Displaying items by tag: data input

For the Love of Data

by Julie Stepp, Writer, Heartbeat International

If a human mind can be a computer, then mine has mapped out the general locations of pregnancy help organizations in the US, and in many other countries of the world. I know where the data is poor and where it isWoman on Computer rich. I see complex organizations and simple ones: kindness offered by one or two people, or care offered through a well-built, multi-level, complex organization. I’ve heard the voices, prayers, tears, laughter, and praise of my fellow workers in the pregnancy help movement and connected them with their data. It seemed like the phone up to my ear was only a thin separation between me and a true sister.

I’ve seen so many spreadsheets and so many issues that could only be fixed one by one, hour after hour. I’ve checked for commas, periods, and missing numbers in zip codes. I’ve capitalized and removed capitalization. I’ve verified EINs, called, emailed, reminded, gotten aggravated, and given grace. I’ve seen the names, emails, and addresses so many times that they’ve become familiar. I can look at a list and notice what stands out, what might be different, and what either might need correction or is a change in the landscape we hadn’t noticed yet. I can sit at a table with a center’s director at our Conference and know what the name of their center is when they name the city. I feel like I know these centers.

I also feel like I see these centers in such a way that I fancy myself being one of the few who gets to see them this way. I’m not saying I’m the only one who thinks fondly of pregnancy centers, of course not. I’m saying God has granted me the special place of seeing these centers as a data set, in a list, and I think fond and knowing thoughts when I see their data exported in an Excel spreadsheet. I’ve carried a weight on my shoulders of getting their data right so that women can contact them correctly or get the services information they need when they visit OptionLine.org. I’ve watched, worried, and crooned over getting their legal data right, so they don’t have any issues receiving money donated to them from one of our generous anonymous donors. I’ve gotten to know them, by the list, painstakingly, with care, praying over their entries as I’ve set them up in the Worldwide Directory Word document.

These centers are special to me, and I like to think that God takes care of them. He is God above, and I am of the earth. I can only pretend that my mind knows the details of the pregnancy help world map, but He truly does. He is all-seeing and all-knowing. He even sees my painstaking details to get things right. He loves my effort, and I’ve got to say He loves your effort too.

And if you were ever wondering if those "data people" have a heart, well, you might not have to wonder anymore…