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Let Your Light Shine – Mo Alaniz

Let Your Light Shine - Mo Alaniz 32

Yesterday we honored and celebrated the life of our sweet cousin Mo. It was a beautiful service and time to share memories and the hope we have in knowing he is now free in glory with his Maker.

We wrote things to share his story and wanted to share them with you so you can get to know who Mo was and how he touched so many lives.

From Quimi…

It hurts that we’re here. It hurts that when Mo is 30 years old we are here instead of watching him coach a basketball team or seeing him speak to youth about working hard and living for God. Those were the things he was passionate about. Those were the things we wanted to do.

But he’s doing better things now. He’s now completely free in heaven with his Heavenly Father and he’s probably making tortillas with our Buelita since he and I could never figure out how to make them when we tried every day after school our junior year in high school. 

Mo would want us to share good memories and share about the hope and the peace He found in Jesus. So that’s what I’ll do.

Mo is 5 months older than me. So we grew up doing everything together. I wanted to be just like Mo. If Mo was doing something, I had to do it too. If Mo had it, I had to have it too. I was probably pretty annoying. But Mo was always so kind and patient with me. That’s who Mo always was. Kind to everyone, never knew an enemy. 

When we were 5, we’d sit on our Buelita’s bed watching cartoons and drinking little cups of coffee with our pinkies up. We’d be so excited whenever she came home from the remate because she’d always get us something cool. Like plastic swords, or power ranger costumes with the plastic masks, or tiny accordions, or WWF wrestling belts. It was the best. 

We loved playing in youth league together. We would always try to make sure that me, him & our cousin The Eric were on the same team so we could practice plays at our Buelita’s house and just pass the ball only to each other during games. Nobody else got the ball lol.

As we grew, his love for basketball grew. Anytime you saw him, he had a basketball with him. He was always working on his skills. I always admired his work ethic and passion for the sport. He stayed humble and worked hard to be his best. 

He was friends with everyone and made everyone feel like they were hilarious because he’d laugh at every joke. Since Mo was usually pretty quiet, most of his contributions to conversations were either a laugh or a movie quote. Mostly either from Dumb & Dumber, The Sandlot, Nacho Libre or Hardball. 

When we graduated high school, we were so excited about all the graduation money we had that we decided to buy a Volkswagen Van together. For road trips obviously. But after driving around for a few weeks looking for cars that were for sale on the side of the road, we ended spending most of our money on food or pit stops at the mall lol. So we only had $200 left each and found a baby blue and super rusty ‘61 Ford Falcon. We were going to fix it up and go on tour because he was always so supportive of me and my music. 

When we were 18, I moved to Nashville for a few months to record and he went on a mission trip to Mexico. I was so bummed I couldn’t go with him. That trip during spring break changed his life. When he came back, he called me and I literally didn’t recognize the person I was talking to. My once quiet cousin was telling me about how Jesus changed his life and how he wanted to tell everyone about it. He was telling me about how he wanted to speak to youth about God and tell them his testimony so that they can see that Jesus changes lives. I was so shocked. 

A few weeks later, our cousin Max was born with some heart complications and needed surgery. I remember when Mo called me to tell me, I was so scared and I was crying and I remember Mo said, “Quimi, it’s okay, don’t be afraid to pray for a miracle.” His faith was so strong and so inspiring. Max is now our miracle boy.

That summer, when we were 19, I came back to California and he was on fire. For those seven months before his accident, he would call me to tell me about a verse that he read or a song he heard that inspired him or we’d hang out and just plan out our tour that we’d been dreaming about but now it involved him speaking and me singing. It was so awesome. His passion was contagious. 

