David Lingo

David Lingo

My Dad, David Lingo, is one of my heroes of the faith.

He and my mom raised me and my two sisters not only in a Christian home, but also in a missionary home. All three of us were saved at a young age and participated in the ministry. My parents were adamant God had not called them to the field, He had called all of us. As a result, I never felt like being a missionary kid deprived me of anything. They also instilled in us we are missionaries no matter where we are. So, when we returned to the U.S. for a year-long furlough, we were still to be telling others about Jesus.

God called us off of the mission field when He opened the door for my parents to become professors in the Missions Department at Baptist Bible College. They spent 20 years sharing their vision and the biblical foundation for missions with countless students. “The God of the Old Testament is a missionary God,” is a statement they all remember well. Although my dad was a missionary kid himself and has always had a desire to go back to the field, he understood he could do more for the cause of Christ by training hundreds of people to go than if he went himself.

During the time he spent teaching at BBC, he became the pastor of a rural church after their pastor was killed in a tragic accident. Through the church, my parents were able to extend their reach by training young couples headed into ministry. Their heart has always been to train and send for the cause of Christ.

About five years ago, everything changed.

As a result of several traumatic events in his life, my dad suffered a brain injury. The medical professionals have called it a “stroke-like event.” His official diagnosis, which is supported by the symptoms we have seen, is Dementia. This brain disease has caused him to lose his ability to communicate and to interact with the present world. Although he speaks, sometimes in English and sometimes in Spanish, his words are jumbled and rarely make a coherent thought. Many days he believes himself to be a young man or a child still on the mission field with his parents. Several times he has grieved the passing of his dad over again because he doesn’t remember it happened.

One thing that has not changed is his tenderness toward the Gospel. Many times he has made himself understood when he is burdened for the lost and dying world. He makes sure those around him have heard the truth of Scripture. He cries tears of happiness when he thinks of all the missionaries serving Christ today. My dad spent his life in the business of communicating the love of Christ, and, although he has lost that ability, his burden for the lost is still so evident.

My sister reminded me today of 2 Corinthians 4:17 “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (ESV). We pray daily for God to heal my dad, and we pray believing that He will. It may not be on this earth, but my daddy will be healed someday. In the meantime, I’m grateful to get to share his legacy with you.

Please pray for our family as we face the daily battles of this situation, and especially pray for my mom as the wedding vows she took 48 years ago, “for better or for worse, in sickness and in health,” are present with her every day. She has lost her spouse, her companion, her best friend, and her leader. He is physically present, but gone in every other way.

Are you facing a “light affliction” today?

Have you lost hope in your situation? Remember your life is only a “mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:14, ESV). And when this life ends, we will have eternity to spend in the perfect presence of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. I challenge you to live with the end in mind and stay the course. God will reward your faithfulness.

35 thoughts on “David Lingo

  1. I can so well relate to what you have written. Having known David many years, it is hard to think of him in that state. Yet, Dementia is what my husband had for the past few years before he died. Every case is different. I admire you for posting this. My daughter was the one big bright spot in his life when she would visit him at the nursing home. I pray God’s strength and compassion on each of you through this. I love your grandmother Alta so much. The Lingo family had a big part in our lives in our earlier ministry especially on the mission field.

  2. Thank you for sharing. We love your parents. They have both had a great impact in our lives and ministry.

  3. What a beautiful blogpost to honor your dad. Guy and I met your folks at FBC of W Hollywood and your mom was one of our teachers at HCS when we were seniors. When Guy was the junior high youth pastor, we brought a group of teens to Bogota for a missions trip. It was our first time to leave the US and we stayed in your home. That trip made a lasting impression on our lives and we have never forgotten it. Your dad leaves a beautiful legacy in your family and will reap eternal rewards. Thanks for sharing your story and I will be praying for your family! Happy Father’s Day, David!

  4. Wow I was not aware of your dad’s condition. I will definitely pray for him, your mom, and all of the rest of you. Your dad had a great impact on me both at school and in my family life.

