No Heartbeat for 60 Minutes

Without a heartbeat for more than 60 minutes, the doctor was about to call time of death for 14-year-old John Smith. Then something happened.

When 14-year-old John Smith fell through an icy lake near St. Charles, Missouri, he had been submerged for 15 minutes. It took 10-20 minutes to remove him from the water. He had no pulse. He was not breathing. “In all reality, he was dead then,” said one emergency worker.

John said he doesn’t remember much, but did remember saying, “Call 911. I don’t want to die,” and calling out to God for help. One of the boys was able to pull himself out. The other was rescued by emergency teams.

A Big Mistake

Lake Sainte Louis – Near St. Louis, MO

John Smith along with two friends were hanging out, celebrating after a basketball win on an unusually warm 50-degree day January 19, 2015. But deciding to walk across frozen Lake Sainte Louis was a big mistake. The warmth caused the frozen lake to start melting. When the ice cracked, the three friends plunged into the 40-degree water.
This amazing story of faith will be released as a movie –  “Breakthrough” –  April 2019. See trailer below

Grim News

His mother, Joyce Smith, got the grim news when the hospital called. They had done everything they could do. John had been without oxygen for nearly an hour. The doctor was ready to give up hope and decided to call in his mother to say goodbye. He told her she could talk to him if she wished.

His mother said, “When I walked into the room, I didn’t realize they were about to call time of death,” she recalled. His feet were cold and grey. Adopted from Guatemala, she wasn’t ready to give up her son, but the nurse said he was gone. She went to his bedside, sat down beside him. She recalled the Bible verse from Romans 8:11. She began to began to pray out loud in desperation, “Come Holy Spirit. Please, give me back my son.”

And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies…” 

Romans 8:11 – King James Version

God Jump-Started His Heart

See full testimony here:

And then, something miraculous happened.

The team performed CPR and life support on John for 27 minutes with no success. The nurse told John’s mother, ‘The minute you prayed, something moved up John’s body with such force, it pushed me back — and suddenly, I got a pulse.’ The medical team was stunned and shaken. One of the members wrote a paper to express his feelings. He exclaimed, “The Holy Spirit jump-started his heart again at the request of a praying mom.”

The firefighters who came to rescue John “just happened” to practice ice rescues the week before. They almost gave up until one rescuer said he heard a voice telling him to ‘Go back.’ Dr. Sutterer, the specialist who “just happened” to be on duty at the hospital that day, has a daughter in the same eighth-grade class as John. He said he’d never seen anyone survive after being without a pulse for more than 25 minutes.

“The Holy Spirit jump-started his heart at the request of a praying mom.”

Do Your Best; God Will Do the Rest

John walking out of the hospital with Pastor Jason Noble – YouTube capture

After her son’s pulse returned, the doctors warned her he would probably be a vegetable. Spending that much time underwater, and without oxygen, brain damage was probable. Even though the frigid water can help shut the body down, the doctor admitted the boy was dead for 45 minutes. Joyce said she knew they had the best doctor available and told him, “Do your best. God will do the rest.”

She refused to believe her son would be any less than fully recovered. She believed God would bring him all the way back to her. People from her church, the Christian school he attended, and many others prayed for his recovery.

Complete Bonafide Miracle

Two days later, John woke up and began communicating with those around him. Seven days after waking, John went off the ventilator, and 16 days later, he walked out of the hospital. His rapid recovery defied every expert, every case history, and every scientific prediction.

There have not been any side effects from the accident, and he has done many interviews and testimonies on television and around the country.
Dr. John Garrett, who oversaw John’s recovery admitted, “This is a bonafide miracle.”

When there’s nothing else we can do – that’s when God takes over.”

Pastor Jason Noble
BREAKTHROUGH will be released this April 2019

John’s story has been written into a book,  The Impossible, by his mother, Joyce Smith. It will come out in film, Breakthrough, this Easter 2019.

In John Smith’s words – “Take every day as a gift from God. Cherish every moment. Make the most of every day.”

I believe in modern day miracles – do you?

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Pushed Over the Mountain

We had been visiting my sister in Great Falls, Montana. To go back home to South Dakota, we had to travel through the snow-covered Rockies. The day we left, it was snowing and visibility was close to zero. Ice hid beneath the snow-covered roads.

Danger Ahead

Rounding a curve on the mountain, Dad saw a huge semi jackknifed in the turn ahead blocking all traffic. Several cars had already stopped ahead of us. We slowed down and stopped slowly. Dad pulled the car to the side of the road. We sat and watched as this semi driver labored to get his truck straightened out. People tried to flag the oncoming cars to warn them to slow down and stop.


Another semi-tractor trailer rounded the corner, paying no attention to those who tried to give a warning about the truck ahead. Going downhill going too fast, the ice and snowy road was unforgiving to the big truck’s brakes. By the time he saw the jack-knifed truck ahead, it was too late.


