July 8, 1984 to August 9, 1991
Matthew was born in Happy, Texas and became a missionary when his parents moved to Salvador Brazil, December 1989. Matthew embraced the Brazilian people and culture with his whole heart. He loved to hunt lizards, swim, play with his brother, and eat at Mc Donalds. Three of his Brazilian friends were Nilton, Carlos and Andrea. Matthew was exposed to a bacterial strain of spinal meningitis while at a church lectureship in Recife. It claimed his life on August 9, 1991 when Matthew was only 7 years, 1 month and 1 day old.
Matthew didn’t get to live very long on this earth. But he was always seeing things that we just didn’t seem to see. His last words on this earth were, “I am trying to reach Jesus’ hand.” Melody, his mother, had told him, that when the pain became to unbearable, Jesus would be there to take it away. As they rushed him to the hospital,35 miles from their home, Matthew who had lost his eye sight,and ability to walk, kept reaching for something in the air. Melody would take his hand, and tell him, “I’m here.” But he would push her hand away. In desperation as only a Mother knows, she told him, “whatever you want, I’ll get it for you. Just tell me.” And in the sweet voice of a child as his hand closed in the air, he replied, “I am trying to reach Jesus’ hand.” Matthew then slipped into a deep coma which lasted 52 hours and he decided it was best to stay safe in the arms of Jesus. In Happy, Texas, his heart shaped tomb stone reads “Our little soldier reached for Jesus. Jesus reached for him.”