obtaining good English books on the mission field

Maybe you are wondering how a missionary obtains access to all these great books that SEND U is recommending at www.sendu.org. Most countries in which we work have very limited opportunities to purchase books in English, and basically nothing is available on topics related to professional development of missionaries. So we can order from Amazon, but then we have to pay shipping and wait several weeks or months.

But the problem is bigger than just obtaining a new book on church planting or team leadership. One frequent question I get asked by new missionaries is how I recommend they send their entire libraries to the mission field. My answer to that question these days – leave the paper books at home, and take as much of your library as you can in digital form.

Back in 1987, when we left for the Philippines, we sent all our books in barrels to Manila. Ten years later, we sent them back to Canada, and took a much more limited number of books with us to Russia in our suitcases. We have now moved to Ukraine, and again some of my books have been sent back to stay in storage in Canada. It is just too expensive and difficult to haul my library every time we move to another country.

But my need for books has not diminished over the years. I read far more now than I did in my first term. So how do I access my library. Well, I use Logos as my Bible software, and currently have a 1,044 reference books and Bibles on my computer, all fully searchable through Logos 4. I have a far more extensive library on my notebook than I ever had in books made from trees.

I also want to put in a plug for the Amazon Kindle, an electronic e-reader which I have been using for about a year and a half.  The price has now dropped to $139 for the newest edition with ability to connect to wireless (Wi-Fi) Internet connections.   The cost of books is generally significantly less than paper versions, and the shipping and handling is reduced to zero!   You can carry thousands of books, make annotations and insert bookmarks, and reading the screen is no harder on your eyes than looking at a sheet of paper.   I have seen a number of SEND missionaries with Kindles, so I know I am not the only one to see it as a great invention for missionaries who travel a lot and like to read English books.   And yes, I have 6 different Bibles, including the ESV Study Bible (only $7.99) on my Kindle.

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