"Before he brewed beer, Matthew received his Master of Architecture from Savannah College of Art and Design. He also had a huge heart for serving others and sharing the message of Christ. In May 2013, along with a group of his closest friends and SCAD alum, Matthew teamed up with GoDesign to help build a school in Ethiopia. He was excited to combine his experience in architecture with his desire to help others all while sharing the Gospel. Being a part of this mission trip to Ethiopia truly was part of God’s plan for him, and the rest is still unfolding.” -- Matthew's family
For about a year GoDesign founder Scott Jackson along with fellow SCAD architecture alumni Matthew Courtright, Luke Hellkamp, Christina Royall, Coty Ekhoff Sandberg and Lisa Gallant drew plans and prepared to build a housing duplex.
The project was located in the southern town of Dilla next to a school that GoDesign had constructed the previous year. The goal was to use local tools and native building techniques to build a residential unit that could house the teachers of the school. During the 12 day experience the group saw the beginning of the construction but was also engaged in the lives of the people in the area sharing in coffee ceremonies and ministry.
“Not everyone was created to be a pastor, teacher, doctor, or nurse- but everyone was created go. Scott and the team at GoDesign Inc have given us as designers a chance to use our gifts/abilities to impact the impoverished around the world..” – Luke
“The Lord knew it would be the last time our group of friends would share with Matt. He allowed us to savor ever moment without knowing they would be among our last. Matt poured himself out on the trip. He was called to share his testimony and responded to the moving of the Spirit with awed tears and heartfelt obedience. He prepared all week for his testimony and on our last night in Dilla he brought the Gospel with passion. He also kept our entire group laughing and smiling. He fell in love with the children, and they with him, and pretty much every time he was seated, you could be sure there was a little one on his lap. He worked tirelessly leading a team to build the roof trusses. Our time in Africa will always be a special mountaintop experience because its where God had a sweet plan of fellowship with our beloved brother Matt before he went home to be with Jesus.” - Coty
“This was definitely a dream come true to be able to travel with college friends to Ethiopia to use our gifts and talents to build for the impoverished in southern Ethiopia.” – Scott
Eager to demonstrate his love for construction, he was ever more sensitive to the real impact he was sure to encounter through serving beside the locals and seeing God's hand at work in the lives he worked with and his own. It is trips like the ones GoDesign offers that allow for immediate understanding of what it means to be a servant. When the needs are so basic and the means to provide the solutions are so tangible; it is tragic to know that there are many who are afraid to make a difference. Matthew demonstrated the definition of courage by traveling to an unknown land in the midst of a new career to do what he knew he could with his two hands and feet. To provide shelter and safety to those in Ethiopia, he dug holes, placed boards, and hammered nails to put together a small home for someone in need. -- Christina
After speaking with Matthew's family, GoDesign has decided to build a school in Ethiopia in his honor. This will be a tribute to Matthew's compassion and love for the impoverished people in southern Ethiopia.
The family has asked that donations be made in his memory over the next year. While this is taking place GoDesign will be working with Matthew's closest architecture friends to design a building that will truly honor his legacy.
**Checks can also be made out to GoDesign Inc (Memo: Matthew's memory) and mailed to 715 Maupas Ave Savannah GA 31401**
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