By Brian Blackwell, Baptist Message staff writer
DERIDDER, La. (LBM) – Evangelist Lyndon Longoria missed a year from the pulpit, 2019- 2020, during a battle with a stroke and other medical conditions, but through those trials he experienced God’s goodness through the love displayed by thousands, he said.
“I never thought about giving up or quitting. I just didn’t know if I would be able to continue to preach as an evangelist,” Longoria told the Baptist Message. “I knew I could still talk and the Lord could still use me to preach, even if I had to preach sitting down-which I did at the beginning.
“My faith in the faithfulness of God has been unwavering,” he continued. “The Word of God has become precious to me again, and has fed my heart and my soul. My faith in God and His ability is in a place it has never been before. There are many struggles and I have battled moments of depression, but my faith in God has overcome it all. I have perfect peace that He will finish what He has started.”
April 19, 2019, started like any other day for Longoria, who was preaching at a revival service in Cordele, Georgia. But the day turned out to be anything but normal. As Longoria began to preach an “assortment” of messages, he slumped on his right side and struggled to walk. Immediately, his wife, Kerry, drove Longoria and their two young sons, Ben and Asa, to a hospital 25 miles away. Shortly after arriving at the emergency room, Longoria’s speech turned to “jibberish” and his brain bled.
For the next year, Longoria visited several hospitals and underwent multiple medical trials including two heart attacks, physical rehabilitation and treatment for a form of blood cancer.
While the family experienced trying times, Kerry Longoria said she and her family felt God’s presence and power through the prayers and encouragement of others.
“Those were scary days, touch and go,” Kerry Longoria said. “Many days he didn’t even know my name. I never left him, but I prayed while awake and in and out of sleep.
“Thank God for our friends,” she continued. “I cannot stress enough the debt of gratitude we owe to the friends who took care of our boys during days that turned into weeks.”
Longoria trusts that his most difficult days are behind him now. He shared that he preaches at churches every Sunday and at two monthly revivals, cares for the family’s chickens, mows a four-acre lawn, completes household chores without assistance and maintains his sense of humor.
He also is thankful for how God blessed him during these trying times, especially when he saw his son, Asa, surrender to the ministry during a time of decision at First Baptist Church, Anacoco, where Longoria was the guest preacher, Oct. 20, 2019. Asa has since joined Longoria at multiple evangelistic events and has preached apart from his dad.
“His mother and I have always known he was called, but I didn’t expect him to know at so
young an age,” Longoria said. “I don’t know why I was surprised that he would be called at 12, since he was saved at just five years old. Kerry and I always said he would be a hide-stripping prophet/evangelist and he would never make it as a pastor. But he may just surprise us yet.”
Looking to the future, Longoria said he has no plans of stepping aside.
“Looking back now after 22 years of serving as pastor of two churches, and now 25 years in full-time evangelism, I am still humbled, amazed and grateful that God, for reasons I still can’t understand, has allowed me to participate in His Kingdom work of sharing His Gospel and seeing lives transformed,” Longoria said. “Like most well-known ministers, I have struggled with pride and insecurity because of, and in spite of, my accomplishments.
“And now having gone through a stroke and living life as a handicapped man and seeing that God has not only spared my life, but seems to still intend to use me,” he continued. “Well, it just blows my mind. It was pretty devastating to think that I may never preach again. I am humbly grateful. I am totally dependent on the Lord now, and I am finding great peace in that place.”
To host Longoria for an evangelistic event, call 337.515.1857 or 337.396.2202; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; or write P.O. Box 23, Deridder, LA 70634.