It's Matt Hardwick here! First off, thank you to everyone who supported me this past summer on my trip to Costa Rica. The two months that I was there were life changing -not only for me, but for a multitude of kids and adults that came thru La Montana, the Christian Camp I interned at. God did, and continues to do great things through this camp. Here are some statistics: Over the past 12 or so years, close to 85,000 people have come to Christ. This is roughly 7,200 people a year, 600 people a month, and close to 20 people every single day - who take hold of the never-fading, unconditional love of God in the midst of their chaotic lives filled with hurt! During my _first_ week at this camp, I personally witnessed around 20 grown men finally breaking down and let Christ have control over their lives. Thank you so much for your thoughts, prayers, and financial support that enabled me to follow God's call in my life.
While I was there I learned so much from the people, the culture, and the short term mission groups that came through the camp. But, what impacted me the most and has carried itself over to my life back at school and in the U.S. was not the interaction with people, but the quiet time I spent with God. The internship during my stay in Costa Rica required a lot of energy every day, which meant that I had to set aside time to rest. This was incredibly hard at first! The other four interns and I all felt, at various points, that we should be working and doing things all the time. It was the encouragement and guidance from our supervisors that allowed us to settle down and spend time relaxing with God. I learned and developed several spiritual disciplines, most importantly - spending time with God on a daily basis. He did so much healing and growth within me during the countless hours spent with him in the quiet of the jungle, and it is through the time spent then and now with God that has led me to where I am today. And you are a part of that!
I've always had a passion for the Spanish speaking world, and this trip allowed me to follow where God led me. But God's not done with me yet. Through three or four people, including my Major advisor, approaching me in the course of one single day, God let me know that my stay in Latin America isn't quite over.
Next summer my school is taking a small team to Quito, Ecuador for a combined study abroad and a missions trip. While the first month of my stay will be taking classes like Capstone Seminar in Christian Life and participating in a local internship focused on ministry, the second half of the trip will be oriented towards training for short term mission trips. The focus will be on training me and others on how to lead short term trips, and then going into the country to put our training into action.
I want to live my life completely abandoned for God, but for me to do that I have to cast all my cares, my anxieties, and my fears on Him. One of my anxieties that I need to completely give up is finances. This trip is from May 31st to August 2nd, and the total cost for the trip is $5,200. While this is nearly $1000 more than what I needed for last year's trip, I also have more time. Any gift you can give is appreciated beyond words. What is most important - is for this trip to be continually supported in prayer. Please pray that I will be a good steward of the large amount of time before the trip and that I will use it to develop spiritually, specifically in spiritual disciplines, and in my Spanish as well. This trip is not to glorify myself in my journey for knowledge, but to glorify God through becoming a servant to those who need it.
I appreciate all the support you have given me as well as any support you feel led to give now and moving forward. Thank you! - See more at: http://www.gofundme.com/5gog98
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