A couple of weeks after ending a four-month stay in health care facilities, Lon Sosh is not only home, but he is only a couple of days away from embarking on the biggest challenge of his evangelism career.
Sosh will be the primary speaker four straight nights at a countywide revival at the Historic Logan County Courthouse across from the post office in Russellville. His Second Chance Ministries is organizing the event with several churches serving as co-sponsors. The revival opens Monday, Nov. 12 and runs through Thursday, Nov. 15.
Special music begins nightly at 6:30 with the service getting underway at 7 p.m. Representatives of that night’s host congregations will serve as ushers, and pastors will make announcements, read scriptures and lead prayers.
Sosh has been focused on conducting this large revival for most of this year. Remodeling of the old courthouse, including air conditioning problems, along with Sosh’s severe health issues have delayed its becoming a reality. “God put into my heart to have this countywide revival, and He has kept it there,” Sosh says. “When I’ve been concerned about lack of support, I’ve said, ‘Lord, it’s just you and me,’ and he answers, ‘Who else do you need?’”
Several times in the last four months, it was doubtful that Lon Sosh would ever come home, let alone be able to speak to a large crowd four nights in a row. He has been confined to Vanderbilt and Greenview hospitals, Stallworth and SKY rehabilitation facilities, and Creekwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center for 116 days, beginning July 12.
His surgery at Vanderbilt involved repairing his neck ligaments and tendons along with his vertebrae. Steel rods were installed. While he was there, he suffered serious intestinal problems for 14 days, which included the loss of bold. “When I was being transported from Creekwood to Greenview after (administrator) Elizabeth Gettings was concerned about my very low blood pressure, I head the ambulance driver tell Jean (his sister Jean Reynolds), ‘He’s very sick. He may not make it.’ They got me a state police escort,” he says.
He contracted a serious blood infection at the Bowling Green hospital. “They told me heart surgery was possible, and that scared the daylights of me,” he recalls.
Despite all that, Lon Sosh is home in his lift chair and using a walker to get around. He’ll probably deliver his messages at the courthouse in a wheelchair. For several weeks, he’s done his 6:30 a.m. Sunday sermons on WRUS by cell phone from hospital rooms and home.
Lon Sosh’s name is synonymous with WRUS. The son of the station’s original manager, the late W.P. ‘Winky’ Sosh, he became an air personality as a teenager. He owned WRUS and the accompanying FM station at one time. In this century, he returned to WRUS from Texas and resumed his role in the “air chair” as his alter ego, “Big Daddy Bob Alou.”
In 2011, he became more and more convinced that he was receiving a divine call to go into evangelism full-time. On Dec. 11, almost exactly a year ago, he was host of his final entertainment show on WRUS, over a half century after he first sat behind a microphone at the station.
“A lot of people didn’t understand why I couldn’t do both, but I just didn’t feel I could do what God wanted and continue the show,” he says. “Who wants the Rev. Big Daddy Bob Alou to speak at their church?
“People tell me they miss my jokes and fun, but about 50 percent of them say, ‘But I understand.’”
Sosh’s medical expenses have been enormous throughout all this. A fund raiser benefit was organized by radio personalities Tim Harris and Travis Bryan. It came during Tobacco & Heritage Festival time and attendance wasn’t as great as had been hoped.
Lon Sosh, however, is much more concerned about the countywide revival than he is his own physical and fiscal welfare. “Everybody is welcome,” he says. “There will be plenty of comfortable seating. We want this to be a special week that glorifies God.”