Written by Site Editor of On Common Ground
With nowhere to turn but God, Kendrick Meredith rebounds from a rare form of cancer.
Pastor Kendrick Meredith was pounding the basketball court when one of the men on his team passed the ball and suddenly he saw five balls coming at him. That was the moment that the time bomb inside his head exploded.
Pastor Kendrick Meredith of Life Abundantly Christian Church gives God all the praise for the blessings he has received.
“Hold up! Hold up!” Meredith shouted, stopping the game. His vision was playing tricks on him. Days later, he had become a frightening sight: His left eye bulged out of its socket. Still, he didn’t want to worry his wife, Tammy, who was eight months pregnant.
The excruciating pain forced him to go to the doctor, despite the fact that he had no medical insurance.
That doctor’s visit turned out to be the start of a year-long roller coaster ride that tested not only the couple’s faith but that of their congregation at Life Abundantly Christian Church, which was just starting to take root in Conyers.
Last month, Meredith’s congregation, family and friends celebrated the journey he says God carried him through. A packed crowd filled the sanctuary to give praise.
Meredith said doctors told him on March 14 they could find no evidence of the rare cancer that struck him last year.
“I thank God for His goodness and mercy,” said Meredith, 42. “When you’re going through something like that, doubts creep into your mind. You wonder why you’re going through it. I had to lean on God. He gave me the strength to keep going.”
Meredith said the throbbing pain in his left eye was caused by rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare cancer usually found in children.
Rhabdomyosarcomas can start in any organ that contains skeletal muscle cells, but most commonly, the tumors are found in the head and neck, often causing swelling, especially around the eye.
Meredith said doctors told him the cancer was very agressive.
With a baby on the way and four other children of their own, Meredith was more concerned about his wife than himself. Another issue loomed: Who would oversee the church as they dealt with this thing—this rhabdomyosarcoma?
“God gave me strength that I never knew I had,” said Tammy Meredith, who stepped in to help her husband fulfill his duties as pastor. “We never stopped holding worship services the entire time that he was sick.”
When he got out of the hospital, Pastor Meredith showed up to preach. He had lost his hair and 75 pounds, dropping from 225 to 150.
During the ordeal, his flock showered his family with support, pitching in to help pay bills and do whatever was needed.
The members were excited about their recent celebration. The new addition to the church’s family, 11-month-old Kendrick, III, was dedicated at the March 27 worship service.
“We have a loving congregation. I thank God for them,” Pastor Meredith said. “There were times when I’m sure that they must have worried about what would happen to me and the church, but they were faithful. They continued to come and worship God. I feel so blessed that they would allow me to be their pastor.”