Spread the word. Jesus is coming again! Very, very soon.
Matteo Gutierrez It is with sad hearts that we announce the death of Matteo Gutierrez, NAD Volunteer and Pacific Union College music education student. Matt died as a result of an injury suffered during a snowboarding accident on March 1, 2001. He was working at Holbrook Indian Mission School in Holbrook, AZ as a teaching assistant. He planned to pursue a future in education as a result of his experience at Holbrook. He is survived by parents Michael and Gherie of Carmichael, CA, and sister Emilia, currently attending La Sierra University.
"We see the Lord's hand working around us through this," says mother, Gherie, "He is touching lives even with his death, and I know we will see Matt again. We are held up by the love of Jesus Christ and the stories we've heard of the work and the life Matt led. We have seen how he touched the lives of so many people.”
The Navajo culture is steeped in spiritualism and Satan's minions had been felt on the Holbrook campus. An exorcism had been conducted on a student a few months prior. One night Matt was awakened with his bed shaking violently. Though he tried to pray he could not speak. All he could muster was to call out the name of Jesus! When he did the bed stopped shaking immediately! Many of the Wawona folks know of a prayer session during which they were visited by "unfriendly beings." We believe Matt was growing closer and closer to God and Satan was trying to prevent it.
His friends noted a peacefulness about him when he came home for Christmas. Philip, one of his Fresno friends at Holbrook, said they had stayed up into the early morning hours one day and talked about "stuff" and of their commitment to God. Though Matt always had a Bible by his bed he was not one to study for any lengthy period. But, Philip said when he went into Matt's trailer after his death, he saw his Bible opened by his bed!
When Jeremy (Matt's roommate at Holbrook from September to December) first talked about leaving Holbrook, Matt didn't know whether he should stay or leave as well. Within a week his sister, Emilia, called him and said she would come and work there to be with him! Then Philip called and said he wanted to come and for Matt to see if they had space for him. Then he found out about another Wawona staff member who was looking into going to Holbrook as well. He told me, "Dad I think God is telling me to stay." I answered, "Matt, I think He's hitting you on the head with a two by four!" After Jeremy left we again talked about how this would affect him. Would he truly stay? His words gave me great comfort! He said, "Dad, I've prayed about it and I don't think God wants me to leave yet. I think He wants me here, I'm reaching some of the kids and I still have work to finish."
Even in his death God was gracious to Matt. He was doing two things he enjoyed, sno-boarding and working with the kids! He was teaching them to jump when the suspect fall occurred. The doctors say he was sitting up and talking one second and was in cardiac arrest the next. He never knew what hit him! No suffering, no pain! His next sight will be that of God calling him to join him in the clouds of glory!
Praise Be To God for His Infinite Love! Something we cannot fully comprehend! For He Voluntarily Gave His Son to Die a Violent Death on the Cross for Me and Matt and You!
Since Matt's death we've heard of a student at Holbrook that has pledged her life to Christ. We've heard of a former member who has been out of the church for 20+ years who has pledged to be re-baptized. The announcement of Matt's death at Sacramento Adventist Academy was followed by a meeting of a literature evangelistic effort in Sacramento, and a request for commitment and help was asked from the kids. The response was overwhelming. More kids then ever before responded to the call. Many students from SAA sent notes to "Mrs G," expressing their thoughts for her during this time!

We hope that Matt's death has you thinking about your own salvation. Please read your Bible, pray, and listen to what God has to say. That may mean turning off the television and radio so you can hear His voice. He has a special plan for each and everyone of you. We didn't know that Matt had touched so many lives. You never know how you have touched someone. Spread the word. Jesus is coming again! Very, very soon.

By: Michael and Gherie Gutierrez

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