His high-powered brakes screeched and he began to jack-knife too. I watched as if in a dream as the big trailer headed directly for our car. The truck hit our car once, then twice, then three times. Each time, it pushed our car a little farther over the edge. Mother started to scream. Dad braced himself on the wheel. There was no time to think about getting out. We were already targeted to go over the cliff. No one was buckled in. There were no seatbelts in cars in the late 50s.

This picture is from an I-80 crash in Wyoming in 2015 involving over 30 trucks and 10 cars. Miraculously, there were no fatalities, dangerous spills or fires in this horrendous crash.
-Source: YouTube capture.

As an eight-year-old, I didn’t understand what falling off the mountain meant. I remember sitting in the backseat, unafraid. Maybe I thought it would be like a rollercoaster ride.

Prayed for God’s Help

I remember asking God to take care of us. Mother was screaming for Jesus to help us. Miraculously, the truck came to a stop. Our front tire was close to going over the edge, but we hadn’t gone over the precipice. No one was hurt, and neither was our car. Although shaken up, we were fine and thankful to God. Somehow, we managed to get out. Someone offered to take my mother and me to the closest town to get a tow truck. Dad stayed with the car and waited in the cold.

Finally, we were off the mountain and on our way again – with an experience never to forget about God’s protection. That day, I believe God heard the prayers of a little girl who believed.


This is a true story that happened to the writer at age eight.

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The Miracle of Creation

What do a baseball and a pound of butter have in common? They both weigh one pound.

Now, consider a baby weighing a little more than one pound. Slightly big enough to fit in a man’s hand.

Miracle Micro-Preemie Born

Micro-preemie Emma Ryan weighed one pound two ounces when she was born at 27 weeks gestation. She was only a little over ten inches long. Her mother called it a true miracle.

“Our tiny Micro preemie born three months early (27 weeks) at only 500 grams (1 lbs 2 oz) is a true Miracle! ”

Why a Miracle?

Full-Term birth is 39-40 weeks gestation according to the American College of Obstetricians. Early birth is considered 37-38 weeks, or between the eighth and ninth month. The baby completes full development in the last four to five weeks in the womb.

The Baby’s Growth in Weeks 35-40

Between weeks 35-40 in the third trimester – the baby’s lungs finish developing. Eyes open and close and respond to light; toenails start to grow. The baby can be about the weight of 3-4 lbs. sugar. In week 33, they can swallow, yawn and begins to practice breathing. The baby’s brain controls the body temperature. By week 35, the skin is no longer translucent, more fat cells have formed to keep the baby warm outside the womb. They may now weigh as much as 5 lbs. of potatoes. In week 36, the baby develops sleep patterns and fingernails reach the ends of the fingers. Bones and muscles are ready for the outside by week 37. The lungs are ready to breathe and cry by week 39. The baby’s brain signals it’s time to start moving into the birth canal – ready to meet the world! See a step-by-step growth chart here.

Did you know? Late-term abortion is allowed in the United States up to 36 weeks in some states

Six or seven months into the pregnancy, babies are perfectly formed and have the necessary means of survival. Baby Emma and many other preemies have proved it so. They yawn, suck their thumb, smile, play with their feet, and much more – proven by 3D imagery.

God Knows Each One

When two lives joined together to create a new little being, any birth is a wonderful miracle from God. He declares He knows us even before we were conceived and as we’re being formed in the womb. God knows every thought and every anxious moment. He sees when you rise and when you rest. God cares about every moment of your life from the moment you’re conceived until the day you die.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I
praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
  (Psalm 139:13-17 NIV)

Don’t Worry About the Future

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV)

As we head into this New Year, why worry? God sees where you are, and HE CARES about you. When you place yourself God’s hands, He takes care of the rest. He gives an unexplainable peace in your heart and rest for your soul. You only need to ask.

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Saved from Flying Bullets

Heading Home for the Holidays

Does God protect? These college kids found out….

Five of us were going home from college in Springfield, MO heading toward Ohio for Christmas. We took turns driving, and around midnight, I took the wheel. Everyone else slept while I drove the snow-covered roads. I passed a car in the blowing snow with Florida plates. I moved back around into the right lane and saw the car drive right up close behind me, and then immediately pass me again, signing obscene gestures as he did.

Staring at the End of a Barrel!

As soon as the car pulled back in front of us, he hit his brakes, causing me to swerve into the passing lane to miss him. He slowed, so  I started to pass this same car again. The car sped up and drove right beside me on the right side of the road to prevent me from passing. I saw the driver whip out a .45 revolver and aim directly at me. It felt as if I were staring down the end of the barrel. 

I slammed on the brakes to slow down and be next to the other car’s back bumper. This forced him to concentrate on driving rather than aiming his gun, but he still pulled off a couple of shots. I heard a ping. By the second shot, I swerved to miss the bullets.

