As you know, I have been in the IT field for over 20 years, starting with the Air Force in 1986 and continuing with Protocol Marketing until August of this year. Way back in 1982 while in High School, the Commodore 64 computer got me started with computers/technology, and it has been a challenging and rewarding career since.
The last several years, however, God has been rewiring my heart. I used to have a driving passion to be working on any kind of IT project, solving any type of computer-related problem from a simple desktop computer that wouldn’t print; to a failed RAID element in a production SQL server; to complex projects like the physical relocation of an entire 300-seat call center and its data center with 50 servers, T1’s and all the re-engineering of the network infrastructure. Wow…that stuff used to really fire me up!
So what has changed?
In the fall of 2005, God started to place a burden on my heart for troubled teens and started to work me over with a conviction and a burden to share the Gospel. At first, I had no idea how this would pan out…how He would put things in place for me to go and do the things he was burdening my heart with. I began to lose interest in all the IT gadgetry and projects that had always fired me up. I began to pray and ask God where he wanted me to serve. "I don’t want anything but to glorify you…if it’s here in the IT world, show me – if not, then where do you want me?" I would often feel like a robot at work, merely going through the motions to get things done.
Starting in January of 2006, Dany and I took an eight week course on sharing the Gospel in a winsome, caring and compassionate way, modeled pretty much after the way Jesus shared. Then, in the spring of 2006, Dany was offered a position at Pikes Peak Academy (yes…another one of those Godincidences).
Pikes Peak Academy is a ministry for troubled high school students. It is, for the most part, the last chance any of these kids have to get a high school diploma before entering the world. The student body consists of kids that have been tossed between and out of public schools for any number of reasons, including drug and alcohol use, being social outcasts, fighting, truancy, etc. As we both soon became aware, Pikes Peak Academy is the polar opposite of any school we had ever heard of.
The school operates Monday through Friday from 8 to Noon, and each teacher has about 10 students at a time in his or her classroom. With four academic teachers, there are currently 45 students enrolled. In the afternoon, students are required to hold a job or complete volunteer work. Each student is also assigned a staff Advocate who meets with the student about once a week for counseling, encouragement and even admonishment. Most importantly, however, since Pikes Peak Academy is a private Christian ministry, we are able to share the glorious Gospel whenever a door opens in conversation with any of the kids.
The school principle, Mark, "drafted" me to help with advocating soon after Dany started. As my visits to PPA and away from my IT job had to be short, I often left the school emotionally torn. I didn’t have as much time as I wanted to spend with these kids that so desperately just wanted to be heard and loved on.
In November of 2007, a Pikes Peak Academy teacher gave his notice that he would not be returning after Christmas break. Mark asked me if I might be interested in the position. I paused…and, I’m ashamed to say now, asked what the salary was. It was "only" about 50% what I was making in the IT world…so I let the opportunity pass.
Along comes August 21st, 2008. I was laid off from Protocol Marketing. Remember that prayer from earlier? Surely this was answer to prayer that I should have heard earlier when Mark asked me about the teaching position. I wasn’t devastated from my layoff; I was elated! I was praising God. I went over to the school where Dany said "Hey…why are you here so early? Protocol let you go didn’t they?" We immediately prayed, we were oddly relieved and excited about what was to come next.
The first week I "unplugged" from the grid of life, communication, computers, Internet, radio…everything. I wanted to seek God in quiet solitude. That time "away" was…tough and beautiful (ask me sometime). After that first week, I polished up my resume and began to pound the ground for a new position…but with an utter sense of DREAD at trying to convince a prospective employer that I was the best candidate for a position when my heart was not even 1% into IT anymore.
At the same time, another teaching position in social studies at Pikes Peak Academy opened. Three weeks after being laid off, Mark again approached me about a position. My heart lit up like the Fourth of July. Even the prospect of a huge pay cut excited me. Had I ever really known what it was like to rely on God for provision other than my well-paying IT position?
So, why am I sharing this with you? I am sharing this because I know there are some of you who would be encouraged and blessed by giving to the ministry of Pikes Peak Academy. Like most ministries, PPA relies primarily on the donations of individuals and churches, those whom God moves to help support the mission.
The ministry has asked us to help in raising the financial support necessary to pay the salaries and health insurance for Dany and me. Would you please pray and consider if the Lord is leading you to become a supporter of our family’s new calling? Monthly or one-time gifts are okay. All gifts are tax deductible and should be made payable to Pikes Peak Academy. Please send your gifts to:
Pikes Peak Academy
Attn: Keith and Dany Donaldson
5590 N. Nevada Ave.
Colorado Springs, CO 80918
Please note if your contribution is a one time gift or will be a monthly contribution.
We covet your prayers. It is a comfort to know that you will be praying for the ministry as we take the skills the Lord has given us, and, with great joy, use them to help teens we dearly love and have the opportunity to boldly proclaim Christ’s gospel to.
In Christ’s Love,
Keith Donaldson, FORMER Manager of IT Support
NOW Social Studies Teacher, Pikes Peak Academy
Dany Donaldson, Math Teacher, Pikes Peak Academy
If you want to learn more about the ministry, go to our website at: http://www.PikesPeakAcademy.net.
Who is Jesus? How can I be more like Him?
Working out my salvation with fear and trembling one day, one argument, one verse, one sermon, one sin, one step, one person, one fight, one struggle, one praise, one heart beat AT A TIME.
"If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for." - CH Spurgeon