Why Every Missionary Needs a Kindle or Nook

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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:

  1. Weird by Craig Groeschel
  2. (Read Half)The Leadership Challenge by Barry Posner and James Kouzes
  3. Gospel of the Kingdom: Scriptural Studies in the Kingdom of God by George Eldon Ladd
  4. 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.


  1. says

    I need to send this to my wife! I keep saying once we leave the US I really want to have an e-reader. Right now we have other stuff to spend the money on, but I definitely would love one. The prices should be pretty fair in a couple years when we pay off more debt and can seriously start thinking about post-debt plans.


    • says

      Yes. Pay off the debt first. The point of this article was to convince others to buy it for you. Perhaps when you’re getting ready to head overseas someone will buy one for you!

      • says

        My daughter (3rd grade) and I just read the Mississippi book tegother. It was wonderful for both of us. She was diagnosed with dyslexia about 1 week ago and learning more about it helped me to realize why things like reading, spelling, handwriting and math facts and word problems were always so difficult for me. It was a very empowering book. Thank you. We will check out the others too.

  2. says

    I’ve had a Kindle now for about 6-7 months, and I’ve been reading a lot more since I got it. The great thing about it is that it’s so portable and easy to read – you can just throw it in your bag, and you instantly have 20-30 books or more in your bag with you. Add to that the fact that there are a myriad of resources to find and download free books for the Kindle (and other readers) and you really don’t have to buy too many books unless there are specific things you want to read that you can’t find for free. (for example, I had to buy my version of the 1 year bible, couldn’t find that one for free). Since many local libraries here in the states now also lend e-books for Kindles and other readers – you can get recent releases now and check them out for up to two weeks at a time in most cases. I just in the past couple of weeks have checked out and read 3 new release books that I almost bought just a few weeks ago.

    • says

      I really wish we could take advantage of the library borrowing feature. I think that adds a lot more value to the Kindle. I’ve also been amazed at how many free resources are available. Lord willing, having an ereader will make me smarter with all the extra reading I’m doing.

  3. says

    There are huge perks for digital readers for people living overseas or who travel a lot. I am glad to hear that it is helping you out a lot. When I was living in nicaragua, my wife and I brought half a suitcase full of books. I wish kindles/tablets were as popular back then.

    • says

      tonight when we finished, Hey mom you know that could be me. You know reanidg is tough for me, and I have a hard time. I told him I know, but you can do anything you dream of My son’s reply I know mama, and I know I’m not alone. . Your book choked me up as a mom because I see his struggle, but his response left me thinking he will rise above this and he will do great. He also left me blubbering! Thank you for this book and how the story is told he heard he could do this thing called life and come out on top.

  4. says

    The Kindle has changed my life. My girlfriend once quipped that she’d pay $10,000 to have her entire paper library transferred to hers (which she could theoretically do, with plenty of gigabytes to spare.)

    The cheap Kindles go for $79 now, and hold more books than you could read in a lifetime. Best of all, Amazon makes thousands of classics free. Plato and Dumas are even better when you don’t have to pay for them.

    • says

      - LOVE! I really love how it tenrud out SO gorgeous. It totally works and I love the casualness of it. I’ve had a lyric art on my list for months so nice to see someone actually finish one ;)September 19, 2011 1:46 pm

  5. says

    - it looks so good! I have to agree that I think the grunge look works relaly well and is probably even more awesome than if it would have been oh so perfect. it’s perfect in it’s own way!September 19, 2011 3:43 pm

  6. says

    I know this site provides quality dependent content and additional information, is there any
    other web site which gives these things in quality?

  7. says

    I bought the erinte collection of books for my kids, and also for my nephews who live in California. The kids’ ages range from 4-10 yrs. old, and all of them enjoy the books. My kids find the books to be funny and fun to read. My husband and I appreciate the creative way that the books reinforce the Armenian language and culture to our kids. Great initiative by the author to capture in story-form what we as Armenian parents have experienced during our youth. As more and more generations of American-Armenians grow farther away from our foreign-born parents’ customs and rituals, these books allow us to bring the concepts back and share the funny anecdotes with our children so that they can continue to exist in their repetoire of the Armenian culture.

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