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A life jacket and a home

“If we were drowning and you had a life jacket, you’d give us your life jacket, right?” Trog, Vice President of Bonton Farms, asked our friend Matthew as we all sat around a table together at Bonton Farms.

“Of course!” Matthew responded.

“That’s what we want to do for you. We want to help keep you above water right now.”

YOU KNOW WHEN I SIT DOWN AND WHEN I RISE, YOU UNDERSTAND MY THOUGHTS FROM AFAR… Earlier that morning, Matthew woke up from the sidewalk he’d slept on for years, gathered up his sleeping bag and backpack, and drove with us to Green Oaks, a psychiatric care hospital in Dallas. Matthew wasn’t doing well and he was ready for help.

We signed in at Green Oaks and watched a Cupcake Wars rerun on TV while we waited. The judges were raving about a smoked salmon cupcake a contestant had made and Matthew’s response to that was a simple and emphatic “Nope. Why they gotta mess with cupcakes like that?” He’s right.

We then dreamed of all the right ways cupcakes should be made—red velvet, vanilla, chocolate, strawberry… Matthew smiling as he recalled each flavor. Then the doctor called his name. Matthew. A name that means Gift of God.

We walked back and waited again with him as he was being evaluated. He didn’t want to be alone. Weight, blood pressure check, lots of questions, more waiting, and then the news… Matthew was told that there wasn’t enough concerning them for him to be admitted. He was denied.

YOU SEARCH OUT MY PATH AND MY LYING DOWN, YOU ARE FAMILIAR WITH ALL MY WAYS… So, we left, unsure of what the next step should be for our friend.

“I can’t go back to the streets,” Matthew said.

We silently prayed as we drove away, updated Matthew’s long-time friend and Founder of THI, Elisabeth Jordan, about what happened, and then did the next best thing… headed to Chick-fil-A.

Matthew getting creative at Umbrella Gallery

Matthew hadn’t eaten all morning, we were all hungry, and it was just time to introduce our friend to the magic of Chick-fil-A sauce and waffle fries. He was a fan.

As we drove back sipping on our Chick-fil-A lemonade with full stomachs, still unsure of what was next, Elisabeth messaged us.

“Can you bring Matthew to Mokah,” she asked.

Mokah is a coffee shop next to Umbrella Gallery in Deep Ellum, a place we often meet with our friends. We walked around Umbrella Gallery as we waited for Elisabeth to arrive, Matthew with a toothy grin as he looked at all of the photos displayed. Then, prompted by the artist’s exhibit, took selfies imitating her art, Matthew belly laughing the whole time.

EVEN BEFORE A WORD IS ON MY TONGUE, YOU KNOW ALL ABOUT IT… As soon as Elisabeth arrived, we got in her car and headed straight to Bonton Farms. Elisabeth introduced the Bonton Farms’ crew to Matthew about a month ago when he started working there. Now, Elisabeth and the Bonton Farms’ team had something more up their sleeve for our friend.

“You’re not going back on the streets, Matthew. You will have a better place to sleep tonight,” Elisabeth told him as we drove.

“That’s what I want,” Matthew said. “I just need to be away from there, from the drugs and the people, and I’ll be okay.”

We pulled into Bonton Farms, sat down around a table together with Trog, and talked. Matthew telling us about his past few days, his clothes that were stolen, the money that he’s owed, how his mind plays tricks on him.


Trog gave Matthew a flower for his new home

“Matthew, if we were drowning and you had a life jacket, you’d give us your life jacket, right?” Trog asked.

“Of course,” Matthew responded.

“That’s what we want to do for you. We want to help keep you above water right now.”

“Okay,” Matthew said. “Thank you.”

“If your stuff gets stolen or someone owes you money, instead of getting angry, think about how that person might need it more than you, and then let it go.” Trog said. “We will help you get what you need right now. We are family and we’re going to help keep you above water.”

“Matthew,” Elisabeth said, “Bonton Farms is going to give you one of their Pallet Homes… and you can start living in it tonight. Is that something you would want?”

“YES!” he said.


It’s been a week now since that day. It’s been a week of Matthew being off the street, a week of Matthew getting to lay his head on a pillow in his own air conditioned space. A week of being in a safe community that deeply cares for him.

“My sleep’s been the best it’s been in years,” Matthew shared.

Matthew needed more than one thing to come together for him at the same time: a job, a safe place to live, stabilizing medication, and most of all a community that will stick with him and help him make this transition. With Bonton Farms, we were able to offer all of this, and he said YES.

Now he has a home. A place to lay his head and a bigger family that includes us (you can’t get rid of us ) and Bonton folks who are there to support him in his walk toward healing. Our friend Matthew, Gift of God, there is even more to come…

P.S. It’s also been a week of loving on the goats (have you ever seen a smile so big?) and getting to ride his new bike with the kids.

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