You can’t usually find monkeys and palm trees in the high hills of Pocatello, Idaho, but you can find them at 11-year-old Matt Lewis’s house. Matt is so good at making animals out of colored balloons that he was hired to make balloon animals at a party store. He is also planning to sell his colorful balloon creations at the state fair.
Matt has to get really close to the balloons to see them because he is legally blind. This is because he has albinism, which means that he has no pigment (color) in his hair, eyes, or skin. Matt’s sister, Ellen (15), and brother Cameron (17) also have albinism.
Sometimes it is hard to have albinism. Matt and his siblings have to put sunscreen on every hour because their skin is very sensitive to the sun. It is also hard for Matt to do some things that children his age do because he can’t see very well.
But Matt and his siblings don’t let those things stop them. In fact, Cameron says that he, Ellen, and Matt have special abilities because they can “blend in with the snow.”
Matt has other abilities too. He plays the piano and just started playing the drums. He also likes to play chess with Cameron and sculpt mountains and valleys out of the sand in his backyard. Matt especially likes playing with plastic building blocks. He built a fleet of spaceships out of the little blocks. His dream is to build a life-size Titanic out of them.
When his brother Tyler got his mission call, Matt gave him all of the money he had made from making balloon animals to get ready for his mission.
Matt is already a great missionary, his mom says. He gave his two best friends a poster with the gospel standards on it so they would know what he believes in. He often invites them to Primary activities too.
Matt is also the neighborhood host. He likes to make sure everybody feels welcome at his house.
Matt enjoys having family home evening and praying with his family. His family also likes going on road trips together. One of their favorite things to do is travel to temples around the United States. Matt is excited to perform baptisms for the dead when he turns 12.
Matt and his family enjoy skiing together and swimming at a nearby hot springs. He also likes riding with his mom on her scooter. They even have matching helmets!
Matt really likes earning merit badges. Since both of his older brothers are Eagle Scouts, he has two great examples to follow. And he is well on his way. Matt has already earned merit badges in Music, Coin Collecting, and Electronics.
The Scout motto is “be prepared.” Matt Lewis is definitely prepared to continue sharing the gospel with his friends.
Food: Chicken wings and corn on the cob
Scripture story: Noah’s ark
Hymn: “O My Father”
Hobby: Playing with building blocks
School subject: Math
Photographs by Christina Smith; family photo © K&T Photography