For most people, Spring Break is a chance to y’know, take a break and get away from work and hopefully go somewhere warm. However, 7 students from Taylor University Computer Science & Engineering Department decided to put what they’ve been learning the past semester to work. Last fall, missions technology organization LightSys put forth the idea of a Code-A-Thon and invited students to do small projects for other various missions organizations in the beautiful location of Colorado. To sweeten the deal, they offered copious amounts of pizza and soda to lure the programmers in. Ashley Crutcher, Andrew Dillon, Eliezer Rodriguez, Paul Nurkkala, Matt Witt, David Nicholls, and Dustin Waldron took the bait and headed out on a 19 hour drive to Colorado Spring, CO. They arrived on Saturday night and had a relaxing Sunday service at Community Church of the Rockies led by Pastor Jay Wright. That afternoon they met with their hosts and rested up for the big week to come.
The students were split up among different projects: Andrew & Eliezer built a mapping/visualization software for Kardia/Centrallix. Paul & Matt completed one project, an iPhone app and began work on an Unreached People Groups Quiz site for the Joshua Project. David, Dustin and Ashley began the redesign process of a Joomla template for BCC Turkey. They were joined by Johnathan Pulos, a Californian professional web developer with a heart for missions.1 The dryness of Colorado made working in the LightSys office interesting; there was extreme static electricity and everyone had fun shocking everyone else. Every day the students were blessed with lunches provided by CCR, Joshua Project, and other friends of the Beeleys. They were also enlightened every morning with devotions or worship before settling back into working on projects.
I was really impacted by the devotional on Monday given by Pete of ICTA. They focus on Spirit-Led Technology or “SLTy” as they call it. The idea that every everything about technology should be surrendered to God and not just bugs or problems I was having with code was new to me. — Ashley
Monday and Tuesday were two full days of work with fun activities planned in the evening as hospitable Taylor alumni and friends in the area hosted the students for dinner. As promised, there was much pizza and soda. Wednesday was ‘Explore Colorado’ day and the students split up into the hikers and adventurers. The adventurers headed out to Monarch Mountain and enjoyed snowboarding and skiing out at the resort. They spent all day out on the slopes and had an amazing time. The hikers decided to try to find the elusive St. Mary’s Falls Trailhead that the previous Code-A-Thon team had been unable to find. Armed with smartphone GPS they were on the right track until they heard “Data Connection Lost” and lost their way. Using an analog map, they ended up going on the Silver Cascades Trail and had an enjoyable time anyway. Thursday it was back to work with a short excursion to the Garden of the Gods in the afternoon. Truly, there is nothing better than eating Chick-fil-A on top of the big rocks at Garden of the Gods. Friday began the wrap up on projects and suddenly the week was over.
I knew that technology played a major role in missions and the spreading of God’s word but working to improve the technology that one of the hundreds of missions organizations uses to spread the word of God has helped me to see that need for technically savvy persons in the missions field is great. -David Nicholls
I truly enjoyed CodAThon! It was a great opportunity and it really helped push the rebuild of our flagship website (kutsalkitap.org) several months down the road and has left me confident we actually can meet my goal of getting this site relaunched (version 3.0 under me) by Nov 2012. The opportunities the internet are providing for meaningful projects that impact places and languages of least reached peoples of the world are remarkable. And collaboration between agencies, missionaries, and local believers are one of the primary keys to seeing the gospel spread and the great commission be completed. –Code-A-Thon project submitter from BCC Turkey
- @paulnurkkala “I”m using placeGeisler now instead of placekitten. I’m having fun stretching him..” #CodeAThon #quotes
- @ashleycrutcher How techies hang out: On their computers in the same room. #CodeAThon
- @ashleycrutcher It’s a little disconcerting when Joomla tells me that I’m not supposed to be somewhere… #CodeAThon
- Dustin: “I’m so happy right now!” David: “Why?” Dustin: “I have no clue! I think it’s the joy of the Lord!” #quotes #CodeAThon
- @paulnurkkala “I’m the best programmer in the world.” #CodeAThon #quotes
- @twitterlessDustin “You are wrong.” @ashleycrutcher “That’s a funny joke.” #CodeAThon #quotes
1. Johnathan is in the process of developing a new missions organization called Missional Digerati. For more information, contact him at Johnathan@missionaldigerati.org.