Every Day A Gift
In Anthony’s house church, he found a loving family who cared about him and for him. In their love, he saw the pure love of Christ, and it began a work in his heart.
Anthony Conners is very proud of his apartment, and well he should be. Clean and well-cared for, it represents just how far God has brought him. He is the first to tell you that he isn’t perfect, but God has blessed him despite the difficulties he has encountered.
Anthony’s mother died early in his life, and he never knew his father. An orphanage took him in and, in his time there, he encountered every form of abuse imaginable.
Eventually he was able to escape the abuse and he went to live with his aunt, a woman very active in her church and her community. Though she took time to teach him to be a gentleman, throughout his time spent in her home, she repeatedly discouraged him by telling him that he couldn’t do anything right. By the time he was seventeen years old, he believed her.
The next several decades of Anthony’s life were filled with much pain and hardship. He found himself in and out rehab for drugs, fell prey to alcoholism, and came close to losing his life. In his relationships with drug dealers, he found himself in numerous life-threatening situations. Even when describing those dark times, Anthony points to God’s provision how He kept Anthony alive when his circumstances could have killed him.
His life continued in a cycle of destruction, until one day he met a member of Apex. Through the influence of this man, he began attending house church; eventually Anthony even found himself sitting amongst the congregation on Sundays, attending church consistently for the first time in his life.
In his house church, was a particular loving family who truly cared for him, and it wasn’t just lip service, they lived out their compassion for him in real and practical ways. For example, he recounts a day he was scheduled for surgery but had no way to and from the procedure other than public transportation. One member of his house church volunteered to drive him to and from the hospital. It was through this act of service Anthony began to realize what it meant to belong to the Body of Christ. In their love, he saw the pure love of Christ, and it began a transformative work in his heart.
Many times since God has demonstrated His love in Anthony’s life, and though his biological family members are few and distant, he sees his house church as his true family.
Anthony will tell you he has come a long way. His apartment is a clear
example to him, and many of his closest friends, how his life has begun anew. For the first time in his life, he owns furniture, which to him is a clear testimony of the work God has done. He has been able to host a men’s Bible study, a fact that brings him much joy. As he ages, he sees every day as a precious gift from God, a sign that the King keeps close watch over him.
He has experienced many hardships, many of which could have cost him his life. Despite it all, he has a joy about him – a ready laugh, and a willing heart. God has brought Anthony far, and Anthony’s love for God and His people is a testament to the faithfulness of the One who first loved us. (1 John 4:19).
Author- Melissa Dunkel
Photographer- Jon Goodgion