- August 15, 2014
- By Leann Callaway / Special to the Baptist Standard
DENTON—Texas-based hip-hop artist Tedashii Anderson uses his latest album, Below Paradise, to explore his heartache and grief following the sudden death of his 1-year-old son, Chase, in 2013—and tell about the strength he finds in Christ.
Through his music and message, Anderson hopes to encourage audiences to make an eternal difference by showing compassion to hurting people and connecting them to Christ.
“This album takes a very honest look at the world around us,” Anderson said. “This earth is very subpar when it comes to the paradise that we have been promised, the hope that we have as believers. There is a stark difference in what the Bible promises heaven to be like and what we have here on earth. Crime, sickness, disease, pain, suffering and loss—those things we won’t find in heaven.
“Many times, people value the things of this earth so much that they don’t think about the things of eternal value until they are forced to. Within the last year of my life, I have been forced to. But it’s caused me to become more considerate and compassionate towards other people who are struggling and facing tough situations. By sharing these songs and my own struggles, my hope is that people would begin to think about living for what matters most and thinking about the eternal weight of glory.”
While walking through this unexpected journey, Anderson and his wife, Danielle, relied on their faith in Christ to sustain them every step of the way.
The Andersons found encouragement in the overwhelming support they received from their home congregation, The Village Church in Denton, as well as from ministries and fellow musicians who have rallied around them.
Vernon Burger, director of His Voice Global, a missions organization that provides care for orphans and widows in South Sudan, India and North Korea, immediately began raising funds to assist Anderson’s family and allow him to take time off the road.
“The Christian community and other artists really rallied around my family in amazing ways,” Anderson said. “Vernon is a good friend, and his ministry is focused on meeting needs socially and spiritually. Without me knowing it, he started a fund that people could contribute to so I could take some time off the road during this time. People gave sacrificially and loved on our family.
“At our local church, Matt Chandler was present as a pastor and friend every step of the way. Our church has been phenomenal. My wife and I still meet with our campus pastor regularly just to discuss what we’re going through and what we’re feeling. The church has been incredible to provide meals, company or whatever we might need at the time.
“As a member of the body of Christ, when a fellow brother or sister is suffering, you are hurting as well and want to reach out to them. Throughout the past year, I have seen the genuineness and sincerity of other believers coming alongside and grieving with my family. Many people have been so engaged and present through our suffering.”
After taking several months off, Anderson resumed his concert schedule with a renewed passion to share the gospel and later began recording songs for the new album.
“My wife and I have spent a lot of time reading Scripture together and that has really helped us,” Anderson said. “One of the key passages that we have been clinging to throughout this journey has been Galatians 2:20: ‘I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.’ Without a relationship with Christ, life would be hopeless. But the promises found in God’s word gives us the assurance of eternity.
“I really want to encourage people to embrace the awareness that needs to be there when it comes to the reality of the world we live in. It’s evident when I leave home and go to other major cities. When you go downtown and see the homelessness. When you see the storms that hit each town. When you hear stories about a child who lost their parents and now living with their elderly grandparents. Those situations convict me to pray for them and find ways to help. I really want to help bring awareness to people about these situations and remind them of the opportunities to show Christ’s love during these times of struggle.”
At his concerts, Anderson tells about God’s faithfulness and unfailing love during life’s darkest moments. He recently performed at Rock the Desert in Midland.
“Lately, my music has been reaching people who are also suffering, and they have thanked us for sharing our story,” Anderson said. “There have been a lot of people who have said what I’ve been able to communicate has been very encouraging. I wrestle with that honestly. I still feel so weak right now, and the fact that anyone is taking anything away and being reminded to press on is an encouragement to me.
“This was never a ministry that I would have expected, but God has been faithful to give opportunities to draw people closer to him. By sharing my story and struggles, I hope people will realize that we are not promised tomorrow. I hope people are motivated to think about where they will spend eternity and make sure they are living for what matters most.”