I found God again through a hackathon

Gordon Chia // October 13, 2022, 4:09 pm

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Gordon Chia (rightmost foreground) saw the grace of God working through the community of missional believers at Indigitous as he went through burnout and a career switch. Photo by Gordon Chia.

The hotel room was beautiful, the staycation fully paid for with government-sponsored SGRediscover vouchers. This was the beginning of a perfect getaway.

I checked into the room, dropped my belongings, flopped on the bed … and began to cry.

I was burnt out.

A day earlier, my manager told me to use some of the 20 days of leave I had accumulated. My unexplained absence at several meetings that week had not gone unnoticed.

My job in public relations was taking its toll. I was only two years in, but the long, thankless hours, low pay, and meaningless work left me drained on all fronts. I was exhausted and constantly stressed by the fear of delivering work that was not up to expectations.

That evening, I took out my laptop, wrote my resignation letter and hit “send”.

Hard reset 

I’d gone into public relations purely by default – my degree in Mass Communication and Public Relations was a mere extension of a poorly-considered subject combination in junior college and being rejected by every technology-related course I had applied to.

I had always been interested in tech, but having failed math at various stages in my education journey, I found that door firmly closed.

Living out my faith was a foreign concept that I felt no need to pursue.

Throughout this time, I never listened to God nor sought His guidance. I had grown up in church and I’d heard countless sermons telling me to trust God, seek Him and walk in His ways.

But I didn’t. I had never felt the need to do so and doing things with my strength and in my way felt more natural and convenient. The rebellion of my youth – unconfessed and unsurrendered – was rearing its head again. 

Even though I was seeking meaning in my life and work, I was living the life of a superficial Sunday Christian. I sailed on the emotive highs of worship sessions, church camps and retreats and resumed my daily grind no different from before. Living out my faith was a foreign concept that I felt no need to pursue.

Then, in 2020, at yet another church conference (because, why not?) I heard about Indigitous, a ministry which gathered people looking for ways to use the digital space to bring God glory.

Serving alongside and fellowshipping with my friends, I found myself growing in Christ.

After joining a hackathon bootcamp, I was sold and joined the ministry, where I became fast friends with two brothers-in-Christ, Solomon and Daniel.

They were software engineers and co-founders of a tech startup who lived out their faith in practical ways and taught me how to do so as well.

As I struggled with the demands of my job in public relations, they came alongside to encourage and pray with me. Serving alongside and praying and fellowshipping with them, I found myself growing in Christ.

After I quit, I was providentially directed to a government-subsidised software engineering course. It catered specifically to for non-tech people to be trained for employment in the tech industry.

I was interested, but afraid. Solomon, Daniel and many others in the ministry came alongside me in that time of uncertainty. They encouraged me to pray about it and trust that God would guide and provide as I continued to seek Him.

So I signed up for the three-month course, graduated and am now working for a tech company run by Christians. 

Retracing God’s promises 

I am soon approaching my one-year mark in this new role and industry and I see God’s hand at work so clearly in my life. I look back and marvel: I left Him but He never left me. (Deuteronomy 31:6) Despite my prodigal ways. Despite leaving Him out of the equation. 

I didn’t trust God at all for most of my professional life (very dangerous!) but He still led me to a better place – both in my spiritual walk and in my career – and all I had to do was die to my own understanding, and listen to Him. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

There are many uncertainties that lie ahead but I’ve learnt and internalised the promise that God will never leave me nor forsake me. Even though I felt lost and did not know what to do, God was there with me every step of the way.

Letting God into my life has brought me peace and I trust that He is continuing to shape me and guide me in the way I should go.

From October 14-16, Indigitous is hosting #HACK2022, global missional hackathon for Christians happening in over 60 cities all around the world. The theme of this year’s event is “Community”.

Indigitous is a global ministry engaging and unleashing believers into digital missions through global events, digital-resourcing and community building.


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About the author

Gordon Chia

Gordon is a software engineer in an AI startup. When he's not fretting over why his code keeps breaking, he volunteers with Indigitous, managing the community for the betterment of digital missions. In his spare time, he likes playing the guitar and drinking coffee. Lots of coffee. Mmm.