That fall, we both started going to MJC. He was going to play hoops and I was going to play tennis. We were pumped and kept talking about how we were going to take on the school together. The day of his accident was supposed to be his first home game at MJC. He had spent the night at my house the night before to work on a paper. It was November, so that morning I woke up and was working on Christmas songs. He came up and said how his favorite song was “Carol of The Bells” and that I should record a “Quimi choir” singing it lol. Then he said, “welp, see ya later” (a line from Dumb & Dumber) cuz he had to go to class. I said, “okay, see you tonight at your game”. He goes, “not if I see you first” lol, he always said that. Then he left. I started working on that song and then three hours later, got the call that he was in a car accident.

Mo’s biggest prayer was that God would use him. He would always say that he wanted God to use him to share His love with others. This is something he wrote in his notebook.

And that didn’t stop when the accident happened. Although he and I never got to go on tour together, God gave me the opportunity to tour and everywhere I could, I shared Mo’s story. I shared his story with so many different people in different states and in different countries. I can’t count how many messages I’ve received from people all over telling me about how much Mo’s story impacted them and brought them closer to God. 

It’s amazing how great God is. That even in something so tragic as Mo’s accident, God can still answer Mo’s prayers and share His love with people. I’m forever grateful to the Lord for my best friend and brother, Mo. I’m grateful for all that the Lord has taught me through his life and I’m eternally grateful that this isn’t goodbye, it’s just a “welp, see you later”. 

Mo’s favorite verse:

Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.


From Sami…

It’s surreal to think about how life can so easily be stripped away from you. And it reminds me that the days we spend here are limited. We make the most of the time we have here and hope it leaves an impact.

Mo did that.

A guy so humbled, so kind, so bold, so loving, so brave, so talented. The list goes on. His heart changed forever when He met Jesus.

The light that shone through him was radiant, ever glowing, a spark of fire.

Jesus did that.

Mo has inspired and still inspires me to do good, do work, and do what scares me.

One of his favorite quotes from one of his favorite movies, the sandlot says, “Heroes get remembered, but legends never die”

Mo is a legend.

I will always always always remember him yell my name “Samo!” when I’d walk into a room.. and I’d try to mimic him and yell out his name with the same effect, but his name was shorter, lol

Mo’s laugh was just… contagious.

When the accident happened I hadn’t known for at least 4 hours. I was in junior high at the time and since my dad worked at the church of the school I went to, I always walked over to his office after class. This time, he wasn’t in his office and he usually always was. But I didn’t think anything of it, I thought maybe he had gone to talk to someone. So I called my dad and that’s when it happened… the most traumatic, devastating, thing that I never in a million years thought would happen. Mo had been in a very bad accident that left him in a comatose state. I couldn’t even gather my thoughts around it when I heard the news, but I knew it was bad as I heard my dad sobbing on the phone telling me.

Like Quimi said above, Mo impacted so many lives. When I arrived at Memorial Hospital, Mo still hadn’t made it in. But as I turned the corner of this huge hallway, it was packed, filled with so many people who were waiting to watch Mo be wheeled in. In my head, I thought, “who the heck are these people?!” A lot of them I didn’t know, Mo brought so many people together, he touched their lives with his sweet spirit, tender heart, and humble demeanor. It was amazing even in the midst of a tragedy.

I know Mo is having a party without us in heaven with Jesus, but I miss having him here with us. It’s not the same, it’s hard, it’s weird,

I wish I could hug him one more time

Watch him play basketball one more time

Talk to him about Jesus one more time

Laugh about ridiculous things one more time

But I know that one day, we will do that all again, and I am pumped for that day.

Although his time here in the temporary is over, he lives boldly in the presence of the Most High.

Right after Mo’s accident, I had a hard time going to visit him because of the state he was in. I just didnt want to believe it was real. Eventually, I saw that this was the Lord’s plan for him, even if I didn’t understand it. I loved going to visit and make sure that he was comfortable, sing him songs, catch him up on my life, and sometimes see that he longed so hard to respond to us. You could see the emotion in his face… it was so beautiful.

I hope that you know how much you mean to me, how much I love you and know that life with you was nothing short of amazing.

I love you Mo, my brother, my primo, my best friend.

You are forever in our hearts.

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