Lance Cpl Matthew J. Broehm
September 1, 1988 – November 4, 2010
Let me back up a few years, and tell you about our life in Williams, Arizona – from the end of 2003 until early 2007.
We attended a church called First Baptist Church of Williams. We adored our pastor, Charles Lord, and made many dear friends. Among them was the Broehm family.
Wolf attended a men’s group with the father, Doug, who was sometimes accompanied by his teenage son Matthew. Matthew was a sweet, cheerful young man, and always on fire for Christ.
He was also a Tae Kwan Do black belt, and became Nick’s instructor.
When we left Williams, we followed Matthew’s life through his Facebook updates.
In 2007, he felt called to join the Marine Corps.
Although this didn’t fit with my image of Matthew, I certainly never doubted that he was following God’s guidance for his life. He remained active in the youth ministry at First Baptist, and even served for a time as the interim youth pastor.
Earlier this year, he was married. He was 21, she was 18.
In the Fall of 2010, Matthew was deployed on his first combat assignment – to Afghanistan.
He had only a year of service remaining. He planned to attend seminary when he came home, and follow his calling to become a full-time Youth Pastor.
Even Snopes validated a circulating prayer request for the Darkhorse Marine Battalion, because of the heavy losses they were suffering in their duties in a particularly key (and violent) area of the country. They lost 9 Marines in 4 days, and at least 13 in the space of a month.
According to the sketchy news reports, one of the Afghan soldiers who was working with our troops opened fire on them on November 4, 2010. He escaped the scene, as was lafter reported to be in the protection of the Taliban.
Two young men were killed.
We’ve all been grieving over the loss of this special young man.
Wolf is certain that God will use the incident in a powerful way… Perhaps to touch some of the Marines serving with him, perhaps people back home.
Our then-Pastor’s wife wrote a moving blog post about Matthew.
He was brought home on Veteran’s day, and the nearby city of Flagstaff (where the airport is) held a parade in his honor.
The service to celebrate his life will be on Saturday the 20th. It had to be moved from the church to the Middle School auditorium, and they still anticipate an overflow crowd. A Marine honor guard will be present, for full honors and a 21 Gun Salute.
In a lovely and fitting gesture, his parents have asked that in lieu of flowers people send a donation to the First Baptist Church Youth Ministry in Matthew’s name.
Some amazing thoughts have been posted on his Facebook wall over the last two weeks:
- His sacrifice is a picture of Christ’s, reminding us of both their love for us.
- “Guard the gates of Heaven!”
- Gone From My Sight by Henry Van Dyke …
And, just at the moment when someone says, “There, she is gone,”
there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices
ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!”
- Matty – thank you. Not only for giving your life for something you believe in, but for allowing me to be a part of it. Words can’t even come close to describing how big a hole you leave behind – we can only try to live our lives with the same passion and Christ-focus that you did.
- Thank you for your service to our country, but so much more than that, thank you for serving the Lord, it was this part of you that you will be known for. You are truly missed, save a seat for us in heaven, we want to be chillin’ with you.
We weren’t ready to lose you, Matthew.
But it is such a comfort to know that you were ready, in the way that matters.
Farewell… For now. I look forward to seeing you again soon, my Brother.