Matt Maceira is running with beautiful feet. Romans 10:15 says “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.” After enduring trench foot, living unsheltered on the streets, and battling addiction, the scars from the life he has since tell a story of grit and God’s unceasing work in us. Today, those same feet carry Matt over sand, concrete, soil, and asphalt to relentlessly share the gospel.
Since he has surrendered his life to Christ, Matt has seen more than 7,000 people accept the free gift of salvation. Although now sold out for evangelism and boots-on-the-ground ministry, Matt hasn’t always lived a life in hot pursuit of kingdom work.
FORMIDABLE FORMATIVE YEARS
Growing up in the Godless home of a Latin Kings gang leader, Matt and his identical twin brother were born into a harsh reality of destruction, confusion, and pain. A substance-addicted father who spent 40 years in prison, multiple murders in his wake, was set as Matt’s example.
He was no stranger to abuse from those who were supposed to protect him. Gaps in trust created canyons between Matt and those who had pure intentions. “I was invited to a church as a kid, and those folks showed me love that didn’t make sense to me because love had a negative connotation in my world,” Matt reflects. “It was only a matter of time before somebody would hurt you if they said that they loved you.”
VIOLENCE IN EXCHANGE FOR RESPECT
At a young age, Matt began using mind-altering substances. Fighting for his allegiance, the drug world claimed him as he wrestled for 27 years against his addiction, defeated. “I started using crank at about 11 years old; got stabbed for the first time, stabbed somebody…”
Often using brutality as a transaction for respect, Matt engaged in the violent lifestyle he had been steeped in. But its grip was loosed days after his plot to torture and murder a man who confessed a desire to harm Matt’s young son was impeded.
GOD’S ORCHESTRATION AND A PASTOR’S INTERVENTION
Matt MacCollin, a pastor, at the time, from his church, Salem Heights, saw him during his dry run, calling Matt’s name from across busy Commercial Street in Salem, Oregon. Only moments before the sighting, Matt had breathed a prayer to God, petitioning for Him to show up, fully aware of the lasting consequences of taking a man’s life.
“And in that moment, God revealed to me there’s no such thing as coincidence, happenstance, chance, or luck.” Matt was awestruck by God’s orchestration and his pastor’s timely intervention. He stopped resisting and committed his life to God.
“Then things got really tough,” confesses Matt, chuckling. Funny how that works.
A CAPTIVE SET FREE
While God’s restorative power transformed Matt’s murderous heart, he was still captive to drugs for another decade, roaming the streets homeless. “It was a choice. I was making a willful choice, a well-thought-out choice every time I went to get methamphetamine,” Matt confesses. “I was completely in control every time. That was the problem.”
One day, everything came to a climax when God used a near overdose to bring him to his knees. Realizing he may not make it out alive, Matt cried to his Creator.
“I’m like ‘God, please take this from me. I can’t do it. I need you to take all of it, a hundred percent of this. I can’t get rid of it.’”
And God took it. He took it all. Since that moment nearly six years ago, Matt has been sober.
NO TURNING BACK
From that momentous event, Matt’s yearning to share the gospel with a hurting and dying world is like an itch that can’t be scratched, a thirst that can’t be quenched.
“I will live out the tenure, the term, the length of the ambassadorship that I’ve been given through faith in Jesus Christ and his perfect sacrifice, as though God we’re making his appeal through me to this world, and that amazes me,” declares Matt.
Nothing that happened in his life was in vain. As God promises to carry out His plan in us until completion, the refining fire of Matt’s lowest points has created beauty, and with it produced Be Bold Street Ministries (BBSM), a local homeless outreach he founded in response to God’s grace and prompting.
THE “WHO” IN THE WHOSOEVER
John 3:16 says “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” Every person with a pulse is the “whosoever.” With this word ringing in their ears, BBSM staff are on the streets every day bearing the burdens of those unsheltered, meeting their needs, and sharing the hope of God’s love and grace.
In wonderment, Matt says “I used to love stabbing people. That’s terrible. And that’s what I think is so beautiful about what God does in his transformative, restorative power,” Albeit a raw confession, the weight of these words reveal that no one is ever “too far gone” for our Creator.
You can make a lasting impact on your community and beyond. Donate to Be Bold Street Ministries today at https://www.beboldstreetministries.org/giving.
Your earnest prayers are another avenue of meaningful support, too. Pray that God would enable their ministry to continue serving all people on the streets, and that He would save and transform many lives. You can learn more about BBSM at https://www.beboldstreetministries.org/.
1 thought on “No one is ever too far gone: A community partnership story”
Sad to hear what Matt lived through and grateful God pursed him! Titus 3:3-7 speaks parts of my story too. “3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”