Alright, I know we ought to differentiate between needs and wants, and I’m sure a Kindle or Nook doesn’t technically fall under the category of need, but they are very, very nice to have – especially for missionaries.
** The Kindle may be better for people who live overseas. To get books on your Nook if live overseas you’ll need to do one of two things. Either you must ‘root’ your Nook and add a Kindle app (that’s what I did) or you must have someone in the US buy the book from your account and then you can get access to those books overseas. I wanted a touch screen so I got the Nook. However, it looks like Amazon will soon be coming out with a Kindle with a touch screen.
When I first moved to Papua New Guinea, I read a lot. I had just finished my Master’s Degree, and there were so many books I had not read. Right before we moved, I purchased the Libronix Digital Library. I think that mammoth study tool has some 600-900 books on it.
Even so, there were occasions that I wanted a specific resource that I didn’t have.
About six months after arriving in Alotau I was going to teach a class on Acts. There was a particular commentary that I wanted to reference as I studied through Acts, so I got onto Amazon.com and ordered it. The $12 for shipping was painful, but seeing as there isn’t a big Christian bookstore here, I felt my options were limited. If I remember correctly, it took three months for me to get the book. As an interesting side note, the book arrived in the middle of the week before my last class session on Acts.
For the first two years here, I made it my goal to read a new book (ministry oriented – we’re not talking John Grisham here) every month. Each month, I’d select a book that interested me from the Libronix library collection. Eventually, I’d read the books that interested me.
On our next furlough, I bought a box of books at a Christian bookstore when they were going out of business. Even though I got the books at a great price, sending a box of books to PNG was costly. My plan was to read one of those books a month over my next term.
After that, I was done with sending books to PNG. It was simply too costly to continue.
As a result, my reading slowed down to almost nothing.
On our most recent furlough, my wife got a Kindle, and I got a Nook. I originally got the Nook for two main purposes. First, I had several eBooks/PDFs that were blogging and online marketing related. I wanted to be able to take those with me when I was out and about so I could do some reading. Second, I wanted to be able to do some fiction reading, and so I wanted to take advantage of the Amazon free Kindle resources.
Sidenote: I got the Nook and rooted it so that I can have the Kindle App on it and read Kindle books.
Fast forward now to Dallas Fort Worth.
A friend, who is a preacher, was asking me what I’m reading these days. I explained how hard it is to get books in PNG, so I haven’t kept up with theology or ministry related books.
“Don’t you have a Nook?”
Then, it dawned on my mind (that obviously wasn’t doing a good job processing information) that, with a Nook, I can get recently written ministry related books in an instant.
Fast forward to Yesterday.
I was preparing a class on the Kingdom of God. That’s a huge topic, and I was having trouble summarizing it into one concise class. Then, I remembered a book I’d once looked at by George Eldon Ladd. I jumped online, purchased the book in a minute or two, and downloaded it to my Nook in less than a minute (that’s amazing considering the speed of our Internet).
I was able to quickly read through the book and highlight the main points. I ended up with a much better quality class because I had access to that resource.
In the first month of being back, here are the books I’ve had a pleasure to read:
- Weird by Craig Groeschel
- (Read Half)The Leadership Challenge by Barry Posner and James Kouzes
- Gospel of the Kingdom: Scriptural Studies in the Kingdom of God by George Eldon Ladd
- Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense by N.T. Wright
It was at that moment that I concluded that every missionary should have either a Nook or a Kindle. If they don’t have one, it could make a great gift. Consider it a Christmas gift or an investment in their work.
I find that when I’m reading books on ministry, theology, or leadership, I’m spiritually stronger. (Yes, I do read my Bible too :)). That was one element that was really missing in my ministry over the last couple of years.
If you need a good excuse, remember that Christmas is just around the corner.
All Amazon links in this post are affiliate links.