Prepared for the Streets [Matt’s Outreach Story]

How God used Matt's past to give others a future

Though many people know Matt now as a phenomenal street outreach case manager, his initial steps into adulthood could be described as “rocky at best.”

“I was never the greatest student,” Matt admits. “I graduated high school a couple years late. I wasn’t sure what to do next so I tried to enlist in the military but ended up failing the entrance exam. I couldn’t hold down a job. I had no direction, so I turned to partying, gambling and drinking.

It’s no surprise that partying wasn’t the answer. Starting with nothing and spiraling from there left Matt homeless by the time he was 24. But just when it seemed like life was over before it began, God took what was meant for evil and used it for good.

No job. No home. No control. Everything in Matt’s life up to this point told him he was a failure. Thankfully, God saw something different.

In the midst of depression and alcoholism, God used a simple song to break through the lies and speak to Matt’s heart. “I heard a song on the radio one day while I was driving called ‘Spoken For’ by Mercy Me.”

Covered by your love divine,
Child of the risen Lord
To hear you say “This one’s mine”
My heart is spoken for.

“I broke down in tears. I felt the love of God like I’ve never felt it before. I gave my life over to Christ in that moment.”

Suddenly, Matt’s life took on an altogether different trajectory.

He enrolled in a Christian recovery center in Los Angeles to find sobriety and strengthen his relationship with Christ.

After graduation, he found purpose for the first time in his life helping others as a part of a homeless outreach team. He was married in 2012, graduated from Bible college in 2017 and took a position as Case Manager for the Homeless at the Western Montana Mental Health Center.

It was the most success Matt had ever experienced! But there was something missing. The secular organization he worked for didn’t allow Christ as a solution.

“When I worked there I was limited in sharing my faith, and it was my desire to share. That got me praying about it and God revealed a ministry to me called Phoenix Rescue Mission. I started researching and really fell in love with it.”

A few interviews later, Matt became an outstanding addition to our Street Outreach team in January of 2020. Today, he’s out on the streets in the Hope Coach five days a week fulfilling his God-given purpose – to reach the homeless and hurting and offer hope and transformation.

Sharing his faith is extremely important for Matt. He knows that helping those who are struggling on the streets is critical, but he also wants to help them find eternal life in Christ.

“We encounter anywhere from 15 to 30 men and women a day. We help them get on housing lists, find recovery, get ID’s and really just share the love of Christ with people who are hurting and broken.”

Reaching people has never been more important. The hottest summer ever last year also claimed a record number of lives in Maricopa County: 336 perished, a majority of them homeless.

“A lot of what we’re doing is warning people: ‘The heat is coming, figure out a plan, get off the streets.’”

Matt knows firsthand just how vital this contact can be– it saves lives!

“Last July I spotted a man who looked like he was in trouble. It was 115 degrees outside and he knew he needed help. We loaded him up and took him to the hospital.”

Matt continued, “Shortly after, I came across a man at the bus stop who was so dehydrated it was clear he needed medical attention. We called 911 and the paramedics took him away. All of us on the Outreach team, we’ve all got stories. That’s why we do our best to prepare people for the coming months.”

With your help, we can give men and women like Matt the tools they need to reach people, not only in time, but for eternity.

“I love what I’m doing. I know this is what I was called to do. Looking back, I can see how the Lord prepared me for this role every step of the way. My bout with addiction, the recovery, Bible school, the mental health center – it was all preparing me for this.

You can be prepared when you encounter someone on the streets with tips from our Street Outreach Team at phxmission.org/tips