  5. Kelli
    Your dad was such a special man to us while we were at BBC and Berean. He did do much to help mold our lives for the ministry we have been in the past 16 years. Give your mom our love.
    This news broke our hearts. We didn’t know about his illness until today. I couldn’t help but cry at the thought of this great man not being what he loved to be. Praying for your mom and dad often.
    Roger & Charlene

  6. Thank you so much for this wonderful story of your awesome Dad!!! I am so thankful to all the Lingo Family for their faithfulness to God’s calling and work!!! This was a blessing to me!!!

  7. God bless you all! Jackie and I are praying that God will give you the strength that you need in this situation. We love you all!

  8. What a beautiful tribute to my friend. Having gone through a similar situation with both parents, I know the pain of the long good-bye. I also know the sweet knowledge of their salvation and the wonders they are experiencing in Heaven.

    Thank you girls for sharing and for being there for your dad and mom at every opportunity. Love you all.

  9. I’m sorry to hear about Uncle David! He was an inspiration to me . I remember so many great times our families had together! Love y’all and am praying for God’s healing hand!

  10. We did not know this, and our hearts are broken for your precious family. We were blessed to be able to visit your parents and you in Santiago a number of years ago. What a blessed time it was… one we will never forget! Thank you for sharing your heartache with others as it enables us to lift your family to our Lord asking that His peace, presence and love fill and surround you and your father during this difficult time.

  11. Dear Mrs. Lingo,
    I want to say thank you for investing in the students at BBC.
    I am sorry to hear David has Dementia, and I will pray for God’s will be done in both of your lives.

  12. Dr Lingo continues to be a hero in the faith to me. I sat under his wonderful tutelage at BBC, as have many other young souls, and it was always a blessing to listen to him. I am proud to have had him as a teacher and his burden for missions has left an impact upon my life that forever changed me!

  13. Kind regards to all of you. I was a good friend of you father when we studied at the Kent School in Santiago. I am very touched to hear about his present condition, if it is of any help please give him my kindest regards, extensive to you, Craig and Janet.
    Andrés Uribe

  14. Hey Mrs. Garms,
    This post was shared with me yesterday. I had no idea of the condition of your father. He was a great teacher who inspired his students to do something great for God! I am writing this while serving as an Assistant Pastor (youth/music). And I am currently sitting in Quito, Ecuador on a mission trip with our students. It is my desire to help develop a missions heart in my students. I am grateful for all of my professors who invested in my life, you included! Sarah and I will be praying for your dad and your family!

  15. Good Word. I’m one of the many that your dad had a life changing part. Will look forward to glory when I can say again say thanks.
    I’ve been in Brechin Scotland for 14+ years now.

  16. Kelli, thank you for sharing. I remember hearing of an accident, but did not realize it had affected your Dad this way. I was a timid, slightly frightened MK when I arrived at BBC in 1967. Your Father and his brother, Craig, were a real inspiration to me. Seeing them as happy, thriving, involved MKs made it easier for me to work at assimilating this new life. Watching his life through his ministry on the field and back at BBC, his love for souls and the ministry was always evident. I understand the sadness and feelings of loss with his dementia, though my experience was with my dear Mother, Jean Penick. I pray you will be able to constantly remember that God cares, has a plan, and is in control. It is our promise and hope! God bless you as you help your Mom on this journey.

  17. Thanks Kelly
    Only heaven will show the greatness of your parents! Tell your Mom we love her and are praying. Your family is leaving a Godly heritage and mark in God’s kingdom.

  18. I am in tears!
    I had no idea of pastor Lingo’s condition. I heard he retired but didn’t know it was because of severe health reasons.
    Pastor Lingo was my first pastor and church, days after I accepted our Lord Jesus Christ as my personal savior in 2002 at the age of 43 …because through pastor Lingo’s help I was able to follow God’s orders to also help out to lead my mom to the Lord, she was 80 years old with dementia, we are German so I had to translate the prayer of salvation” (I thought I had no clue of what I was doing, but ….anything is possible with God )
    My mom past away 6 weeks later.
    Pastor Lingo and the church was there for me every step of the way to help me with arrangements of funeral home/cremation and a beautiful memorial service at BBC.
    I know first hand how difficult, heart wrenching and stressful it is to watch and care for your loved one as they slowly leave you mentally…..
    Pastor Lingo and his beautiful awesome wife Mrs. Barbara ….. Thank you for touching me and my family’s life and changing me for ever into the Christ loving/following person, thank you for letting our Lord lead you to change me and teaching me …..
    I love you both very much and you always are in my heart and prayers!

