Now we’re going to share about the area of Indianapolis where the campus of Indiana University, Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI) is located. Four years ago, Ryan Hardin had never heard of the People of Praise. He was a senior at IUPUI, looking forward to graduating and probably going to dental school. Now he’s a veteran member of the Missionary Company.
I grew up in Indianapolis and, as Nick said, went to IUPUI. One time when I was sitting on campus, minding my own business and eating my lunch with a friend, this kind of tall, skinny guy with messed-up hair walks up to me and my friend and starts telling us about what the Lord’s doing with him and Rus Lyons and Nick. It was Jon Gapp.
The problem was, I wasn’t very anxious to hear anything from Jon. I was a Christian at this point, and actually I had been praying for a group of guys to get in with who were really following the Lord, but I didn’t make the connection with Jon. I told him that what he really needed to do was to go out and get a job!
Well, 10 months later, in October of 2007, I was sitting on campus minding my own business, and Abe Olson walked up. I reacted to him in the same way. I wasn’t interested in hearing about what the Lord was doing with these poor missionaries who were depending on him for what they got, for everything they needed. But a friend of mine walked up and began saying things like, “Well, what’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with what they’re doing and with being poor with the Lord?”
That kind of got to me, and so a month later I got back in touch with Abe—which was a miracle. We got together, had some lunch, did some things together. I came over and did some meditations, ate dinner and eventually came underway in the People of Praise after my graduation. I moved into the Triangle with JT Kelly, Ray and Robin Gonzalez, Trish Brewer and Naomi Caneff. That was great.
I had a job for a while, and then I started praying about it more and more. I made the Spiritual Exercises, and coming out of that I decided that the Lord wanted me to be a poor missionary. So now I’m a missionary with the People of Praise in Evansville and praising the Lord for it every day.