Why I'm Part of Hack4Missions

In 2003, as a senior at Valparaiso University, I attended my first Urbana Student Mission Conference. InterVarsity Christian Fellowship was a big part of my college experience and the conference that year really challenged me to consider how I might serve not only my local church, but the global church as well. Although the experience itself was incredible, I was not really sure what God had planned for me.

Today, I’m fortunate to have an incredible family (with two ridiculously fantastic boys), an amazing career that’s taken me on adventures I could never have imagined, and I serve a local church that is thriving and on mission reaching the unchurched.

Through these professional and personal experiences, I’ve had the chance to travel around the globe as well as lead numerous mission trips to Ukraine and help plant a network of churches to reach the Russian speaking world. I’ve seen a shift in the way an entire generation engages with their world, through the use of technology, and I’ve been involved a number of initiatives that have convened people who have wanted to serve others in need and contribute to something bigger than themselves.

However, I knew that God had more planned for me, that he was preparing me for something bigger. The seed he had planted in 2003 still tugs on my heart regularly. When I was asked by InterVarsity to help organize #Hack4Missions at Urbana 15, I finally realized what God had been planning all this time.

Over the past 12 years, while I was helping organize over 700 hackathons around the world, in 100+ countries, visiting the most unexpected places to address the most unpredictable needs, God had been preparing me for what will take place starting at Urbana 15. He patiently shaped me so that I'd be prepared to help lead #Hack4Missions at Urbana 15. I’m thankful to be a part of this inaugural event and am excited to see what God is going to do through this community of servant-hearted, technology-enabled Christian leaders.

Over the past 12 years, while I was helping organize over 700 hackathons around the world, in 100+ countries, visiting the most unexpected places to address the most unpredictable needs, God had been preparing me for what will take place starting at Urbana 15. He patiently shaped me so that I'd be prepared to help lead #Hack4Missions at Urbana 15.

We live in an unprecedented time where technology enables us to connect instantaneously with someone on the complete opposite side of the world. Their problems are now our problems. We can’t ignore what’s happening in a far distant corner of Earth just because we don’t have the money to catch a flight, or time off of work to spend two weeks in a foreign jungle. What it means to be on mission, to serve others, and to be a global church is literally being redefined right in front of us and it’s technology that is making this a reality. There is a huge opportunity to rethink missions, to use technology to change the world, and to collaborate with others who share this mission.

My prayer is that God stirs your heart to join us, that he convenes an unparalleled group of technologists, and that he works in ways that none of us could predict today to bring his glory to the farthest corners of our planet.

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Hey Nick - I'm coming to Urbana, but not to the hack, and bringing a bunch of college students and young couples. I've got a middle aged guy in our church (in the Silicon Valley) who developed some software due to his coding skills, sold his product, and is set for life. He'd like to use his abilities for the Lord, but doesn't know where to plug in. He's done some projects for Wycliffe can't find a niche. Can you connect me to some other "hackathon" type resources for people a bit older than the typical Urbana set? Or should I encourage him to come to Urbana and your session? Thanks!

Hi Kurt, I am working with Nick on Code for the Kingdom, a global hackathon taking place October 2-4 in 14 cities around the globe. codeforthekingdom.org It will be full of a mix of experience levels and ages who work in tech companies big and small. Closest to Bay Area is the LA or Seattle C4TK events. Happy to welcome your friend to the Seattle event as I am part of the organizing team. Best, Diane Hoeft

Hi Kurt, I don't know if your friend has found a place to plug in yet, but our organization may be an alternative. Taylor University's Center for Missions Computing works with missions organizations and Taylor students to create software unique to that organization. The students are currently focused on adding features to software for Tiny Hands International who save women and children from human trafficking on the Nepal/India border. In addition to students, there is one man who is retired who also works on the project. So, perhaps a similar situation to your friend. One of the unique aspects of this project is that it is longer term, students are working on it at least 12 hours per week, and more experienced software developers have an opportunity to mentor students. With today's technology, distance is not a problem. If your friend is interested, he can private message me on Facebook. My name is pretty unique, so finding me there should be no problem. My husband and I may be at Urbana as well. Blessings, Darci

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