This year, because Collegedale Academy (CA) students received updated technology, a new purpose needed to be found for the 55 old laptops still in the school’s possession. Each laptop was worth $50, but Michael Peel, CA's IT director, discovered that the computers could provide a benefit to mission fields that is worth far more than $2,750.
When asked why the school chose to give the laptops away rather than sell them, Peel responded, "We believe that the eternal value gotten from them in the mission field will be infinitely more than any amount we might have been paid."
Four of the laptops went to Thailand, where they were distributed by CA alumni, Marianne (Nafie) Krause and Raymond Krause, to missionaries and teachers. While in Thailand, the couple taught a basic computer class to enthusiastic learners, including Thara Timothy, a language teacher, and his wife PawGaDoo.
“Thara Timothy and his wife were very eager to learn even though they thought that they would never own a computer,” Marianne said. They had no idea that they would soon be granted their own laptop. “When we gave them their computer, [PawGaDoo] actually cried. It was such a great experience to give something so life changing to this precious family,” Marianne said. The laptops in Thailand will be used for learning, listening to music and sermons, and communicating with loved ones.
Six more were sent to the Philippines, where pastors use them along with small projectors given to them by their conference. Those pastors plan to host evangelistic meetings in the countryside, and the laptops provide an additional tool that will enhance their presentation of the Word of God. Peel plans to donate more laptops to the Filipino people in the near future.
Some laptops stayed in the Western Hemisphere.
"We sent twenty laptops to a school in Haiti, transported by the Bertus family," Peel said.
According to Nadele Bertus, a high school senior, the laptops were well-received by the Haitian people. The students who received them are ten to twenty-year-olds who take life skills classes, and the laptops provide them with the opportunity to add basic computer skills to their life skills curriculum.
"When my mom arrived in Haiti with the computers, the students were really excited and invited more of their friends to the classes," Bertus said. With these laptops, students will gain knowledge that will assist them in future jobs and will better equip them to present God's word to others. "We want to help the students to become leaders and make a difference in this world," Bertus said.
As for the laptops that remain, Peel promises that they "will be taken on CA's next mission trip" regardless of what the location turns out to be.
1 Peter 4:10 states, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms” (NIV). The act of supplying these mission fields with the laptops, rather than selling them, is a demonstration of the principle of good stewardship. Enabling the Thai, Filipino, and Haitian people to better serve God through these laptops will bring about an everlasting profit.
by Joelle Kanyana, Collegedale Academy senior and editor-in-chief of the Echolier