SUMMER! This is my favorite season; I love the warmth, the sun, the water, and camp! For 10 years I have had the privilege of taking urban kids, teens and families to camp. I have been part of them leaving the city and discovering God in a new way, outside the chaos of their reality. As the weather gets warmer, the violence often increases in the neighborhood. In leaving the city and going away to camp, many fears are settled and restless nights become peaceful dreams.
Written by Matt Thomas
When I was only eight years old, I was arrested for the first time. By the age of thirteen, I had a mean drug addiction to the point that I stole from my own home to pay for my habit. I dropped out of high school and was sent to a boarding school where I first learned about Jesus. He intrigued me, but at that time in my life, it was all head knowledge and my heart was not ready to receive His mercy and forgiveness. As soon as I left the boarding school I went back to partying and my drug habit got increasingly worse.
In 2006, I landed myself in prison and that is where God dealt with me. I found the love of my Savior.
I am so passionate about partnering with World Impact through my ministry, Firm Foundations, because I strongly believe that men and women with stories similar to mine can be the ones to lead revival in the city. They will reach out into urban communities because they have the clout and power to lead their neighbors.
Firm Foundations is a non-profit home for men and women in their transition from a life behind bars to life on the outside. We currently have two homes for men in Wichita, KS, but are excited about the possibility of expanding our homes to accommodate women as well. In the homes, a strong leader lives with the men to demonstrate life skills and to encourage them in their relationship with the Lord. Our goal at Firm Foundations is to raise up men and women who will be leaders and charge the front lines to bring these men and women back from hell.
I am taking The Urban Ministry Institute (TUMI) classes through World Impact so that I have the knowledge I need to share with these guys. I am so thankful to partner with like-minded believers that walk alongside me in this mission. They are a part of our family. My wife Christina attended her first-ever women’s retreat this spring at MSR Camp and Retreat Center. The theme of the retreat was Sisterhood: Standing Strong Together. She came home excited about the relationships she built, especially with another wife and mother whose husband is currently in prison but is taking TUMI classes and plans to partner with World Impact upon his release. With World Impact, I was able to preach during a service held in his prison and have met him. Our friendship has already begun!
God redeemed a life that I tried to destroy–my own–and has empowered me to share that with others!