I don't need to be violent anymore

Saved from gang violence and suicide, now an advocate for family reunification!

My journey to prove Christianity Wrong

Matt planned to end his life surrounded by trees in South Eugene. When another car parked near him, he realized he was in a church parking lot. You'll be amazed by what happened when he went inside and the way Jesus changed his life.

Now he boldly says, “With Jesus in my life, I don’t need violence anymore - I don’t have it in my heart anymore!

Video Transcription

My name is Matt. I've lived in Oregon off and on for 20 years. I come from a pretty rough history of violence and gangs in California. I've dealt with a lot of loss, a lot of death in my life, and I was in a pretty hard place emotionally. And my aunt and my cousin, not even related to me, I just call my aunt my cousin, invited me to go to church with them, and I kept saying, I ain't going to church, I'll never go to church. I just felt desperate and I felt alone, and at that point, I didn't feel like I had a purpose. Like, even in that lifestyle I was in, I didn't belong. And I felt like I was just counting down the days to my own demise anyways, so what was stopping me?

One random Sunday, I was really depressed, and I went for a drive to look for a spot in the woods to end my life. I found a spot that I thought was the forest, but it was apparently a church parking lot. And once a car pulled in, I decided, you know, maybe this is not the time. And I, uh, decided, what's one hour left out of my life that's about to end? So I went into church, and I sat down, and the first person who greeted me was my aunt and my cousin, who don't know each other, and apparently go to the same church. So that was the first something's up moment, and I was sitting there in church, and I was depressed, I was sad, and Pastor Brian looked at me, and he stopped his sermon in the middle of it, and he asked me to come talk with him.

He said, I've seen those eyes before. I said, what do you mean? He said, I've seen those eyes before. He said, those are the eyes of a dead man. And he had no idea what I was about to do. He just had a feeling. And he asked me to pray. From that moment, my life drastically started to change. I lost my son for 10 months. I regained custody, and because of that, I'm now helping fathers regain custody of their children. So I'm an advocate for single fathers. I've lost over 80 people in my life due to gang violence, drug abuse, and just the lifestyle. Luckily, I was never an addict myself, but my drug was vital.

I had no one to protect me, so I had to protect myself through the only thing I knew how to do, and that was violence at the time. And now, through God and Jesus, I have the confidence, and I don't need protection. I have it. I don't need to be violent no more. I don't want to be violent anymore. I don't have that in my heart no more. At a certain point in my life, during all this violence, I would literally say, like, about the devil, like, as if he was really a part of my life. And then one day it dawned on me, if I believe in the devil, that means I have to believe in God, too.

And I was in the wrong kingdom. With Jesus in my life, I have found peace in my heart. My life has been getting nothing but better. I'm now an executive director for a nonprofit rehabilitation center for gang youth. I'm 7-1 in court. I'm helping fathers regain custody of their children. I have full custody of my son. Unfortunately, his mother passed away two months ago due to her own battles with drug abuse. But, you know, through the grace of God, we're getting through it.

Loss is hard. My son is healing, and so am I.