|PBA students, faculty members and staff pause Monday in Fraser Dining Hall to remember dining hall worker Christian Sampson, who died Sunday. Photo courtesy of The Beacon/Brandon Nelson|
Palm Beach Atlantic University dining hall worker and campus favorite Christian Sampson died Sunday, Jan. 6, on his way to Grace Fellowship church in West Palm Beach.
Mr. Sampson, 28, suffered an apparent seizure on the drive to church with three friends. They pulled the car to the side of road and called 911, but he was unresponsive at the scene and later pronounced dead at West Palm Beach Hospital.
Mr. Sampson lived on the PBA campus in the Samaritan Garden Apartments.
Funeral arrangements are not yet available.
From Campus Pastor Bernie Cueto:
Dear PBA Family,
Our dear friend, brother, and member of the PBA family, Christian Sampson, went to be with the Lord (Sunday) morning. Many of us have been touched by Christian’s kind heart and love for God’s Word.
Sunday was Christian’s favorite day of the week. As Christians, we worship on Sunday because it was on a Sunday when our Lord was resurrected! He is risen! On this Sunday, January 6, 2013, the Lord called Christian home and took him into the fullness of His eternal glory. In spite of our saddened hearts, we must celebrate the reality that Christian is more alive now than you or I ever thought life could be. He now sees Jesus face to face. He is now complete, because he is filled fully with the fullness of Christ.
Christian went out of his way to unashamedly talk about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His Word. He would encourage me every week. We will miss him terribly and feel his loss acutely.
Let’s pray for his family. Let’s celebrate his life! Many of you have already begun to do this on Christian’s Facebook page.
Christian attended Grace Fellowship Church. We will keep you posted of memorial details as we receive them.
PBA helps Christian ‘Blessed by the Best’ Sampson
(NOTE: This feature was written in in October 2010 for The Beacon student newspaper by By Meghan Gilmore Contributing Writer/Photo by Christina Cernik)
|June 12, 1985 - January 6, 2013|
It’s hard to believe that at one time in his life, Christian Sampson only knew one Bible verse.
Today Sampson is the lovable Aramark worker who is always cheerful and anxious to share his Word of the Day.
With his constantly positive attitude, you might think life has always been easy for Sampson, but that is not the case. Sampson grew up in a rough neighborhood.
“I live near MLK Boulevard, and in my neighborhood there are crack houses and bars,” said Sampson.
Growing up, kids in his neighborhood got him to do things he knew he shouldn’t be doing, and he got in trouble for it. Then one day all of that changed.
“I came to know the Lord at age 12. My friend introduced me to Christ, and from there God started changing my life,” Sampson said. “Out of all of my family, God chose me to be the preacher and I started preaching at the age of 13.”
As a teenager, Christian got a job at the Peruvian Movie Theatre in City Place. As part of his job responsibilities, Christian had to memorize the theater numbers and which movies were assigned to which theaters.
One day Christian had an epiphany. He thought that if he could memorize all the theater numbers, why couldn’t he memorize God’s word?
That day he opened his Bible and memorized his first verse; “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength,” Philippians 4:13.
From there, Sampson’s characteristic Word of the Day was born.
|Parent Ed Scheider shares about PBA's Christian commitment and how that was embodied in Christian Sampson.|
Immediately, Sampson started to see his life was being transformed.
He saw an ad to work at Palm Beach Atlantic University and thus quit his job at the movie theater, which, Sampson mentioned, “Became dangerous on weekend nights.” He began to work in the PBA dining facilities with a much friendlier clientele.
Now powered with God’s word, Sampson began to preach in his neighborhood.
“Every Saturday morning, I’ll set speakers up on the corner of MLK Boulevard and preach the word and save lives,” said Sampson, whose ultimate dream in life is to move his preaching into a church of his own.
But almost anyone with a dream finds a few bumps along the way to that dream. Sampson hit one of these bumps this summer.
Athletic Director Bob White was there for Christian this summer to help with his difficult situation.
On his way to several meetings, White noticed Sampson sitting outside of the Greene Complex in 95-degree weather. After convincing him to go inside, White sat down with Sampson and discovered the harsh reality he was keeping hidden beneath his positive exterior.
Sampson had been kicked out of the house and was now homeless.
“He told me where he had been living and it broke my heart,” White said.
White took action immediately. (He met with top university officials) and "the rest is history as they found him a place to stay that day,” said White.
Many groups on campus, including Safety and Security and the Admissions team, provided Sampson with food and clothing — since his aunt threw out all his clothes — until his job opened up with Aramark in August.
Getting Sampson back on his feet was a group effort by the entire PBA community to help out one of their own.
“The Athletics Department took up an offering to buy him a new suit and shoes so he could attend the church that he is very active in each Sunday,” said White. “He’s a handsome man in that suit.”
If it isn’t evident from Christian’s friendly disposition, then take a minute to talk to him about the PBA community and it will be quite obvious how thankful he is.
When asked what Sampson’s favorite thing about working at PBA is, he replied, “They gave me a second chance. You can feel the presence of God out here and everyone just loves me out here, and I love them.”
Sampson also enjoys providing for others, especially those who have provided for him.
“By the way [Sampson] is giving back every Wednesday in a PBA student-led ‘feed the homeless’ ministry at the City Park on Clematis,” White said. “It’s so cool to see him give out food and preach the gospel.”
Through these challenges, Sampson sees that God has transformed his life for the better.
“I’m the only Christian in my family,” says Sampson. “My mother and father left me, my brother and sister ran away and people in my neighborhood try to get me to things I’m not supposed to do and blackmail me.”
But Sampson continues to rely on God’s word to get him through these tough times, reciting his favorite verse over and over.
In the same way Sampson has God’s word in his heart, White hopes students will learn a lesson from Sampson and do the same.
“I hope students know that they can each learn to hide Gods word in their heart and in spite of their circumstances God knows their need. He is forever faithful, and when God gives we have a responsibility to give back, we can never out give God,” said White.