From: Tom Cook
To: Recipients
Sent: Thursday, May 26, 2011 12:07 AM
Subject: Tom's prayer update - May 2011

Dear prayer friends,

Tuesday 8 days ago, I was called into the boss's office at this new job I got 6 months ago as their computer network administrator (computer setup and fix-it guy). The boss (general manager) and the owner (who had interviewed me at the start) were there. I knew the meeting would be for the 6-month review, in which they have the choice to take over payment of my wages from V.R. (Dept. of Vocational Rehabilitation) and keep me on as a permanent employee, or in some way end my employment. In general, the factor is supposed to be whether, on this OJT assignment (On the Job Training), I learned well and performed well or not. I've known pretty much all along that they've been pleased with my work and had the desire to keep me. I know I've learned much that I didn't know before, not having previously had needs to learn many of the things I was called upon to do. It was nice to use what I already knew of tinkering w/PCs over the last 15 years, then add to that through my own research, and on the clock of course.

The boss (general manager) and I had discussed some time ago the possibility of me transitioning to part-time after the 6-month contract was over, (1) to lessen strain on their budget, (2) the workload would be less (or less urgent), and (3) I need free time to finish that software product for my partner and me that I reported to you in September. Remember that I had said to you all in March, "To squeeze a 40 hour a week far-away job into my already extremely full life, has been excrutiatingly difficult". Actually, I privately had decided I'd like to stay on full-time awhile if they let me, simply as excess car repairs have hindered me from building any savings. (Okay, a few other "optional" expenses hindered, too. This first time of steady income in many years was a bit hypnotic.)

In light of my good record and that $10/hour is low for a computer programmer, I had been thinking about how much of a raise I might reasonable ask for or be offered. I might ask for $12. If too high, then "How about $12 and go to part-time now?" But I never got the chance to ask.

They explained that while they highly like me and my work and greatly respected my background and core computer skills, their projected income will be too low to justify having me AT ALL. So, "Next Tuesday will be your last day." (!!!) And yesterday, Tuesday, WAS my last day. I never did get a chance to ask for that raise. It was rather jolting and disturbing the first couple of days. I wrote to 4 people right away, "Stress and testing of my faith is definitely up, so please pray for wisdom and emotional endurance". My home group leader wrote back to me that night, "I am really sorry to hear that Tom. We are praying that God gives you something in its place."

Before a few hours had passed, I, knowing that I should seek to capitalize on whatever income-producing things might be available, contacted Gotcha Media to explore the possibility of doing what I had hoped I'd never do again, Outdoor Advertising, shaking a sign to music like I had done for 3 years. Instead of waiting as long as possible, I did it as SOON as possible, knowing that I don't know how soon a computer job might turn up. By the time I got home, I had swung by their office, raced through 45 min. of paperwork again, and gotten to pick for myself a good 6-hour assignment for Saturday! (Normally they pick it. The gig happened last Saturday and it went well, but reminded me of how much I love to hate that job.) I remembered with pleasure that the Scripture teaches that if a man is diligent in his work, it will make a good reputation. I was thankful that my literal sweat and "suffering" those 3 long years established my positive reputation with them. (And I had not burned any bridges with them when I took the day job. I had not even told them why I would be "inactive" for an indetermine period.) It was at La-Z-Boy again, one of the stores I had done in the past, and I got the highest return of all the 5 stores! So I had my choice of stores again THIS weekend. And it will be Sat. 6-hr and Monday Memorial day, 8 grueling hours! So I've dusted the 6 months of dust off the ol' Ipod and am getting ready.

[Photos and video of sign work]

Back at Wednesday the day after the bad news, someone at home group told me they saw much greater peace in me than back in Oct. when the Gotcha work (and my income) was running out. I told her thanks, but I'm not really sure it's my faith but maybe the knowledge that something will be coming in via the disliked sign work. But it's true, I feel less distress than after any layoff. Possibly as I see possibilities that weren't in the past (which I may reveal at a later date). If that's faith, great. But it's certainly not blind trust in my Lord; I'm not very strong in that these months. I do, though, try to review these long 4+ years, and realize that if God could bring me to survive through such trials against the odds, it'd be might silly of Him to let me die now after all that's happened. So maybe I have more peace than I realize.

But even if the sign work is heavy enough to get me through the summer, PLEASE pray that God would give me wisdom and sovereign direction to get computer-related income again. It's not simply that I dislike the sign work, but many feel steady work and in my field is the goal. (Gotcha is often not steady, and obviously not in my field.) My partner would prefer I get full-time, but I feel part-time would be better for our situation. V.R. counsellor says take whatever comes, and my partner reluctantly agrees. Please pray that no matter where the income comes from, that I will be able to get the software product finished and into beta-test at my partner's office, which is the next critical step. During the weeks or months they're using it with real data, I can be working at what God answers your prayers with.

I realize that it probably seems odd to many, even among the 350 friends receiving this, that getting a job would be such a sore spot and difficulty in my life. I realize it's much easier for most people. It's been a weak and sore area in my life for a large part of the time starting way back in 1991 when my life seemed to largely fall apart the "first time" even then. That era now seems like a "pre-echo" of the much worse things to come in 2006-7. Some of you might kindly say, "Since the mortgage crisis of '07, MANY have been hurting in this way." But I was hurting with these job-gaining impairments (sometimes without knowing it) long before everyone else was hit.

So you have my requests now. Thank you for praying. I'll let you know what happens.

Good things are happening with the website,, but that news must wait for another day.

Tom Cook
(407) 897-4063
TomCook @
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