April 2015 Newsletter

Only God Knows the Time of Our Departure.

It is inevitable–our days are truly numbered. “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:16)

Looking at the pictures of Matt you just knew anyone who came into contact with him could expect a smile and an encouraging word. He stood proud as a man who understood the good qualities of life and he was always there to give comfort to those in need. You could see the character of this man as he lived his life as a servant.

We recently had the pleasure of meeting his mother, Teresa, who raised Matt to be the man that he was. She told me; “All his life he had this selfless driving compassion for others.” She remembered one day Matt asked her to take him to a mattress company. He said he wanted to look at mattresses. His mom, disgruntled by his request, could not understand because he had just recently bought a brand new bed. Regardless, he was insistent. So they drove to the mattress company. Matt listened to the sales man as he talked about mattresses and what the differences were in quality and design. For 30 minutes he gave his full attention to the salesman as they looked at different beds. Matt suddenly turned and asked, “You have an organization doing a fundraiser to help kids get back into school?” “Yes!” was the reply. Matt thanked the salesman for his time, took out his check book and wrote a $500.00 check to the organization. “Thank you for supporting these types of organizations”. It was at that moment Teresa broke down in tears knowing what her son’s intentions had been. It wasn’t about the bed at all. It was about the kids.

I felt so privileged to sit and listen as she told stories about her son and the life he lived. For 9 years Matt served our country in the military and was decorated with many metals. It was during this time of serving he was diagnosed with brain cancer. While he was stationed in Washington DC. Teresa remembers his request after coming out of surgery “All I want, is to see my boss.” Matt said. At that time Matt’s boss was President Bush. As Teresa related her story, her love for her son would take her to the Oval office and ask such a request. Her story would convict the heart of our president to shut the world off, get the first lady and go visit this extraordinary young man. Then, only God could hold a mother together as she used every ounce of energy to comfort her dying son.

As we serve people in need we never know who God will send to us. I could not hold back the tears hearing Matt’s mom mourn his loss. When I met her, she had called City Gates to find help with a water bill and food. All her resources had gone to helping her son while he went through the painful treatments that would end his life in November of 2014. Teresa, now living in her son’s vacant home, waits alone for the bank to foreclose. We promised Teresa as long as she is there, City Gates would be a resource for anything she needed to help her through this season. Any parent who has had to bury a son or daughter has, in my eyes, experienced the most tragic of circumstances, and only God in His unconditional loving way has the power to reach into their hearts to give comfort, by assuring them that their child is now in His arms.

Teresa’s plans are to move to Texas to help her daughter take care of her grandchildren. We pray the comfort and healing she receives from God and those God has put in her life will get her safely to her destination. And drawing only from Gods love, may she plant the same seeds she planted in Matt into the minds and hearts of her grandchildren. We wish Teresa the very best.

Phil Prietto • President/CEO
City Gates Ministries