REFLECTIONS FROM THE TECH TEAM

Howard, Technical Product Leader

I found the local entrepreneurs to be bright and engaging people, super eager to learn. Several participants and volunteers asked why we took vacation and paid our way to be there. We shared that we are Christians, and had the opportunity to explain what was important in our lives.

Impressions

Sometimes we need to leave the U.S. to realize how privileged we are. It is so easy to take for granted the clean environment, convenient transportation, stable government, robust economy, and resourceful educational system that we enjoy.

To people in many other countries, the U.S. is still a beacon of hope and a force for good.

There is an aura associated with professionals from the Silicon Valley, as if we know so much. Obviously this is only perception. But it is good to use it for God’s purposes.

Cross-cultural outreach built around business consulting provides common ground for bonding with Muslim professionals without either of us raising our guard.  It’s wonderful.

Back home, it is easy to talk to neighbors and co-workers about going on a trip to help startups in a developing country. Their eyes would light up immediately, and we can share more.

Takeaways

Through the trip, I rediscovered the joy of serving others. It is so worthwhile to invest a small part of my life into these young entrepreneurs and know that some of them, if not all, will in turn help others and pay it forward. I really enjoy the service component of this missions trip, and will do it again.

As a Christian in the developed world, it is easy to become self-absorbed. It is easy to care more about my security than about people. It is easy to care more about tech gadgets than about people. It is easy to care about mindless Trump tweets, and equally silly media responses than about people. Yet in His heart, God cares about the people of this world, that they may come to know Him.

Kyle, Software Engineer

I have gone on many short-term missions trips in the past. I would leave my professional life behind when I boarded the plane to go overseas to share the gospel. Work is work, ministry is ministry. There is a clear separation between the two.  

But this mission trip is different. I actually got to use what I know and do in my professional life to bless others. It’s exciting. My work and my ministry came together in a holistic way. I could love people by sharing my IT skills and knowledge. I could guide them, counsel and encourage them, and give people hope. 

Larry, Engineering Manager

Because of the media, we tend to think of going to Muslim countries as a risky proposition. And being a Christian there seems like an added liability. But in the country we visited? Not so. Knowing that we came from America, the entrepreneurs we met basically assumed we would be Christian. And because we were volunteering our services, they welcomed us from the start.  They were very hospitable and open.

A Different Reality

After I came home, I received a message from a young woman that I mentored. She wrote: “In most parts of the world, young people dream and think about new ways to do things, something out of the box—a new language, a different haircut, a new dance move and new technology tricks...

“And then there are the youth in my hometown. They think about new ways to go home, safely. But there is absolutely no guarantee." 

“My mom called me the other day and said, ‘Sweetheart, don’t come home. Find a job somewhere else. I’ll miss you, but I know you’ll be fine in another country. I don’t want to see your graduation photo in social media with condolences written beside it.’

“Recently, bombs and violence in my country took many lives. They included children, women, newlyweds, and young grads.  With what confidence can I dream?”