I went through seven years of tax prep. In one sitting. Why? Because we’ve been living under the burden of tax debt because of donations that kept us afloat while I was out of work in Uganda and during our transition to the US. This has been one of the biggest burdens I’ve ever had to bear. And recently we were informed that we might not have had to pay taxes on personal donations, which means, just like that, the burden may be lifted and turned into a blessing — a sizable tax refund. What is THAT?

It just might be a reason to celebrate.

But regardless of what happens with our taxes, I have another reason to celebrate. The past seven years in Uganda feels like a pleasant, exciting, sometimes scary and too-quickly-fading dream. As I sifted through our finances from those years, I started seeing these bright points of light from our past. I saw stories and I saw names.. thousands of names of donors. I saw names of people who donated a single dollar, and those that gave much much more. I saw years-long patterns of monthly donations, and I saw one-shots out of nowhere. I saw the results of small fundraisers and training classes, conference stipend redirects and more than one “I lost a bet” donations.. whatever those are.

Yes, many people have given to Hackers For Charity over the years, and your support keeps our programs running in Uganda, fuels our wildly-expanding education initiative, funds our work here and all over the world and keeps HFC growing so that we can find more good to do in our community.

But this post is about the people that went out of their way to help us before we were even a non-profit, people who gave of themselves in some way, prayed for us, purposely selected that “Long Journey” donation button, or thought enough of what we were up against to send a donation directly to our family’s account. “Thank you” is so insufficient. You covered us when I stepped away from my career and the whole time we were in Uganda. You helped us as we transitioned back to the US, got settled, got our kids into school and you were there for us as we tried to rebuild our lives and our trashed credit.

A year “out of Africa”, things have really improved for us. A small, temporary HFC salary (for the first time ever) has helped us with the transition, especially before I started with OffSec (which is a privilege and a blessing). The programs in Uganda are still running and we’re excited about the future and the potential good we can do in the US as well.

You picked us up, brushed us off and even threw us over your shoulder and carried us for long stretches.

You offered financial support, prayers, words of encouragement. Thank you. You mentioned us to someone who ended up jumping in. Thank you. You cared about us and loved on us as a family as we stepped out in faith to Uganda. Thank you.

We’re humbled by your generosity and love. Words simply can’t do it justice, but, “Thank you”.

We love you guys and we’re looking forward to the next crazy chapter, whatever that might be.

Johnny and the rest of the cast of the “Long Journey” :-)