By Staff, Baptist Message
WINNSBORO – It is a magnificent show of faith and support.
Through social media, newspaper articles and TV reports, people by the thousands have joined together to lift up 22-year-old Kelly Kiper Longoria of Winnsboro, who was shot in the head by an assailant eight days ago, July 16.
Friends and strangers alike have been quick to try and help.
An account has been set up for Kelly Longoria at Winnsboro State Bank. A Go Fund Me page, started by Richelle Cox Huggins of Winnsboro, the day after the shooting has raised $11,860 in seven days. Fresh Start Ministry, a seven-month, faith-based addiction recovery program in Winnsboro, raised $5,400 at its annual auction for Kelly Longoria in just nine minutes.
But the biggest help has come in the unceasing prayers. From individuals to Sunday school classes to congregations of churches, people by the thousands have all joined together to ask God to intercede for her and her family.
And God is answering those prayers in a mighty way.
“God has already answered our prayers before our day started well,” Lisa Knight Kiper, Kelly’s mother, wrote on Facebook July 23. “Kelly is off the ventilator, shaking her head when asked a question about what she wants, biting her fingernails, looking at us, and even changing channels on the TV.”
“God is the God of miracles and we are witnessing His handiwork,” Kiper continued. “Thank you Lord. We thank our Lord for hearing and answering our prayers for healing for Kelly. She is still in NSICU (Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit Hospital and Medical Center in Jackson, Miss.) but Kelly is getting stronger every day.”
When she was first brought in July 16, Doctors told the family they could not remove the bullet. They told the family they hoped for no adverse side effects and for her body to heal given time.
But doctors have been stunned at how she has responded and the progress she has made in just eight days.
“Every doctor here is talking about what a miracle she is, and we are eternally grateful to our Great Physician,” said Kiper.
In the first of two blogs posted by Shane Longoria, Kelly’s husband and the nephew of evangelist Lyndon Longoria, he wrote, “The doctors have asked how she is still alive, how she is following commands, how she’s responding to what they’re saying. My only answer is that we have a God that is not limited to our understanding. Kelly is a fighter and she has the strength of Christ in her.”
It has been a long, emotional week but he has continued to be encouraged by the progress Kelly is making daily.
“This week, my wife has made improvements that have left doctors clueless. I’m perfectly fine with that. I love it. I love that through this, the Gospel is being shared. Kelly’s life has shown people who Christ is. I am so proud to be her husband.”
In a second blog posted dated July 23, Shane had even more to celebrate.
After seeing off close friend Wesley Wallace, he wrote, “I wanted to go check on Kelly. I got to her room and she was coughing. I hated to see it. I walked over to her side.
“Her eyes were already open. I grabbed her hand and said, “Babe I’m here. Can you see me? Squeeze my hand if you can see me,” he wrote. “I’ve never been so excited to have someone squeeze my hand. I told her I was right beside her and I was not going anywhere.
“I asked her to squeeze my hand again if she wanted me to stay where she could see me. Another squeeze. At this point, I’m on cloud 9,” he wrote. “My wife knows I’m here and she wants me to stay where she can see me. We’ve been playing some worship music through a speaker for her so I asked her to squeeze my hand again if she wanted the music turned on. Another squeeze. We turned the music on and I asked if it was too loud. Another squeeze.
“I let her know that I was there, I would be there until she fell asleep, and that all she needed to do was rest. I watched her close her eyes and begin to settle down. I stayed and rubbed her arm until I knew she was back asleep.”
Longoria said it was by far the greatest moment of his life.
“The Lord has been so faithful and Kelly has been such a fighter,” he wrote.
While Kelly is making huge strides, she still has a long way to go according to her mother.
“Please continue to pray for healing for our Kelly. #kellystrong,” said Kiper.