The Mormon church has announced plans to issue 32,000 iPad minis to its missionaries by early 2015, ABC News reports. The church hopes that these devices will enable a new generation of social media outreach. That figure represents about 36% of active Mormon missionaries throughout the world (currently around 86,000).
Those 32,000 iPads won’t only be deployed in the United States. The current plan involves rolling the device out in Canada, parts of Europe, and Japan in the same time frame. Missionaries in developed countries will be responsible for the $399 cost of the device, and will get to keep the iPad even after their ministry is finished. Those who can’t afford the price tag will receive help from the church in obtaining their iPads.
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Each tablet will be configured with magazines, Bible apps, and other tools to aid in their ministry. The church is also encouraging members to use social media platforms to reach out. The hope, says the director of the church’s ministry and outreach efforts, is that one device will be able to replace many of the materials missionaries currently use in their day-to-day lives.