WACO, Texas – A local pastor is thanking the community for the support he received after suffering a severe heart attack last month – which nearly took his life.
Rev. Ruben Andrade is the Lead Pastor at the Family of Faith Worship Center, and has helped the Waco community for decades. He tells FOX44 he never thought he would come so close to never seeing his family, loves ones or congregation again. He says this heart attack truly changed his life.
It was a regular Bible Study Wednesday at the Family of Faith Worship Center. Pastor Andrade was having dinner with members of the church, when he suddenly felt ill.
“I began to feel my arms go numb, and my jaw as well. Came to find out that I was having a heart attack due to my main artery was 99 percent blocked,” said Pastor Andrade.
He was rushed to the hospital and underwent surgery, when things got worse.
“I hear the doctor begin to howl out, ‘Give me this’ and ‘I need this,’ and ‘Hurry, we are losing pressure,’ and I tell the nurse again, ‘I can’t breathe.’ And the last thing I recall is one of the nurses putting one of their hands over my chest, and they began to do compressions, and that’s the last that I recall,” said Pastor Andrade.
The doctor told Pastor Andrade he was clinically dead for ten seconds.
“I just felt in that moment that that was going to be how I was going to take my last breath. That was the only thought. I didn’t fear anything. I just knew my time has come and this is how it’s going to end,” he said.
Coincidentally, four days before the heart attack he was preaching about the Promised Land.
“And so I told them at the end of my sermon, ‘If your pastor, for whatever reason, doesn’t make it to the Promised Land, meaning that I go, the Lord calls me home or I move on to somewhere else, I would want this church to equipped and to be able to continue to do what God has called this church to do in this community,” said Pastor Andrade.
This is exactly what the church did while Pastor Andrade spent time in the ICU. Worship continued as usual, and the weekly food pantry carried on.
This came as people from the community, state, nation and world reached out with prayers and well-wishes.
“I’m very gracious to my family, and my church family that have been just very supportive during this time, and overwhelmingly have showed me their love and their compassion towards me,” he said.
This is something Pastor Andrade is not used to.
“For all my life, I’ve always been on the other end. I’ve always been encouraging other families. I’ve always tried to help with resources, and what not and this time I was on the other end. I was in the hospital. I was fighting for my life.”
Pastor Andrade will be taking it easy from now on. He will be going to cardiac rehab three times a week, and hopes to preach his first sermon back this Sunday.