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Meet the Department: Tom Hallman

Posted by Tom Hallman at Feb 26, 2009 11:50 AM |

Meet the Department: Tom Hallman

Tom on a recent trip to Jamaica!

I'll follow Jason's lead in writing an entry introducing myself. Though I was brought up going to church, the incredible truths of the gospel of Christ either weren't preached or I didn't understand them. (I suspect it was both.) In high school I declared myself an atheist and had no intention of looking back.

While I didn't have Christ in my life, I did often had access to a computer. When I was in elementary school, my mom worked as a teacher's aid, which means she often stayed well-past when I'd otherwise have gone home. So I'd occupy myself in the computer lab, mostly playing The Oregon Trail on their Apple IIes. A few years later we got our first “IBM-compatible” 25 mHz screamer, and I was thrilled. One day I discovered, quite by accident, what BASIC was. Within days I had written a text-based Star Trek battle simulator (which I'm sure totally rocked.) In high school I took some computer courses and found a way to skip out of study hall (and often even gym) in order to spend time in the computer lab designing “games” or chatting on IRC. Still, in all this, I simply considered my tinkering a “hobby”.

The turning point for me (career-wise) was after I had written a networked chat program (think of it like AOL Instant Messenger, though I'd never used or heard of such a thing at the time) and installed it on the school's network... not exactly with the school administrator's blessing. A week or so after I'd done that, I was walking past a computer lab and glanced in – every one of the 20-some students in the room was chatting with one another using my program! It was at that point that I decided that I wanted to write software for a living.

A couple years later I was off to Bloomsburg University with the intention of getting a degree in computer science, getting a job with Microsoft, and then taking over the world. (It went something like that in my head, anyway.) What I certainly hadn't intended was to meet the Lord there...

The turning point for me (faith-wise) was during my sophomore year (1999) when I met Dave Kieffer, the DiscipleMakers Staff at Bloomsburg at the time. Dave shared the gospel with me in a way I'd never heard before, both through the Scriptures and through his life. I realized that, despite my best arguments, Christianity was the only thing that truly spoke to who I was, what I was and what the Solution was. Over a period of months I went from doubting everything about Christ to eagerly wanting to know as much as I could, and then wanting to share Him with the world! Slowly the gospel took root in my life, and I've never looked back. I praise God that He provided a perfect Savior to die for me, a hard-hearted rebel.

In 2001 I did a summer internship with DiscipleMakers and I saw firsthand how much God could use my computer skills to make a huge impact in the advancement of the Kingdom. And in DiscipleMakers I found an organization that was even more interested in helping me to conform into Christ's image than they were in how much code I could write. Because of this, after working at another job for a year after graduation, I joined DiscipleMakers.

I've since seen even more clearly that it's not just me DM is discipling. It's every Staff, every student, every nation. I'm honored, delighted and deeply thankful that I get to be a part of it!

PS: Though I do a lot more than write code these days, I still really enjoy programming! In fact, my main hobby these days is working on an open-source donation management system called Grace. If you'd be interested in helping me in any of these ways, please let me know!

Phone: (814) 769-1329
Email: hallmant@dm.org
Also find me on Facebook!

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