s not possible with a mix of iPhone 5s and iPhone 4s. So, I’m looking exclusively for iPhone 5s.|
|How do I “unlock” my phone?||If your contract has expired (usually after you’ve had it for two years), you have the right to unlock your phone. Unlocking your phone means getting your phone company to give your phone permission to be used with another phone company’s network. To unlock an AT&T iPhone, visit this link and fill out the required information, most of which is available in the Settings app on your phone. I’m sure that T-Mobile has a similar procedure. Your phone will be useless overseas if you do not unlock it.|
|What are they going to do with my phone?||Mostly, figure out where they are. The GPS features of your iPhone, especially when augmented by third-party peripherals, make for a pretty powerful location-determining, location-saving device. From trying to map the boundaries of people groups to trying to save the locations of church meeting places, knowing and recording where you have been is a pretty significant recurring need for missionaries.|
|Why don’t they just buy a Garmin?||Many of them already have some sort of a handheld GPS unit, but with a new wave of young missionaries hitting the beachheads, the IMB is starting to have some missionaries with significant coding skills. They’re writing apps to help them with their tasks and to make them more efficient. An iPhone is a programmable platform. Yes, Garmin has an SDK (Software Development Kit), but an iPhone is a better platform for app development.|
So, I’m counting on you guys. When’s the last time you had a chance to take something sitting idle around your house and use it to make a real difference in fulfilling the Great Commission? Who’s in?