Founder of prayer ministry awaiting organ donation


A benefit will be held Oct. 11 in Johnson City to raise funds Lynda Leavell of Boyd, Texas, pictured here with husband Eddie. Lynda has conducted an Internet prayer ministry for several years, but her failing health no longer permits her to answer individually the thousands of prayer requests she receives.

By Kathy Helms-Hughes
STAR STAFF
khelms@starhq.com
Lynda Leavell used to receive around 20 to 30 e-mails a day, but that was before she contacted Misty at alighthouse.com regarding some songs her niece, Amy -- a singer/songwriter -- had written, including "Angel From Above."
One day, after having had a bout with illness, said Leavell, now 60, "I came in here and fired up the computer, and all of these e-mails started popping in. I called my husband [Eddie] and said, "Are these viruses or what? I don't know these people.
"And the one that popped up next was 'Misty's Lighthouse,' 'Misty's new page: Angel from Above.'
Amy had dedicated the song to Leavell and Misty had included it on her Web page, along with a note that Leavell was in need of healing and to send her an e-mail.
"Well, they did. By the thousands. So I started answering each and every one that I got. Most of them were just very short e-mails telling me they were praying for me. But I'll say 90 percent of them asked me to pray for them also because they were in terrible situations. So it just evolved to where I began e-mailing hundreds a day," she said.
Leavell of Boyd, Texas, has had a prayer ministry on the Internet For the last three years. She taught an adult class in church for many years and also started a prison ministry and a nursing home ministry.
Her health has gone downhill since contracting hepatitis C following surgery in 1972. A week after the surgery, she was in a coma from the hepatitis.
"They told my husband I would not live through the night and to get my funeral arrangements started," Lynda said. But Eddie told the doctor, 'No, I'm not going to do that. I have faith that she's going to live.'
"I didn't live through the night," Lynda said. "I actually died." She woke up to see the doctor signing her death certificate. She had been in a coma for six days. The doctor told her she had been dead 10 minutes.
"I didn't know it was possible to not breathe or have brain activity for 10 minutes and then come back. But I've experienced so many miracles from the Lord, to me it was just another miracle," she said.
The next day, when the doctor came in, he asked her how it was that she was still alive. Leavell said, "Do you believe in prayer?" The doctor told her he had never been a religious person and didn't put much creedence in prayer.
"I said, 'Well, I died at 8 o'clock last night, right?' He said, 'Yes.'
"I said, 'At 8 o'clock, our pastor took the podium at a youth rally in downtown Memphis where 800 people were in attendance. He said, 'Before we start the rally, there's a woman in need tonight that we need to pray for.' They prayed for me and as they prayed for me, I came out of the coma."
The doctor told her she would not live more than five years. "I said, 'I'll take it one day at a time. That's all the Lord promises us anyway.' And so, for 31 years it's been: 'You have a year left to live ...' 'You have two years left to live ...'
"And I always tell them the same thing: 'You're not in control. The Great Physician is in control, and that's Jesus Christ.' "
She is now No. 20 on a waiting list at Baylor Medical Center for a liver transplant, and within a month is expected to be accepted at a second hospital in Fort Worth, "which will double my chances" of receiving a new liver, she said.
She has had a rough go of it since February. Leavell said that if a liver is found that is a perfect match, she has two hours to get to the hospital for surgery, but she will definitely receive the organ. If the liver is not a perfect match, three possible recipients will be called in and the one that is the closest match will receive the transplant.
Afterward, she will have a lengthy stay in a round-the-clock care facility, at the tune of $60 per day, and will have to take medication costing $2,500 a month just to stay alive. While her husband's insurance at Bell Helicopter will pay for the transplant, it will not cover the rest.
"I'm really sicker now than I have ever been in my life, but I'm ready to go home if that's what the Lord determines," Leavell said.