Happy Birthday Donte Moses Preston!

Happy Birthday Donte Moses Preston! March 28, 2024

Donte Moses Preston in his wheelchair during an activity at St.Colletta School in Alexandria, Virginia. Picture taken by the staff at St. Colletta school in Alexandria, Virginia in April 2003.


My original plan for this week’s article was to shed light on the history of Good Friday. Instead, I  would like to wish a heavenly happy belated birthday to Donte Moses Preston.

Who is Donte Moses Preston? 

Donte Lee Moses Preston is my youngest brother, born on March 27, 1994, in Washington, DC. Yesterday (March 27) would have been his thirtieth birthday. In honor of his memory, I will share his story (from my perspective) and impact on my life.

His Life and Joy

I first met Donte when I was seven as we were both foster children of Kenneth and Florence in Helping Children Grow. (The Prestons officially adopted us and our sister Charmika in March 2002).

We were similar in that we both had physical disabilities that kept us from being considered “normal.” This is fitting because Donte Moses wasn’t normal as his presence was a gift money can’t buy.

He was blind, non-verbal, and depended on others to care for his every need. Yet, he embodied a sense of joy and peace making him a delight to everyone who knew him. 

Though unable to see or speak, he recognized everyone’s voice and would smile or make joyful groans when spoken to. He loved attending school at St.Coletta in Alexandria, Virginia, being outdoors, attending church, and listening to Gospel music. 

Psalm 150:6 says, “let everything that has breath praise the Lord” (New International Verison). Donte had no problem doing this every Sunday, singing along with the choir. He would even have an attitude on those rare days we missed church. 

He really loved God in his own way. Donte’s demeanor in worship proves all creation is aware of the true and living God (Romans 1:20). 

I think he sensed the presence of God so strongly because our mother chose to have him baptized. I believe God rewarded her faithfulness by continually dwelling with Donte.

His Suffering

While Donte had a unique sense of God’s presence, this did not exempt him from suffering. 

For Donte, this suffering came through health challenges which caused him to spend much of his latter days in and out of the hospital. He spent the last twenty months of his life battling a mysterious illness that caused vomiting from internal bleeding. Thankfully, the Lord ended his suffering at 6:01 a.m. on August 28, 2006.   

Suffering for God’s Glory

His Purpose

It’s difficult not to question why God would allow Donte to deal with various health challenges. Revisiting these memories is uncomfortable, but I know Donte’s pain was not in vain.

John 9:2-3 mentions how a man was born blind, so the power of God can be seen in him” (New Living Translation). Over the years, I’ve learned  God allows people to have disabilities so he can get glory out of their lives. 

God was glorified in Donte’s life through his laughter and joyful attitude. The joy of the Lord was his strength and an encouragement to others.

The Lord was also glorified in his suffering. I believe God used my mother’s faith and prayers to witness to doctors, nurses, and aids who cared for Donte in his time of need.

I also believe God used my mother’s responsibility of caring for Donte so she could be a resource for other families with disabled children. This is proven as she was able to provide aid to the daughter of and comfort a close family friend who also had a physical disability. 

It’s amazing to see how God comforted my mother amid Donte’s suffering so she could do the same as Paul teaches in 2 Corinthians 1:4.

His Impact

Along with God using my brother to teach my mother how to endure suffering so she could help others, Donte also impacted my life. 

The daily challenges he had to endure served as a source of motivation for me. People often tell me they admire how I do not allow cerebral palsy to be a hindrance in my life.

While I appreciate their encouragement, I feel obligated to do my best because Donte (and my sister Charmika) were in far worse physical conditions than me. Seeing their challenges helped me realize I have no reason to complain or quit because they would love to be in my position.

Donte’s presence also taught me to appreciate life because his happiness made everything feel alright. I wish Donte was still alive because I’m missing a source of inspiration and peace that could help me maintain a better attitude toward life. 

What I Hope You’ve Learned

I hope reading Donte Moses Preston’s s story helps you learn three lessons. 

The first lesson is to appreciate and find joy in life. Donte always possessed an infectious joy that people couldn’t help but be happy in his presence. His demeanor is a reminder to appreciate life regardless of circumstances.

Another lesson I hope you learn from Donte Moses Preston is people with disabilities have a purpose. Though they may lack some “normal” physical and mental capabilities, God still uses their life for a glorious purpose.

Therefore, when encountering people with disabilities, engage them as you would others and watch God use them to bless your life.

Lastly, I hope Donte’s testimony inspires you to share the story of someone who positively impacts your life. Doing so can be a healthy way to confront unresolved grief if the person has passed away. If the individual is living, sharing their testimony is a great way to honor and express the impact they make in your life. 

Donte Moses Preston may be gone from this life, but he will never be forgotten.   “One generation shall commend your works to another and shall declare your mighty acts” Psalm 145:4; English Standard Version).



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