It’s true that God will give His children beauty for ashes in their darkest hour. Such was the case with Mark Canfora Sr., whose 18-year-old son committed suicide in 2005.
Canfora was devastated when his daughter called him at 2:30 in the morning and said, “Daddy, Marky is dead.” Mark Canfora Jr. had hanged himself in a park in Barberton, Ohio.
“I met the ambulance at the hospital, unzipped my son’s body bag and laid hands on his chest and asked Jesus to bring him back,” Canfora recalls. “[But] God spoke to me and said, ‘He’s not here … he’s with Me.’” Out of the seemingly hopeless situation came a ministry.
“Every year we sponsor the Celebration of Life Festival in the park where my son lost his life,” Canfora says.
Some 3,000 people attended the festival on Easter in Florida, where Canfora now resides. The event has spread also to Georgia and Tennessee. In his book, A Child Died, A Father Cried … and God Answered, Canfora addresses false teachings about Christians and suicide.
“I have over 2,000 friends on Facebook, and every day someone reaches out to me because they have lost someone to suicide. I let them know God understands their pain, and He loves them.”