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FaithWorks of Abilene

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Faith in Others

There are lots of great stories out this week as IBM celebrates its 100 year anniversary. My dad went to work for IBM the year I was born as a Customer Service Engineer. He was a computer repair guy at a time when each computer got its own room and air conditioning system. Walking into a room where a computer “lived” was not quite as cold as walking into a walk-in-refrigerator, but it was definitely a cooler place than where the rest of us lived. Key punched cards were used to communicate with the computer. We used recycled key punch cards as note cards and telephone message pads at our house.

My first computer language class was a key punch class I took at McNeese State University while I was still in high school. My last computer language class was a second-year Cobol Class at Abilene Christian University, at which point I started having conversations with God. If He would allow me to finish that class with a respectable grade, I PROMISED never to write computer code for a living.

I have always used and benefitted from the technology in my life. My first PDA was a Palm that had no version number – it was just a Palm Pilot. As many of us have discovered, where technology was once considered a useful but superfluous tool, now it is a daily, if not hourly requirement for effective functioning. And so, at FaithWorks where we spend most of every day in career development, technical literacy is an important part of what we teach.

Our first computer lab was in the original FaithWorks building on Cypress where we used two tiny former-Sunday-school classrooms and the volunteer went back and forth from room to room repeating the same instructions to each group. Our original computers were donated by Bob Collins with the Isaiah 58 Ministries and were hand-me-downs from a family member’s place of work.

For the first time, we are able to buy new parts (keyboards and flat screen onitors) to go with the bigger and faster CPU’s donated this year. We were also able to upgrade to current operating system software and Microsoft Office Suite software this spring.

We are able to bring our computer lab to current status thanks to the big-hearted individuals who work at Atmos Energy. Every single employee we have had the pleasure to meet, from the very top of that organization on down, has shown us a company run by folks of the most generous sort. Thanks to Hendrick Medical Center Foundation for funds to go shopping with. Thanks to an Abilene family that has helped our students in big ways and in small ways, but who helped us financially finish out this project. We are able to build these machines and install the new software thanks to our volunteer tech team which includes friends like Will Gray and Mike Merritt.

Without benefactors like these organizations and individuals, the effectiveness of FaithWorks in the lives of the people we serve would be greatly diminished. We are blessed to have such great friends in this community.

Happy Birthday IBM.

Happy Fathers Day, dad.

And a giant thank you to all of our gracious supporters!