What would you need if you suddenly lost your HERO to cancer when you were 14 years old? Where would you and your family find support, encouragement, and empathy? Who would God use to share his comfort and grace? These tough questions were answered for one family when the Portillos connected with Arizona Lutheran Academy.
The ALA family is a really a partnership of many diverse families with unique stories. Armando, Jr., and Tammy Portillo were long-time Laveen residents. Choosing the right school for their son, Armando III, was crucial because he performs better in small groups with one-on-one teacher support. Father and son attended “Coyote for a Day” in fall of 2016. Throughout the day, Armando, Jr., captured pictures of his only son connecting with new friends in classes and at the pep rally. Armando and Tammy knew that ALA was the right school for their son, and they were excited for high school to begin the next fall.
Life changed dramatically for the Portillos a few months later, on December 1, 2016. Tammy shares, “I remember that day like it was yesterday … five days before my loving husband turned 50.” Armando, Jr., was diagnosed with colon cancer. The initial prognosis was positive but the family soon learned that chemo was ineffective, and Armando passed away on January 23, 2017, just seven weeks after the devastating diagnosis. Tammy lost the love of her life and four kids lost the HERO who supported them, tutored them, and gave them a shoulder to cry on. In Tammy’s words, “sharing stories and having family dinner at night will forever be different.”
As the start of school approached, a number of ALA staff members connected with Tammy to share their support, prayers, and Gospel encouragement. She knew ALA was the right place for her family, and specifically for Armando III. “God leads us and shows the way; sometimes we don’t understand but I truly feel ALA was in our plans well before we even knew it ourselves.” Armando feels at home, loved by fellow students, and supported by teachers
like Pastor Bode, who takes time for Armando. Tammy is grateful that her son (who lives with his family of all girls) “can talk with Pastor Bode about anything at anytime.” The Portillos’ experience shows the heart of ALA’s ministry: share Jesus in our words and actions!
Now I am asking you to be a HERO to an ALA student like Armando.
ALA Tuition Assistance has been a blessing to the Portillos, and now you have a unique opportunity to help an ALA student. A generous supporter will match all Tuition Assistance donations up to $50,000 through October 31.
Please help us reach our goal of “50 in Fifty” by making your gift today. That’s $50,000 in fifty days. Your donation will have double the impact!
Yours in Christ,
Director of Mission Advancement
P.S. Your gift of $250, $100, $50 or more will help affirm Tammy’s belief that “I don’t know many places that can make you feel so loved as ALA does.” Prayerfully consider how you can make “50 in Fifty” a reality.
P.P.S. All gifts though October 31 will be matched up to $50,000!