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IT-Focused Missions Projects for IT People?

While there’s great value in mission projects that build homes and such, many IT folks would rather use their IT skills in the mission field. For a few years, several of us in the Church IT Roundtable community have discussed how cool it would be to have IT-focused missions projects for IT people. Well, my buddy Clif Guy is turning this into a reality.

Next Friday I’ll be joining Clif and 2 other IT peers to head to Petit Goave, Haiti for 10 days to continue an IT project Clif’s been working on over there for the past year.

The Methodist Church of Haiti (Église Méthodiste d’Haïti or EMH) has a number of facilities in the town of Petit Goave (“petty gwahve”) within 1.5 miles of each other that include a church, school, offices, a medical clinic, a guest house, residences, conference facilities, etc.  Our project is to light up 5 buildings with Wi-Fi and Internet access via building-to-building wireless Ethernet bridges and connecting the network to two Internet circuits with failover capability.  One of these buildings is a school where we are also installing a computer lab as part of another IT project.  On his 3rd trip to Haiti in March, Clif took a small IT team to start this wifi project and got perhaps 25-30% done.  After our upcoming trip, He expects one more trip will be required in late July to complete this particular project.  When finished, more IT teams will be needed in the coming years to assist the EMH with IT needs in the disaster area and throughout Haiti.  Clif is also in the process of procuring grants to fund these future projects.

Why am I going?

1-    Clif sweet talked me into going. He has a very sultry seductive voice! ;-)’
2-    Gain in the field 1st hand knowledge and experience setting up reliable building to building wLAN connectivity in about the worst possible conditions for success. Power issues, ISP issues, satellite issues, environmental issues, lack of IT equipment local (you can’t just run to Best Buy and purchase something you need), etc.
3-    Recon to see if this IT-focused missions work is something we could piggy back/reproduce for Granger’s mission efforts in India and elsewhere.

Cool eh? There are over 600 people that are in some way directly connected to our Church IT Roundtable community. Imagine what could be accomplished if small teams took on various IT projects across the globe to further God’s Kingdom!! 

Interested in being part of a future IT Project?  Next trip to Haiti is tentatively planned for July 22-31 and no you don’t have to be affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Leave a comment below or email Clif for more info.

Haiti tidbits I didn’t realize: Port Au Prince, Haiti is only a 2hr flight from Miami, FL. Haiti stays on Eastern Standard Time year ‘round just like Indiana used to 🙂

I’m very curious (and I know Clif is too) to hear your thoughts pro/con about these IT-Focused mission projects. Why would or wouldn’t you want to join a future IT project?  Are there other IT-focused mission opportunities that you know of?

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Jason Powell is the Director of Information Technology at Granger Community Church where he, 2 staff, and a small team of volunteers manage a network of over 200 computers and 20+ servers. Learn more from Jason about information technology use in the ministry at his blog, Church IT and Other Musings.