Matthew West is well known for providing hope and healing through the power of the story in his songs. He receives thousands of stories and writes songs based on the love, hurt, pain, healing, forgiveness and humanity found in them.
He received a set of personal stories from fifth graders at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School last fall. Teacher Chris Stabile used his song “Hello My Name Is” to underscore the lesson that each of us have our own journey that God wrote especially for each of us. She was inspired by her own fifth-grade experience of writing to famous cartoonist Charles M. Schultz and receiving a package from him in response.
With the binder of stories, they included a Thank You to Matthew for his inspirational music that they listen to regularly in their Religion class. They learned about the stories that inspired him to write the songs. They shared that they are learning that Religion isn’t just a subject, but, rather a way of life. This relationship with Jesus needs attention each day. Then, they included an invitation to visit their school since he would be just a few miles from their school after he performed at the nearby Grand Canyon University March 10.
And, he said, “Yes!” He was able to chat with the fifth graders March 11 before the Kindergarteners came in to serenade him with one of his own songs, “All In”. Matthew got a kick out of a particularly dramatic 5-year-old whose name, ironically, is Matthew. Then, the fourth-graders were able to join the group for a Question & Answer session with Matthew.
The highlight of the visit was when the fifth-graders were able to share the video they made to his song, “Hello, My Name Is.” Matthew seemed humbled by their enthusiasm and knowledge of his music. But, most of all, he encouraged each of them by telling them that God loves each of them and that they are each a child of the one, true King!
The greater community will get a chance to hear his latest song, “Unplanned,” beginning March 22. It’s the title song of the film with the same name due in theaters March 29.