Reflection on GiveCamp
It’s so amazing how beautiful life with Christ is—how He supplies for needs we have never even labeled. Yet, that’s the extravagantly gracious way He has led us as the dWELLing comes to life.
This part of the story begins with a text from a friend asking if I’d spoken to Amy yet. Amy is a dear friend (and also our family photographer! Check her out at Amy Schilling Photography; her skills are effortlessly and graciously honed). Turns out her husband, Deran, is a Senior Director at a software development consultancy, Headspring. They host an annual event called GiveCamp, during which developers, designers, project managers, writers and more volunteer their talents to help nonprofits complete a technology project that will help fulfill their missions—in just one weekend. My friend (aptly named Hope!) thought we could perhaps apply, and if accepted they could help us build our website! Once I understood the immense value of this event, I scurried to apply as quickly as my little hands could type!
You see, my gracious and talented husband had created a starter website a few weeks earlier, the night before we aired the dream of the dWELLing on KSHN, our local radio station. It was beautiful and filled the purpose of letting us air that we had a website! While his amazing attorney mind has a lot of tech knowledge sharing that space, it is just a hobby for him. There was much work left to be done on building a Content Management System (I only just learned this fancy phrase) that we could manage ourselves, infusing it with our brand, and filling it with content and resources to help us engage our community.
It wasn’t long until we heard back from the Headspring crew and got setup for a phone interview to see if our hopes aligned with their capabilities/mission. I remember Katie and I were so nervous speaking with Deran and Kevin, who’s one of Headspring’s Senior Consultants. Basically, we hoped they would catch our vision, see our hearts for the community, and decide it was worth investing in. And…. they did!!!!
Before we knew it, emails asking questions like “What colors do we like?” and ‘What pages/functions do we need?” began to stream in, slowly at first, like when the ice just starts melting off a mountain in spring. Little did I know the roaring lively stream that it would become on the weekend of the event! They also sent an extensive questionnaire out to help them understand what we are about and how technology will help us further our mission. Under the gifted hands of the writer we would soon get to know, Janine, this questionnaire became an article that launched just prior to the weekend event. It definitely served to stir our appetite for how their gifts could help us actualize our dream! And helped us realize and enumerate how technology will be such a vital part of helping the dWELLing succeed!
I remember the Friday evening that the actual GiveCamp launched. My team gathered nervously around my dining table for the virtual online meeting. My priest, who had been in the Holy Land for much of the pre-game communications, nervously looked at me about halfway through the launch; he could tell just by the size and extensive knowledge of the team that this was going to be a very valuable (Insert: expensive!) endeavor. He whispered to me anxiously, “How much is this costing us??” And it was such pure joy to respond, “Nothing!” And to get to share his surprise at the magnitude of this gift. At the risk of sounding like a clanging gong, my heart again resounds with thanksgiving for the magnitude of God’s love and provision! We have given this project to Him from the start. Let me rephrase: the vision is His that He was gracious enough to share with us! And He has been ever-faithful in walking it through in every detail.
I digress! Back to the story. Little, let me repeat, little did I know what a start gun was virtually fired at the end of that launch meeting! We had all met one another and learned our respective roles, downloaded the appropriate apps to help us manage the process for the weekend, and the minute we said good-bye was the minute that slow trickle began to develop into a roaring stream. And it was otherworldly to watch, from the eyes of this less-than-tech-savvy soul! Questions, answers, tasks, delegations, foreign terms were flying around like serving bowls at a gloriously reunited large family dinner table! I soon realized my main task was just to look out for my name, as questions like, “What is your contact info?” and “Do you have any articles or links for this page?” flew past. My phone and its magical apps hardly left my side over the next 36 hrs as I fielded questions to my team as they arose. And much like watching Bob Ross on the painting show, over the course of the weekend this work of art that is now our website emerged!!
But the gift didn’t stop there! Our team gathered the following Wednesday in my living room as Deran came in person for the “handoff,” Headspring “swag” in hand (stellar shirts we are proudly sporting!). He patiently walked us through how to navigate this beautiful vehicle from here. I’m not sure if he saw the slight look of terror in my eyes as I thought: this is it! As I try to describe the feeling of having this immense gift and having so little experience in the website upkeep, it was somewhat akin to walking out of the hospital with your newborn thinking, “who thought I was ready or prepared for this?!!” Then, nearly as if my terror itself birthed the next words of comfort, Deran adds that he and another GiveCamp volunteer are in the process of setting up their own nonprofit with the sole aim of helping nonprofits fulfill their visions by tackling the huge technology gaps that exist in the sector!! It’s named carryatowel.org, and it kind of felt like the promise of rain when I thought we were headed into a dry season!!
We realized throughout this process that the website will truly be the hub for engaging with our community: It’s where we post events, share links to our podcast (The Liberty HopeCast : stay tuned!), where we share our hearts, hopes, dreams, and hopefully inspire people with similar visions. It’s where we connect digitally in order to plant the seed that we pray grows into true, real connection and community.
It was truly amazing to be a part of the GiveCamp experience. I am still beside myself in awe that these individuals would take an entire weekend of their lives to give to us. I have no idea if GiveCamp is built on the tenants of my faith, but truly: that is love. To give of one’s life for another. And I love that this infusion of their talents and time gives to the dWELLing the very thing we hope to pour out from it. Our hearts long to look into the community, to see what is needed, and to see how our gifts and talents can supply that need. To look into the community and see what immense talents and gifts are hiding out there! To draw upon those, and meet someone else’s need. To create this beautiful exchange. Where my supply meets your need, and your supply mine. To see this flow down, like the beautiful river of talents that created thedWELLing.life for us.
So we invite you. Come dream with us. Come dwell with us. Dare to see how God truly gives so much more than we can ever ask or imagine.
– Mary E. Poston
Back in 2006, Alexis Cordova received a key to St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, where she connected with Father Ted and began fostering connections within Liberty.read more
The connections and relationships that have flowed through and into the dWELLing are so beautiful—I find myself having to sit back and reflect in gratitude upon all of them.read more
Let’s create connections
Community is about connection and in order for the dWELLing to thrive, we need to make sure we’re reaching out and listening to the people who matter (that’s you). So if you’re interested in joining us on this journey, or just offering up some ideas, we love to hear from you.
We starts with Me, and Us starts with “Hi!” Say hello:
The dWELLing would not be possible without the tremendous support we’ve received from our community, sponsors, and friends:
- St Stephens Episcopal Church
- Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office
- Firm Foundations Healthcare Clinic
- Smart Materials, Inc
- Cornerstone Church
- Liberty Lions Club
- Community Alliance
- First Methodist Church Liberty
- Liberty 4-H
- Pathways Church, Dayton
- Trinity River Baptist Association