By Kjersti Andreassen, ’16
Parkland is to many known as a low-income neighborhood, with social problems and underprivileged families. However, some try to stem the tide. One of these is Matt Dupea (25), a young man who has lived in Tacoma his whole life. For him, however, community outreach doesn’t stop with Tacoma.
Matt Dupea has served his community for several years, through a local church; Puget Sound Christian Center. In August, the church was one of the main driving forces putting on an event with the organization Convoy of Hope. Dupea was part of a logistical team, helping to put up tents, tables and chairs and whatever else was needed.
Dupea says the event gave more than 6,000 people from the greater Tacoma area the opportunity to receive hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth of goods and services they otherwise could never afford. “It was really cool, and fun, to be part of,” Dupea says.
Everything from free haircuts, school supplies, shoes donated by TOMS, to a children’s carnival, a free lunch, a job fair, school physicals and breast cancer examinations were offered. According to Convoy of Hope, a total of $1 million worth of goods and services were donated.
Dupea said his home church not only focuses on building up the local community. According to the church website, the congregation has both a local and global vision, and supports several missionaries overseas.
“Instead of being more inwardly focused and developing church numbers,” Dupea says, “the focus has been on actually making a difference in the community and the world at large, and sending people out to help.”
In two months, Matt Dupea says he will take this heritage with him as he embarks on an international adventure of his own. In January he will move to Hawaii to become a missionary.
“It’s been something that I’ve wanted to do for about a decade,” he says. Growing up, he says, Dupea had several family friends who were involved with Youth With A Mission (YWAM), the organization he will now be part of.
The school Matt Dupea will attend is a discipleship training school (DTS), with the name “Fire and Fragrance.” According to the organization’s website, it aims to train people for lives of ministry and service, under the motto of “knowing God, and making Him known.” The program takes six-months to complete, with a three-month-long training and lecture phase, and a three-month-long outreach phase, often in a third-world country.
Recently, he says, he discovered the school’s founder had co-written a book by the same name. “It was like hearing someone else write the exact same things I’d been thinking for years,” Dupea said.
“This is the most exciting thing I’ve ever set out to do, but it’s also the hardest for me, personally,” Dupea says. “I love my life in Tacoma. I love the people, my friends, my job — I love it all. I’m sad to leave it behind, and I can’t wait to come back.”