SBC Life Articles

Carrying the Cross into Chaos

Dazed by the explosion, fifteen-year-old Mark Anthony took a step backward. He slipped in someone's blood on the sidewalk.

Whether by courage, inspiration from God, or simply a response to hurting people, the son of Southern Baptist representatives John and Connie Anthony had deliberately entered the crowded Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall in Jerusalem just seconds after two bombs exploded there Sept. 4.

He saw the third bomb go off shortly afterward. He saw a street full of bodies and body parts.

Avoiding terrorism has become a way of life for the Anthonys, as it has for other residents of Jerusalem. So it is something of a mystery to Connie Anthony that her son walked into the chaos, while others with him turned instinctively and ran the other direction.

"We have always taught them if there's ever a bombing or whatever to go the other way," she said.

Mark explained his actions from a higher plane of thought.

"When I asked Mark why he went into it all, he said he pulled his cross on a chain out from under his shirt and was going to go help the people and thought, 'If they saw my cross and knew I was a Christian, maybe some of them would believe in Jesus,'" his mother recalled.

"That was what came from inside. But then the grimness and gruesomeness must have overwhelmed him."

A classmate found him ten to fifteen minutes later just outside the area, dazed and stiff. They walked together to the Anglican International School, where both are students.

Seven people were killed in the attack, including the three terrorists, who blew themselves up. The attack was linked to the militant Hamas Islamic terrorist group, which opposes peace talks between Palestinian and Israeli government leaders. Some 200 people were wounded.

Other Southern Baptist representatives also came frighteningly close to the explosions. Ray Altman was driving about a block from Ben Yehuda at the time of the blasts. Ray and Rose Mary Register had been there just a few hours earlier eating breakfast and shopping.

Two other children of Southern Baptist representatives, as well as other classmates, were walking with Mark Anthony. They were headed to Ben Yehuda to buy art supplies.

Mark was still numb when his mother arrived at school to pick him up just afterward. Even a day later, he was unable to recall much about what happened before his friend arrived to walk him back to the school.

The Anthonys are asking friends to pray that "somehow, in God's great wisdom, this experience can be used in Mark's life to the glory of God," she said.

"Was God's purpose done during this time?" his mother asked. "Maybe people did see the cross in their pain and confusion, and maybe a seed was planted. We don't really know the answer now."

    About the Author

  • Marty Croll