Here are answers to common questions about using gospel memory cards:
What comes on a memory card?
Many ministries have granted permission for their media to be shared in free-to-copy manner for microSD cards and USB drives. This audio, video and pdf media comes compressed to the right size for memory cards.
This includes mp3 audio, videos in mp4 and 3GP formats, and pdf and other digital text.
For languages spoken by millions of people, typically you can find audio and video about the life of Christ, often a Bible overview resource, and possibly some other Christian films, answers to common questions, and worship videos. Digital text resources may include copies of Bible and Christian ebooks, tracts, curricula as available.
How do people introduce memory cards during conversation with potential recipients?
Some people start conversations talking about something of common interest (work, family, sports). You hear their story of something interesting in their life. Then you look for ways to talk your testimony relating to God or an answered prayer.
Other people start conversations more directly. They introduce what they are (eg.occupation) and say I’m here to talk to people about Jesus. And ask “Would you mind if I talked to you?” Then other person says yes or no. You might ask if they are a spiritual person. If they say yes, ask them to tell you about that part of their life. For those who talk with you, the answers they give often give you permission to go deeper into a topic related to their answer.
When a topic of the conversation relates to a potentially engaging Bible video or image or audio, start to share a story or teaching from the life of Christ. You might even be able to bring out your phone to show a little of the video about Jesus.
If you see that they like it, ask “”Would you like that on YOUR phone?”
If they say yes, then give them a copy of the rest of it onto their phone via microSD cards. The Lord primarily uses your words to both speak and to introduce media or literature that will best engage the hearer, and to invite their response. Then you can ask appropriate follow up questions or discuss their questions.
For those who are not Christian or less enthusiastic, it is better to start giving them less media.. As you close your conversation, specify exactly which media you want them to start watching according to their stage of belief and openness. If appropriate, you might even opt to have them watch that media with you. Either way, let them know you will contact them with specific questions about certain parts of the media. Then advise them to listen to another piece of media. This can be done in person, via text, or by phone call.
What are various ways to distribute gospel media via memory cards?
If you are prepared, you will discover that you actually have multiple ways to freely share these digital resources: Lending, Giving, Loading, and Reimbursement
- Lending: Lending a memory card that is yours. This has the benefit of them potentially returning it to you after they have listened to the media you gave them. This may allow you to ask about what they thought about it. Ideally you will have already pre-loaded microSD cards with their language and give them microSD cards.
- Giving the memory card. In some cases, you know you can not see them again.
- Loading: Copy some or all of the resources onto the space of the internal memory of their phone, or onto their existing microSD card, USB drive, or computer.
- Reimbursement: If the recipient has or can easily get a blank memory card, you can ask them to provide for equivalent blank microSD card to trade for a pre-loaded microSD card. For example, you can pre-purchase these blank cards and allow the recipient to reimburse you at cost.
As you feel comfortable, you can also start an ongoing SMS chat to discuss the media.Or you can arrange for another trusted person to meet with or contact the recipient later to discuss or give more resources.
Are there times where its best to give away the memory card?
You might occasionally run across a person who
1. cannot afford to reimburse any amount
2. you cannot see again
3. shows interest in God and you during your discussion with them, and would probably watch much more.
4. trusts that you care for them personally.
In this case, it may make sense to give away memory cards, funding it all or partly from your own personal money.
Jesus said “Freely you received, so freely give.” Matthew 10:8
If you give them the memory card and you feel safe with that person, exchange phone numbers by sending a text message. If possible, schedule a time to text,call or meet them to get their feedback or answer questions. At that point, you can schedule another time if they are willing.
Make sure they know how to find the media files from the memory card on their phone. Request that when they listen to God’s holy word, that they put the phone in “Airplane mode” to avoid the distraction of calls or notifications.
Are there times where its best to allow reimbursement for memory cards?
You might be a national Christian within a resource-constrained nation. You may have opportunity to interact with larger numbers of people at church or conferences. Or you may already work 6 days a week as a self-employed retailer. In these situations, it is great to be ready to help those who can reimburse for the cost of the card. This may allow you to help many more people. When possible, the cost should be born by the recipient of the card.
The Apostle Paul wrote: “For this is not that others may be eased and you distressed, but for equality.” 2 Corinthians 8:14
You can allow people to use the “Buy a blank and trade method.”
At your counter or table, you want those who come by to notice preloaded gospel resources in their language. You might put up a sign for “Gospel media available in multiple languages”. Or you can display them, like on a wire counter rack that retailers use. Put the card inside a plastic bag or inside the soft plastic sleeve holding a microSD card reader. Hang the bag from the rack. Insert a label in or on the bag with the name of the language of the contents.