    Thank you Kelli for this site about your dad ….God bless you all!!! :-*


  19. David has been such a blessing to my family. He was a great pastor. He was never judge mental but caring and he expressed this in so many ways. We love him dearly.

  20. Our family has been overwhelmed by all of the kind comments and posts over the last two days! Thank you for your kindness and prayers.

  21. Thank you for sharing your story with such honesty, compassion, and humanity. I’m so sorry to hear this. Tears came out as I read your post. Your Dad is good man; a leader; Christ follower, a pastor, and missionary in every way. A man for whom I have deep respect and admiration. I was one of his students at BBC in the early 90’s. And have often thought of him with fond memories. I once spent an afternoon with him visiting people from Berean. It was pure joy in action. The handful of people we visited, gave testimony to how endearing of a man he was. Each welcomed him into their home with such happiness. Your Dad seemed to love what he was doing. It struck me because it was obvious how he missed being on the field. But he also was satisfied and found joy in his current assignment.

    I also know the pain of what you’re going through as something like this happened to my Mom in 2013. She most certainly should have died from the episode. But I came to see those 10 months that she lived after the severe stroke as a gift of God’s grace. It’s tragic to lose the person you know, love, and respect to a condition that can rob them of their dignity. But, like you, I could see some amazing attributes of my Mom that burst to the surface of her everyday interactions. Some of the things I loved most about Mom were magnified during those months after the stroke. I don’t imagine its easy to see your Dad like this. And yet, thank you for sharing your love and respect for him. That is very dignifying. Blessings to you, your sisters, your Mother, and your whole family. And a plea goes out to the Father for your Dad’s healing in this life if it be God’s will. And if not, for sure in eternity.

  22. I too did not know of Professor Lingo’s condition. It breaks my heart and I’m praying a God will extend to you all an extra measure of God’s grace.

    As many have already indicated, I too, was impacted by your Dad’s ministry at BBC; and even just a week ago I quoted him in one of my bible studies. Passion is the word that comes to mind when I think of Professor Lingo…

    I know part of who I am today in ministry is due to Prof Lingo’s ministry at BBC!!!!

    Me and my family will be praying for the Lingo family!!!

    Chase Hill

  23. What a beautiful legacy that lives on in you as you encourage others along the journey! Prayers for your family for strength, healing, and joy unspeakable!

  24. This is beautiful, Kelli.
    It’s so hard to keep this kind of heavenly perspective in light of earthly trials. They hurt… They just plain hurt. Be have have hope beyond the hurt when we remember who we are in Christ.
    Thank you for your vulnerability in sharing this very tender part of your life. You’re doing your part to grow the Kingdom, one heart at a time.

  25. Kellie, I had no idea about your dad until I read this. I am so sorry that your family is going through this. Please know that we will pray for information to cross your paths that will give you medical hope as you all lean on the Lord for his Grace and comfort. The Lingo family ( beginning with “Uncle Joe and “Aunt Alta”) has been very dear to us for many many years.

  26. Kelli,
    What a beautiful tribute to your dad. My husband and I had the privilege of sitting under both of your parents at BBC. They were such a blessing and encouragement to us during our years there. We learned so much from them that shaped our ministry. We still talk about them today. I was shocked and saddened to hear about your dad. We will definitely keep all of you in our prayers. Love in Christ, Nancy & Randy Gaines

  27. Dear Barbara & Family,

    First of all, Kelli, “thank you” for your words of compassion and strength all of you have found in your parents. For David & Barbara the greatest joy they have in each of you…”I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth…” II Jn.4
    For me, David & Barbara we were class mates at BBC…it wasn’t until we all found ourselves working together at BBC, especially to joy we had to work together in the BBC Alumni Association.
    I knew your father had not been in good health and appreciate very much you sharing his present status. Victory Baptist Church, Kaye and I will be praying for God’s will on behalf of David’s health, as well for God’s grace and peace for Barbara and family.
    In Christ love,
    Ray & Kaye Brinson

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