Written by Alpha & Omega Community Center

Since 1991, the Alpha & Omega Community Center has provided a wide range of services to assist the Hispanic Community of Lancaster, PA, to become prosperous, contributing members of society. Alpha & Omega Community Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofits organization, with an IRS.
I thought tonight was going to be a quiet evening at home. This would be my wife Laurie’s last night working at the hospital. Tomorrow, she would officially be retired. My regular online student Jesus had cancelled because of travel. Another student who was going to do a makeup class couldn’t make it. Perhaps, I would cook up some rice and beans in my caldero for next week’s lunch. However, earlier in the week, I had arranged with our Computers for Refugees co-founder Timothy Heller to have a chat on Google Meet. Well, our conversation lasted over an hour.
Some background- the Computers for Refugees initiative began in early 2017 when Stu Metzler, Timothy Heller, and I started working together. I was the ESL teacher. Stu and Timothy had the computer skills. Plus, Timothy had a business background.
The three of us would meet early on Saturday mornings once a month at the nearby Laurel Street Mennonite Church for brainstorming sessions. We’d bring coffee and donuts and meet in the lower level of the church.
In those early days, we discussed the purpose and direction of the Computers for Refugees. Timothy worked for the State of Pennsylvania and had special expertise in organizational management. He helped us articulate vision and mission statements. We also had times of prayer and encouragement. We relished the time of camaraderie.
Later, Timothy moved north of Harrisburg to be near his work but still came down to Lancaster for our monthly brainstorming sessions. Then, with busy schedules, we stopped meeting but did have a CFR Retreat in the Fall of 2019 at Timothy’s place in the beautiful woods near the Susquehanna River.
Well, our GOOGLE MEET conversation was like old times on Saturday mornings at Laurel Street. What I appreciate about Timothy are the insightful questions that he asks. He thinks about the big picture as well as the details. It was great. As he asked questions, I also responded with special stories of people that have crossed our paths as well as how the Lord has worked in our midst.
Indeed, we have all dealt with the struggles of the pandemic and the many challenges facing our country and world. Many have given up and are ready to throw in the towel. On the contrary, we at Computers for Refugees have been so grateful for the opportunities to serve our community. Computers for Refugees soon became an integral part of the Alpha and Omega Community. Charlie Kreider came on board to provide technical support.
Although Timothy had moved away from Lancaster, he was always there to offer support and insight. However, as we talked this evening, Timothy is offering to make connections with groups that can expand our resources so we can better serve our community.
Actually, this morning I had received an email from our partner Taylor at the IU13 Refugee Center about a special project at the Jackson Middle School. I was ready to share Taylor’s story and the need for up to 15 laptops for this project. However, I will share more about her project soon.
Meanwhile, I wanted to share about the special evening I had with our friend and colleague Timothy. Thanks for your questions and insights. Indeed, you are an integral part of the Computers for Refugees team as we mobilize for the many opportunities at our doorstep.

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