You would not directly sell the displayed items with the gospel resources on them, because in most cases this media is licensed to only give away for free. Instead you would sell a blank microSD card of the same size (giving them a copy of the original receipt for that if they wish, marking how much they paid for their quantity), and then offer to exchange their microSD card for a pre-loaded card of their choice at no extra cost. If you provide a receipt,it would only be for the blank microSD card. Its best to also allow recipients to bring their own memory cards to load, if possible.
Some content providers forbid their materials being sold, and this method of selling a blank and then exchanging still allows people to distribute microSD card without draining their own finances.This also models for recipients how they can also distribute in a sustainable manner.
If your financial situation only allows you to help those who can reimburse you, that in itself is an amazing service for others. It brings greater access for more people to God’s Word.
Should I share memory cards with people that I don’t actually talk to?
Usually, no. Though microSD cards can reach people with the gospel, they best reach them if you and other Christians both explain the gospel and ask them for a response. Much of this can be done after they view the media, but texting them to confirm their phone number would be helpful. When we sharing the gospel, you must:
1. prayerfully depend on God.
2. respectfully listen to the other person,
3. understand what they believe,
4. present the gospel appropriately during conversation
5. show them a gospel video while they are there, or send the microSD card with them and then contact them later.
6. invite them to choose to follow Christ.
Introduce the microSD card to them during a conversation about God, and give a brief description of the most important media that you want them to watch.And after they have watched that media on the microSD card, it is also your role to attempt to ask for their response and, as appropriate, invite them to trust in Christ’s salvation and Lordship.
MicroSD cards can provide an engaging presentation of the gospel to people who are somewhat interested, and for them to share it with others. Good evangelistic media can reinforce conversation. It can also give an enquiring person an important point of reference for future conversations. This evangelistic media affects both the listener and others with whom they share it.
Jesus cares about each person, and even for one person. He cares about the poor, the people of every language, of every status. As we present the gospel to them, we should take advantage of microSD cards as this tool to reinforce what we have shared in conversation, to best meets the need of each listener.
Does using memory cards require any planning?
Yes. Being intentional includes preparation. We must prepare to have digital gospel resources in any possible local languages, even at unpredictable opportunities, even when no electricity or internet data plans work.
MicroSD cards allow you to be prepared, if you take the time to load digital gospel resources onto the cards in advance. David prepared for facing Goliath by grabbing five smooth stones. Likewise, you can look for gospel resources in five local languages. Then you can be more ready for whatever doors God opens.
Buy at least a few extra microSD cards to keep with you at all times. Load these cards with appropriate media that you want to share in local languages, especially helpful for those who are not yet Christian. Choose a small set of media files – audio, images, video, etc. – that include media on the life of Christ and ideally foundational stories from the Old Testament.
Should I get other accessories besides memory cards?
Though you can share gospel resources with only memory cards, you might find it helpful to also get these other accessories to help copy files faster and help the recipient to use the media in the way they need..
microSD card readers, or even better, OTG adapter or cable
OTG Dual drives
If you can get one of these, load it with some media relevant to your participants, then let them try using it if time allows.
1. Port USB hub
2. microSD card readers (both 2.0 and 3.0 USB ports)
3. Sample storage cases or satchels for microSD cards
4. Speakers – Look for something with battery recharge ability, for frequent power cuts or taking to locations without power. Preferably, it has an option to link with the cellphone by either bluetooth or 3.5mm audio cable, so that the recipient can use one option if the other is not useable.
6. Earbuds for quiet listening and more secure listening.
If people cannot hear with adequate speakers, the media will be less effective. And if people cannot receive the files quickly enough,fewer people will receive them. If people are coming from a remote area without electricity, then either help them get a portable charging backup, or help them find how to get a solar powered media device.
What containers do people use to store memory cards?
You can store microSD cards in a small container that you keep with you all the time so you are always ready to share. Whether you use an iPhone or any other phone, keeping extra microSD cards with you is a great way for you to be ready to share with non-iPhone users, especially if they are pre-loaded with gospel resources in local languages.
The same stores that sell memory cards can advise you where to purchase hard plastic cases. Or you can search “micro SD plastic case” on Aliexpress or Ebay.
Other storage container options include:
Inside a small envelope labeled according to language
inside an pillbox or Altoids tin
Inside a floss case
taped in a book or gift card– something very inconspicuous).
If you have multiple cards with different languages, you can color code the logo on the microSD card with different color highlighters.
You can also opt to get a person receiving multiple cards a case for 8+ microSD cards – In Ebay, Amazon, or other search engines, search for “Memory Card Storage Holder Box Protector Case” to hold microSD cards. Some are plastic, metal, or vinyl zipped, and range from $2-$12 each. Add labels to identify the language content of each card. This can make it easier to carry.
If you know they will have access to a computer, you may want to make sure they have an adapter, which allows people to add and remove content from the microSD cards on a computer.
