ATLANTA Henry Blackaby, founder and president emeritus of Blackaby Ministries International, underwent a quadruple bypass surgery Tuesday after suffering a heart attack while driving in Atlanta, becoming confused and traveling for 29 hours before police found him Sept. 20 in Tifton, Ga., 150 miles southeast of his home.
The doctors have told the family that the surgery 'could not have gone better.'
"He has been living with 70% to 100% blockage," the Blackaby family said in a statement posted on the Blackaby Ministries International website Sept. 24.
The doctor had told the family that one area of the heart that had not functioning and might have been damaged by an undetected heart attack as much as five years ago.
"It is amazing how God has preserved Henry and enabled him to continue ministering with his heart functioning far below what it should be."
The statement requested prayer "for his recovery" and thanked supporters for their prayers. "We believe that God has some special taks remaining for Henry to do," the Blackaby family concluded in the statement.
"He has been empowered by God," Blackaby's son Richard said Monday on Twitter of his father's perseverance in ministry. The previous day, Richard Blackaby tweeted, "He's in good spirits, joking with staff."
Blackaby, 78, had been missing since Thursday, Sept. 19, around 4 p.m. from his home in Rex, Ga., in metro Atlanta. He was on his way to pick up his wife Marilynn from an appointment when he suffered the heart attack and became disoriented, according to a statement posted Saturday on the Blackaby Ministries International website.
"He did not have his cell phone with him nor insulin for his diabetes," the statement said. "As a result, his blood sugar rose and his kidneys began to struggle as well. The family was able to track his movements as he used a credit card to make occasional purchases. The police assigned a detective group to monitor his movements and to track him down. Hundreds of volunteers, many from his church at First Baptist Church Jonesboro, GA drove all over the city looking for him."
The statement added, "It is clear that God heard and answered the prayers of His people! Thank you to everyone who prayed and helped in the search."
An earlier statement posted on the Blackaby Ministries International Facebook page Friday around 9 p.m. announced that Blackaby had been found.
"The Blackaby family would like everyone to know that Henry has been found and is safe," the statement said. "His health concerns are being addressed and we will keep everyone posted with the news. We wish to express to everyone our appreciation and gratitude for the prayers and concern over the last 29 hours. Henry has taught us that we can experience God in the good and the bad times. We thank God that we have experienced his grace, peace, and faithfulness in these times."
Blackaby's credit card purchases indicated that he was six miles from his home by mid-morning Friday and in Perry, Ga., 90 miles southeast of his home around 5:30 p.m., Richard Blackaby's tweets said.
Prayers for Blackaby were circulated by various Southern Baptist leaders and over the PrayerLink network of Baptist workers who lead intercessory prayer initiatives. And a report of his disappearance has been on local TV in the Atlanta area.
Blackaby is best known for the "Experiencing God" Bible study he coauthored with Claude King. The discipleship resource, first published in 1990, has sold more than 7 million copies in 45 languages.
BP and Christian Examiner staff