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Mother finds God’s plan after death of her son

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Warren Bradley Dykes and his mother, Janice Carruth, had three days of heaven during their November 1997 trip to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. “We had the time of our lives,” said Janice. “On the way over and back we played mind-challenging games, sang off-key, laughed, told corny jokes and stopped everywhere we saw a Blue Bell ice cream sign.”
Just four and a half hours after their return home to Mississippi from Texas, Carruth received the call: Her son had been shot. A few hours later at 4 a.m., he died.
For Carruth, joy was seeing Warren set his sights on a journey through Southwestern. Now the only joy she could find was in knowing God still had a plan.
“God had created, loved, saved, protected, used, disciplined, forgiven and called him,” Janice said. “Warren was a gifted and talented young man with a heart for helping people of all races and from all walks of life. He persevered in his Christian walk and was ready for whatever the Lord had for him, even death.”
Newspaper headlines in Mississippi shortly after the killing read, “No leads found in shooting.” Police still have made no arrests.
Although Carruth is on a journey to healing, she finds comfort in God’s Word and in reflecting on Warren’s life and the numerous people he touched.
In 1996, God led Warren to the Baptist Children’s Village in Clinton, Miss., where he served as a children’s caretaker and counselor. “He came with an excitement in his heart that permeated everything he did, and he never once lost that excitement,” said Ronny E. Robinson, executive director.
“Warren rejoiced in the realization that God’s love is without limits, and he loved the children in the same manner. Children have an uncanny ability to know when someone truly loves them,” Robinson said. “The children of the village responded to Warren’s love, a love found only in those who are willing to yield fully to our Lord.”
Warren also became involved in the Ropes Challenge Course at the children’s village. “Warren was one of the most courageous individuals I have ever seen on our ropes course,” said Chip Price, assistant director of programs. “He was exceptional and willing to challenge himself beyond his own fears. In every photograph I have of Warren on our course, he is supporting or spotting someone as they attempt to master an element. He was quick to nurture and willingly gave his strength to others.” Warren later became a trained ropes course facilitator and was excited about Southwestern’s proposal for a ropes course on campus.
As Carruth compiled albums of her son’s belongings, she found two maps of Southwestern’s Fort Worth campus. “On one of the maps I found Warren Drive, which runs behind the children’s center, the counseling center and the recreation aerobics center,” she said. “Then God revealed to me a beautiful parallel when I compared Warren’s life to Warren Drive; Warren Drive comes to an end at the property where the ropes course will be constructed.” The ropes course will be dedicated in memory of Warren Bradley Dykes.
Warren accepted Christ at 19 as a college freshman. The Scripture he wrote in his Bible that led him to Christ was 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.” He and his roommate, Ken Dick, knelt and prayed in the middle of their dorm room floor committing to pray for each other and to witness. Over the next year they helped lead six people to Christ.
Warren graduated from McComb (Miss.) High School in 1988 and from Jones Junior College in 1993. He was a patient caretaker and counselor at the Ellisville State Mental Hospital, Ellisville, Miss., from 1992-93. After college he served as youth and recreation intern in 1994 and 1995 at First Baptist, McComb, and was a children’s caretaker and counselor at the Baptist Children’s Village in Clinton from 1996-97.
Warren’s family and friends remember his compassion and his love of life, laughter and music. “He was at his best when using his gift of music to relate and minister to others,” said Byron L. Malone, minister of education and students, First Baptist, McComb.
“For those who knew Warren, his death was a great loss,” Malone said. “However, in a world where the depravity of man is evident and cruelty will claim many victims, we know Warren was not a victim of death but a victor through Jesus Christ.”
Gifts to the Warren B. Dykes Challenge Course can be sent to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Institutional Advancement, P.O. Box 22500, Fort Worth, TX 76122-0500.

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  • Karen Varnedoe