Also, make sure to keep microSD card adapters nearby.
Benefits of keeping adapters with you:
- OTG adapters can insert in an Android phone’s microUSB port, which may help you copy media to their phone’s internal memory, to their memory card (without needing to open the back cover of their phone), or to their computer.
- You might discover that the recipient is motivated to share media with others, and if they had one of your adapters, they would be more likely to make copies of the files to other people.
What is difference between memory cards and SIM cards?
Memory cards (ie MicroSD cards) provide a phone with extra storage of media files. This supplementary memory option is similar to how a USB drive provides extra memory storage space for a computer. On the other hand, SIM cards allow the phone to make phone calls, send texts, and send and receive signals from a phone tower.
What are some best practices for recipients to best use their memory cards?
1. put their phone into “Airplane mode” so they do not get distracted by incoming calls or notifications.
2. copy the media on your microSD card to another microSD card or computer as soon as possible, even if it belongs to a friend. This helps you not lose the media if your microSD card or phone get lost.
3. Keep this memory card out of direct sunlight, heat, dust, or moisture.. If moisture does get on it, dry it out thoroughly both inside and out before putting the microSD card inside the phone.
4. avoid touching the gold-colored part of microSD card, because moisture or static electricity from your finger can damage the card.
5. avoid removing the microSD card from phone or adapter while media is being copied onto the card, or while adapter light is on. This could damage the microSD card. Also, do not copy on a phone that is nearly out of battery, because its stopping can in mid course could damage the card.
Do poor people use memory cards?
MicroSD cards are a tool to help you to share the good news of Jesus with the poor and otherwise disconnected via their phones.
MicroSD cards reach those without internet. Some poorer people may own a cell phone even if they do not have the money to receive phone calls or access the internet through their phone. But their phones can play media loaded through a microSD card..
MicroSD cards reach those without smartphones. Poor people often use the smaller feature phones because they cost less money. People also like feature phones because their screens rarely crack and these type of phones keep a charge for even several weeks, unlike smartphones that only keep a charge for a few days or a few hours. In many places, these smaller phones make up the majority of cell phones. MicroSD cards work on nearly all feature phones.
MicroSD cards reach those who speak other languages. You can conveniently fit gospel media in many different local languages on a single microSD card.
MicroSD cards reach those in any village, which often have phone stores and other shops that sell microSD cards.
MicroSD cards reach those who need a backup option when other distribution methods fail or are not yet available.
- Some people struggle to read a Bible portion or tract, but they can enjoy audio or films on their phone.
- Some people do not have internet or stable phone data plans for video streaming or downloads, but they can enjoy digital Bible resources from the microSD card in their phone.
- Many people don’t have DVD players, or CD players, or cable TV.
- Many people cannot access Christian books in their main language.
I notice that on the memory cards that I received, some of the videos are in .3gp format. Why?
Poorer people tend to buy cheaper feature phones from local markets. Some feature phones play mp4 videos like smartphones do, but some of them only play 3gp. If you distribute among areas with more than 20% below poverty line, you may want to include a .3gp version of a few of your videos, in case your recipient or their recipients have a feature phone that does not play mp4 video. Each year, 3gp usage decreases, and mp4 adoption grows. The best way is to learn if this is relevant to your area is to distribute to at least 20-30 phones to get an idea. Video file conversion software (eg. Wondershare) can convert your selected videos to 3gp format. It can also reduce the size of mp4 to a resolution and bitrate size to take up less memory space, but make sure that it displays well on the typical device of your target audience.
How do I prepare to follow up with memory card recipients?
The Apostle Paul is a great model to us in how to intentionally meet people to present the gospel, but also in how to intentionally follow up with people.
“After some days Paul said to Barnabas, ‘Let’s return now and visit our brothers in every city in which we proclaimed the word of the Lord, to see how they are doing.’” (Acts 15:36)
Take some time to write names of those you know who would not only love to listen to content on memory cards, but would be willing to discuss it afterwards.
Prepare gospel memory cards to keep with you to give to people in local languages. Decide how you will keep these few memory cards with you in case you run into someone who needs it.
Look for people who can join you in starting an audio Bible listening group. This will benefit you, and will cause you to promote this for all those who receive memory cards too. Your listening group may also choose to have a private
Whatsapp or Telegram messaging group where more people can share what gospel media they using and sharing. Once recipients decide to follow Christ, you could invite them to this messaging app part of your community too.
Follow up with any memory card recipients.When you give them the digital resources, ask them to text you with their name. Schedule to text, call, or meet with them again in 1-2 days after they have had a chance to watch the media. When you contact them again, then schedule another time. You can also point out interesting parts of various media. Then ask them if they noticed anything interesting from the Bible or Christian media that they received from you.