Rescued for a Reason

By: Maria Trace

  • Rescued for a Reason

How God redeemed a bullied childhood and a near-suicide attempt

Twenty-seven-year-old Antony Lapointe parked his car and strolled along the sidewalk in front of the high school in Richelieu, Quebec. Waiting for the bell to signal the student stampede out the doors, Antony stood poised with Gospels of John in his hands, ready to share them with curious young men and women.

But as he glanced around, he spotted a young lady in the park across the road sitting on a swing. His heart drawn to her, Antony approached her with the Love Letter Gospel of John in his pocket.

“Hello, I have a gift for you. Has it been a long time since you received a love letter?” he asked.

Even with dark sunglasses hiding her troubled eyes, Antony saw the tears threatening to spill down her cheeks. Cautious, Marie asked, “Why are you giving that to me?”

“I’m here because Jesus saved me. Five years ago I tried to commit suicide,” he explained. “But this gift isn’t from me—it’s from Him.”

Instantly, it became clear why God had nudged Antony to abandon his school sidewalk post when Marie admitted, “This week…I attempted suicide.”

Married to an abusive husband, nothing Marie ever did was enough to please him. So with a heavy heart void of all hope, Marie sat in the park across from the high school, planning her next escape from life.

“Do you believe in Jesus?” Antony asked. “Do you believe He’s here with you now?”

“Maybe…” she faltered.

Antony continued. “He is here. He wants to be close to you; He wants to be in your heart! Are you ready to receive Jesus?”

Craving healing and peace, Marie finally nodded. “Yes, I’m ready.”

“You can talk to Jesus. He is the man who will truly love you and always understand you. You can talk to Him. You can be at peace.” Joined together by a loving God for a precious moment, the two suicide-attempt survivors prayed together.

Returning to his post on the sidewalk teeming with teens, Antony decided that the Gospel of John wasn’t enough for Marie. So he grabbed two New Testaments from his car—one for Marie and one for her husband. “This is the story of Jesus,” Antony explained. “Give this New Testament to your husband when he’s ready. If God can change my heart, he can change your husband’s heart.”

Poverty to Riches

“I grew up in a poor family,” begins Antony as he tells his story. “My mom left my dad when I was three years old. My dad didn’t get paid much; we didn’t have Nintendo or the toys my friends had. I thought my dad didn’t like me because we didn’t have all those things.”

A victim of bullying in school, Antony experienced rejection and physical violence. But when he found a girlfriend at 15 years of age, Antony felt like he’d won the lottery with someone who loved him for who he was.

“All my childhood, my mom had a lot of trouble. She had man after man. She took drugs and was depressed.”

“But when I was 16,” continues Antony, “she became a Christian.” Assuming it was just another phase, her son didn’t believe it—until her joy bubbled up and became contagious! Antony was so happy to finally see his mom healthy and joyful. He even joined her at church a few times, but his heart was closed to the gospel.

For five years, Antony’s mom shared the life-transforming gospel of Jesus Christ, but he had what he wanted. By age 21, Antony had graduated as a mechanic, achieved a solid career, loved his girlfriend, and owned a house and a truck. “All of my friends looked at me and said, ‘I wish I had your life.’”

The perfect life. Shattered in an instant when Antony discovered he wasn’t the only man his girlfriend cared about. Angry, depressed, abandoned. The young man who’d made it to the top so quickly had crashed and burned.

“At 21 you’re supposed to be having the best time of your life. I started to drink. My mind was dark,” recalls Antony. None of Antony’s family and friends realized the depth of his grief or his desire for revenge. “I decided the only way to get rid of this pain was to kill both of them…and then me.”

On the day he chose to commit two murders and a suicide, logic won out when he realized how outrageous his idea was. When his mind drifted to what his mom had told him about Jesus, his overwhelming anger redirected toward God.

“If you’re real, Jesus,” he screamed in his living room, “show yourself to me!”

And then, in the devastating silence—“I felt him there, and started to cry. The depression disappeared and my heart overflowed with joy!”

Needing to discover more about his Saviour, Antony scrambled through his closet, dumping desk drawers to find the red New Testament his mom had given to him years ago.

“It was the first night I could sleep in peace. I even woke up in peace. All the anger was gone.”

“After this decision, I had a passion in me for lost souls,” explains Antony. “But with my bullying past, I wasn’t able to look people in the eye. When I volunteered in street ministry, God kept telling me to talk to particular people. And when I opened my mouth, God would just use me to share my testimony—like with Marie in the park. I’d feel the presence of God.”

“This is how I knew God wanted me to be an evangelist: the feeling you get when you bring somebody to Christ is the best! It’s more powerful than when I graduated from school, or got my first paycheque, or got the key to my first home.”

Initially, Antony’s desire was to become a missionary in Africa. So he sold everything he had. But God began to kindle in his heart a love for his own mission field—Quebec, where less than one percent of people are born again.

Antony has a big dream: “We need people to share the gospel,” says Antony. “I have a fire for evangelism! I want to build a street ministry and drive around Quebec to share the gospel.”

When this mechanic-turned-evangelist heard about The Gideons, he joined so he could have even more copies of God’s Word to give away. (He used to purchase Bibles or rescue them from the lost-and-found.) “I realized that this is a partnership for even greater gospel impact.”

On the night when Antony nearly made the biggest mistake of his life, Jesus Himself met him in his living room, rescuing him from death —and to an abundant life of sharing Jesus with lost people in Quebec.

 


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