Anita met Jesus Christ in a tiny Pentecostal church in Silverton, NJ on a Sunday night in April. 1982. A shy non-practicing Catholic girl, in bondage for many years and haunted by many ghosts of abuse, rape, shame and hopelessness. A glorious healing light burst through that night, even though she trembled under the growling, accusing voice of the tattoo-biceped, ex marine, who slammed his fist on his worn pulpit. His glittering black eyes bore through her.
"If you die tonight in a car accident.. Will you go to heaven or burn in hell?"
She declared the salvation prayer and in that small church, Anita finally found a loving, accepting family that she had always wanted. She bloomed, making up for many lost years, enrolling in college and graduating at the top of her class, Magna cum laude. The earning of that degree was interrupted though, by the courtship with a demented man who threatened to kill her if she didn't marry him. That domestic violent season which lasted almost two years nearly took away her exuberant faith and new-found nursing home ministry. But Christ never abandoned her.
Healing took place and resilience set her back on track. She met lead guitarist, Chris Durante at a church picnic where he invited her to front his Christian rock band with him. The Lord began to hone Anita in her new role as lead vocalist-lyricist of "The Promise" and Chris, her and the band shared the Gospel of Christ to the NJ, PA and NY maximum security prisons, family festivals and community showcases.
Anita also grew in leadership positions, teaching behavior modification classes at Nutri-System Weight Loss Centers and as a youth advocate for Youth Advocate Program. Just as she was enjoying her life, strange and debilitating symptoms sent her to the hospital where she was given a diagnosis of Lyme disease. 1992 was riddled with hospital intravaneous Rosephin treatments and Amomoxicillin antibiotic.
The next several years, with her immune system breaking down and battling many episodes of bronchial infections she almost died from carbon monoxide poisoning from her apartment's broken heater. The carbon monoxide did serious damage to her brain and deep depression set in and she was unable to sustain employment.
But God wasn't finished with her yet. She found herself once more with hope and found another accepting family at non-profit Christian outreach, Love in the Name of Christ, in the Fall of 1998. Executive Director, Carolyn Eyerman and project Manager, Joan Hodem saw things in Anita she never knew she had. The six years there taught her even more about people and serving their needs. This was also where her journey with the guitar started!