Anthony is With Jesus Now

Last week, Anthony died. He was 28 years old. Anthony had been a member of the Dream Center family since 2007. He moved over to the LSU area about a year ago so we stopped seeing him around.

Just before this past Christmas, pastor Craig found out that Anthony was in the hospital and was not doing well. The tumors he had been battling with his entire life had continued to ravish his body to the point of needing radiation.

Pastor Craig went to visit Anthony several times in the hospital and though his physical body continued to decline, Pastor Craig said that Anthony was great spiritually and very much at peace.

A couple of weeks ago he told Pastor Craig that he was going to come to church that next Sunday. We were all excited at that possibility. But Anthony never left the hospital. 
Only when it was time to really go home.

Happy for you Anthony, your with our dad, the creator of the universe. And no more tumors, seizures or pain.

That is good.

In case you don't know Anthony, here is a story I wrote about him in November of 2008.

Anthony is 24 yrs old. He was born with tumors all over his body, and a seizure disorder. Doctors said the tumors would take over his organs by the time he was five and kill him. But God had other plans.

His mother was not an active part of his life, his father was a minister that was also not a part of his life. Both were married to other people when Anthony was conceived. His Auntie raised him. She taught him about Jesus and when she died in 1999, Anthony was devastated. He cried out to God and God met him there. He started walking with Jesus.

By 2005 Anthony was struggling with life. His mothers had died from hard living and Anthony felt far away from the God that he knew was the only true comfort and peace.

One Saturday he happened upon a huge party going on at Gus Young Park. As he approached the gathering of happy strangers he saw his former class mate, Marcell, who is paraplegic and bound to a wheel chair. He walked over to say hi to Marcell and found himself staying, enjoying food, games and fun. The party was a "WOW Jam", which is an evangelical outreach to inner cities. At the end of the Wow Jam the preacher gave a call to anyone that wanted to know Jesus, Anthony went forward and committed his life to God. The next day he was baptised at that same park along with over a hundred other people who had come to know Jesus at the WOW Jam.

Several months passed and Anthony had yet to find a church since his WOW jam experience. One Saturday as he waited to catch the city bus a group of people from Healing Place Church walked up to him with fliers about their new campus, The Baton Rouge Dream Center at Winbourne and North Foster. He immediately knew that this was the church that had hosted the WOW Jam and he knew he wanted to be a part of that community of faith.

Everything about Anthony's life, from conception to adulthood gives him an excuse to give up. Many people dealing with a lot less give up everyday. But Anthony had and Auntie that told him about the only real hope in life, Jesus, and Anthony knew there was more to life then pain, disability, and failure, God had a great plan for Anthony even if society didn't.

He has had two surgeries to remove tumors from his spine and his brain and yet he still has tumors all over his body. He has very little use of his left arm which is shorter then his right arm and contains less muscle. He was told he would never be able to learn, his seizures and a severe learning disability would make school impossible. But he made good grades throughout school and is now in Culinary school determined to make his way in society.

Today Anthony serves faithfully at the Baton Rouge Dream Center and he is changing the world with his determination and his amazing heart for Jesus. You wont see Anthony commanding a crowd or being the center of attention, you'll more likely see him quietly smiling and greeting people. That unassuming light that warms everyone around him without us even knowing where that light is coming from, salt of the earth, that's Anthony.


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