Following the Call
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While praying at home, young Anita saw a vision of South America. She told her pastor, who explained God might be calling her to ministry. Anita took that seriously. At age 13 she wrote a school paper titled “My Future Vocation in the Ministry,” in which she emphasized being called by God.
Also at 13, Anita began dating Harry B. Livengood. H.B. served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War while Anita finished high school. They married in 1952 during his leave for a family funeral. At that time, H.B. told Anita that if God called him to ministry, he would agree. That happened to H.B., while stationed in England, and he began conducting evangelistic work among soldiers. He continued preaching after active duty and in 1955 became an Assemblies of God pastor in Hoopeston, Illinois, where the couple stayed for 13 years.
Anita did whatever needed to be done: teaching, playing piano or organ, hosting missionaries, youth and children’s ministry. For three decades, she spent several weeks each summer as a camp counselor. Their sons Michael, Stephen, and Kevin graduated high school in Robinson, Illinois, during an 11-year tenure at Robinwood Assembly of God.
Tragedy struck in 1989 when youngest son Kevin, a Green Beret, died in a helicopter explosion. Just a year later, 60-year-old H.B. died after playing basketball with men from Robinwood during a second stint there.
Anita realized God’s call on her life hadn’t waned. Friends provided a house, and she agreed to a presbyter’s request to be a fill-in pastor, as H.B. had planned to do upon retirement. After four months at Newton First Assembly, she received a 100 percent vote to remain full time in 1991. She stayed for six years.
Livengood finished Global University courses and obtained AG ministerial credentials in 1991. In an effort to encourage other women, she received her ordination in 1996.
In addition to Newton, Livengood has served as revival speaker and guest preacher for several churches. She pastored in Tilton from 2001–06 as well as 2011–12, served Danville First Assembly as senior adult ministry director in 2007, and returned to Robinson as interim pastor in 2015–16. She has helped several churches through transition and led two in building programs.
Livengood says God always has confirmed when it’s time to leave.
“When you’re confident in the calling you have received, you don’t have to strive,” she says.
Livengood has joined community efforts to combat drugs and crime in Danville.
“It’s a mission field neighborhood,” she says. When not filling in somewhere, Livengood attends The Assembly in Danville and some services at the Hillery Assembly of God .
She also assists her son Michael, a full-time evangelist who oversees Mike Livengood Ministries. Son Stephen is a credentialed AG minister and a high school math teacher.
At the 2019 Illinois District Council, Livengood received the district’s “Unsung Hero” award.
"The kingdom of God is blessed by ministers like Anita Livengood,” says District Superintendent Phil Schneider. “She is full of faith, the fire of the Holy Spirit, and optimistic zeal for serving God! She has never stopped preaching or praying, and is such an encouragement to me!"