Saturday, April 7, 2012

Signing Up for Texting - An Incredibly Hard Decision

I have been a customer of AT&T for over 11 years. I still remember getting my first cell phone, having to put down the deposit, and carrying this giant brick of a phone around with me. After I got married, I added my wife to my plan. Fortunately, the school district that I teach for has made discounts available, so we were able to go with a bare-bones plan that typically cost us about $70 a month. The catch was that we could only talk. No texting. Any time we received a text message, we were billed for it. Of course, the idea of no texting was extremely strange to the rest of the world. People could not understand why we did not text.

I am about to begin my ministry as a youth pastor and one of the things that I am learning is that teenagers do not make phone calls...ever. They send text messages. With that piece of knowledge, I knew that it was time for me to enter the world of texting. I went to our local AT&T to see about upgrading our phones and adding a text messaging feature to our calling plan. After hearing what it would cost, I dejectedly walked out of the store with no new phones and no text messaging. That afternoon I made a phone call and was able to get the activation fee waived, but our monthly bill was still higher than I wanted it to be.

I spent most of the evening doing some research and came to the realization that it might be time to switch carriers. After looking at all of the available plans, my wife and I have decided to switch to T-Mobile. With this company, we are able to get mobile-to-mobile calling (so we can call each other), plus texting for about $80 a month. It also turns out that my employer has a discount available that gives us an additional 12% off the monthly bill and waives the activation fees (a savings of $70). We are getting new phones and texting and our monthly bill is staying almost what it was before the switch.

It is my understanding that this may not seem like that big of a deal to some folks, but it was a huge thing to me. First, it was a huge deal because it meant the possibility of a larger cell phone bill. My wife and I are doing our very best to decrease the amount of money we spend each month. Second, it was another indication that I am moving closer to my dream and calling of ministry. From talking with some individuals on Facebook, it was made quite clear that texting is vital to having a strong ministry to students. I am just thankful that the Lord provided a way for us to acquire this necessary tool without having to increase our monthly spending too much.

We serve a great God.

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