“Love is strong as death. He rose again and gave us eternal breath,” said
one text received by a reporter on April 24, Easter Sunday. On Good Friday,
one text read, “If you have Jesus’ number, call and tell him not to go
Jerusalem. There are people who want to crucify him. I do not have airtime
to call him now.”
“The frequency of the messages sent out has been very high. Looking at the
usage, it is clear the phones have become central to people’s lives,” the Rev.
Maloba Wesoga, a Roman Catholic priest in the Nairobi Archdiocese, told
ENInews on April 25.
The phones are revolutionizing Africa, where nearly 500 million people are
subscribers, according to telecom groups. Many Christians use them to
exchange Bible verses, share sermons and access popular preachers. They can
also send monetary offerings through mobile money transfer services.
This Easter, Christians used the phones creatively and imaginatively,
observed Dave Buchere, a Kenyan government public relations officer who also
serves as secretary of men’s fellowship in a local Pentecostal church. “The
phones are now part of ordinary people’s lives,” he said in a mobile phone
interview with ENInews.
Some Christians here said they received nearly 150 texts over Easter, in a
country where nearly 20 million people (out of a population of 40 million)
are mobile phone subscribers. “We are in the technological age and the
gadgets have wide usage among Christians. Their operation is also simple
compared to computers, which few people have access to,” added Wesoga.
Salome Gathoni, a Christian communications expert, said Christians are able
to access useful services including songs and gospel ringtones. “They
shorten distances and are affordable. It is not a surprise they were used to
announce the crucifixion and resurrection,” said Gathoni.
Many church leaders encourage creative use of the phones, saying they are a
blessing to the church and a good tool for evangelizing.