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I trust that you have found the Matthew story enlightening. However, there are always at least three sides to every story. In this case there are four.
After having documented my version of Matthew’s story, I sent it to Matthew’s parents to make sure that my perspective was not in conflict with the truth. I asked them to also pass it on to Matthew for his approval (or rejection) and invited both of them to write their side of the story. This proved to be very worthwhile, as you will see.
Today, I will provide you with what Matthew’s parents had to say about their experience:
We, John & Agnes (parents of Matthew), as well as Matthew, want to pay tribute to Léo & Faye for their faithfulness to God in the work He has commissioned them to do. They have impacted many lives, and we will be forever grateful for the impact they have had on Matthew’s life, and the encouragement they have been to him when things seemed impossible.
Matthew was born with a condition called Crouzon Syndrome, although in a very mild form. It did affect his physical features as well as resulting in some learning difficulties. He was always a happy child. He loved helping Mom in the kitchen, but especially enjoyed the outdoors.
We sent Matthew off to school when he turned six, just as we had done with all our other children. He really struggled to keep up with the rest of the students and had to have extra help.
When he started having seizures, we had to go for tests and were given medication for what they called Drop Seizures. This seemed to set him back further yet. He kept plugging along until the fourth grade, at which time the teacher thought maybe it would be a good idea to do further schooling at home, because he was finding it hard to concentrate in school, being easily distracted.
So that meant a bit of a lifestyle change for me (Agnes) but of course we wanted what was best for Matthew. Now we needed to find a school board under which to register Matthew, so the search was on. I am not sure how it came about, but we were recommended to try Education Unlimited and so that is what we did.
Léo and Faye Gaumont are the founders and primary facilitators of this organization and were facilitating in our area. We clearly saw God’s leading in our decision to go with Education Unlimited. They have been such a blessing to us, wonderful facilitators as well as great friends.
Now my role had been extended in not only being Matthew’s mother, but his teacher as well, although in a sense I guess those two kind of go together anyway. For the most part, I enjoyed the time we spent together learning new things, it was a time of growth for both of us in more ways than one.
Sitting down and doing “school” work was definitely not one of Matthew’s favourite things to do and it was a struggle most days to stay on the positive side. When Matthew was twelve we moved closer to our business and that was a great benefit to him.
We have an automotive repair shop and Matthew loved to spend time there. So it was “school” at home with Mom until lunch and “school” at the shop for the rest of the day with his Dad, who spent many hours teaching Matthew the tricks of the trade. Matthew wanted to become a mechanic, like his dad, brothers, aunts and uncles. It seems “mechanic-ing” runs in our family.
Matthew was a “hands on” type of guy, so working on vehicles was not a problem for him. The thing he struggled with the most was reading and comprehending what he was reading, and that’s a pretty important part of being a mechanic.
Through this all Léo & Faye were always behind him and encouraging him to never give up and just do the best that he could, for that is what God requires of us all, to do all things as unto Him and for His glory.
When Matthew was old enough and wanted to sign up as an apprentice, the apprenticeship representative didn’t seem to think that Matthew would make the grade. Then, lo and behold, a fellow named Terry Dubois, became the new representative for our Peace River area. Another leading of God’s hand, Terry really encouraged Matthew to sign up.
He sent us some modules to study for an entrance exam and a practice test. We went through these modules but that practice test was kind of put aside in dread of failure. Then came Léo & Faye’s spring visit and life changed that day.
Léo was determined that Matthew would write that test and would pass it. Well, Léo & Faye went down for a nap while Matthew wrote the test. He failed. Léo sat down with him and explained what he had done wrong and he rewrote the test. He passed!!
Oh, the joy that brought. There was much rejoicing and excitement that filled Matthew with hope.
The next step was writing the entrance exam at the Peace River apprenticeship branch. When the day arrived for the exam, we dropped Matthew off at the appointed place and we prayed.
Because of Matthew’s struggle with reading and comprehension, they were willing to read and explain the questions to him and then he could answer them.
Then, we waited for that phone call. It didn’t take long before we got to hear, “Matthew, congratulations, you passed the entrance exam.” I think that was the crowning moment of his life! Of course, Léo was the first one to get a phone call, and much excitement was in the air! I think those two were on cloud nine that day!!
Matthew was now a registered apprentice and so the hours he worked were counting towards his first year of training. There was one more hurdle to overcome. He would need some extra help in school and NAIT offers tutoring for people that need it, but to be qualified for that, Matthew needed to go through some testing by some kind of psychologist.
Terry from the apprenticeship office set up the appointment in Edmonton. Once there, Matthew spent the better part of a day going through all the tests. A couple of weeks later we were called in to talk about the results.
We were told in simple terms that Matthew would not make the grade, he would never successfully be able to pass the exams that would be required at NAIT. He would just be a practicing mechanic, so to say. Talk about discouraging!
Okay, time for Léo & Faye’s visit, and what a talking to Matthew got. Léo sat him down and told him in no uncertain terms that he could do this, for with God nothing is impossible!
After that Matthew signed up for his first year at NAIT and tried his best with the help of tutors to prove those wrong that had told him he couldn’t do it, and to believe instead the words of affirmation of Léo & Faye, his parents and all those who cared about him
Matthew made it through the first year, the second, third and fourth, as well as the Red Seal (in Matthew’s world, the Red Sea)!! To God be the glory for He has done great things!
We want to especially thank Léo & Faye for their constant love and encouragement, for standing behind Matthew every step of the way and never giving up on him. May God continue to bless the work of their hands.
Wow! I still get goose bumps reading that! What a privilege it was to be a part of this “we-will-see-who-really-has-the-power” exercise. God was able to move powerfully because we all had a much greater faith in His ability than fear of what man had said and done.
Next time, we will see what the man himself has to say.