Next Exit

By now everyone was awake, confused and wondering what was happening. I was glad to see our exit was the next one. I quickly turned onto the exit and drove to where we would meet up with our parents to take us the rest of the way home. Thankfully, the Florida car didn’t follow us. At the rest stop, where we met our parents, were two sheriff’s cars. We told them about the shooters. They weren’t sure if we were a bunch of college kids playing a prank or telling the truth, but they went out to look for the car.

Bullet Holes Found

It seemed surreal. Did someone really shoot at us? The girl, whose car we traveled in, called the next day. When her father checked over her car, he found one bullet lodged into the battery block wall; the other bullet was lodged in the windshield wiper tray, inches from coming inside. Things could have ended much differently that December night.

God was watching over us that night, for sure. I am thankful for His protection and safety for that time and for many others.


Travis Simonson

Travis Simonson, my son, recalled this incident from his college days. He now works in Kansas City, MO as a VmWare Admin | IT Specialist with the FDA.

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Struck by Lightning-Marked for Life – Pt.2


David Gilmore, struck by 100 million volts of lightning gasped for breath as he was rushed to the nearest hospital.

Clothes were stripped from Gilmore’s body at the hospital and a shot given for relaxation. He was in shock. A steady drip of morphine eased his extreme pain.  He had no feeling in his lower limbs; his feet would not move, his toes would not wiggle. He couldn’t lift his legs and his skin was ivory white.

A Question Mark on His Head

Lightning-question markThe lightning marked his body from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet. It burned a question mark on the top of his head. The barber strap bruise went from the left side of his head to his lower right hip. The bruise then went down his right leg in the standard zigzag pattern all the way to his little toe. On his left side, the pattern was on the inside leg coming out the arch of his foot.

The zipper on his pants was melted, but his body not burned. The lining of his white socks was burnt, yet his leather boots were undamaged. The doctor relayed that this was the probable reason he was still alive. Had he worn rubber-bottomed shoes, a double dose of lightning would have gone through his body, not being able to hit the ground.

Paralysis – Morphine & Pain

man in black hoodie holding fire

Photo by Wojciech Marciniak on

As the paralysis began to subside, the pain of electrocution was still intense. Morphine only minimized the pain and left him in a near-dream state.  “It was as if I could see my thoughts in front of me–like watching a video of my own imagination. The doctor came in with his white lab coat to examine me. I thought it was an angel sent to take me home. There was no fear, but then I recognized him. “Ahh Doc! It’s you.”

Within the first six hours, the doctor came back in and pushed a needle into Gilmore’s foot. “Can you feel that?” the doctor asked.

“No,” Dave said.

The doctor shook his head and showed  Dave that he’d reached a depth of almost a half inch into the foot. He felt nothing. Asking if he would get his feeling back, the doctor was honest. He told Dave it was difficult to determine with lightning strikes, but that he would keep checking.

Very Lucky Man

Dave and motorcyle with quote

Used by permission of David Gilmore

“You are a very lucky man to be here talking to me. I’ve seen people with fewer markings in the morgue than you have on your body!” the doctor told him.

“Luck has nothing to do with it,” Dave replied. “I’m thankful to the One who’s responsible for me being alive.” He admitted he started praying while laying on the ground under the tree while waiting for the ambulance.

Walked Like a 105-Year-Old Man

Five more hours passed, and Dave began to see movement in his right big toe. He called the doctor back in and was told it was a good sign. He thanked God for this subtle movement and determined to keep moving. After six hours of paralysis, his legs began to move as well. His determination paid off. He was in the hospital for a total of seventeen hours and then fearing a huge hospital bill, he checked himself out against medical advice. The doctor could only prescribe painkillers, not morphine. Gilmore said, “he may as well have given me vitamin pills.” Without the aid of morphine, he said he walked like a 105-year-old man for a week. Gradually all movement returned, although he cannot bend his toes or sprint and is still a little numb from the knees down.

Marked for Life

GIlmore quote

He was marked by God, and small remnants remain  –  a ‘God-kiss’ patch on his neck and a tiny circle on his right hip pocket area. Dave says, “Papa has a sense of humor. The question mark on my head reminds me He has the answers to all my questions.”

“The experience made me understand how much God loves His children and to what length He will go to show you. I now have a better understanding of what a ‘personal relationship’ truly means.

Now I wake up every morning and greet Him with ‘Morning Papa!’ I hope it makes Him smile,” Gilmore said.


DAVE GILMORE_& TROJAN WOMANDavid Gilmore received his M.A. degree from Bowling Green State University in scenic design. He taught theatre technology at Findlay University as a graduate student and now teaches theatre performance/technology at the Firelands branch of BGSU in Huron, Ohio. As the Technical Director/ Designer, he works with lighting and sound and also helps with set construction and scene painting.
Gilmore also does his share of acting at Firelands Playhouse in Huron and at Cedar Point (Sandusky, Ohio) on the weekends playing diverse roles including the insane narrator of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart.

By David Gilmore as told to C.A. Simonson (c)2018

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100 Million Volts of Lightning: Head to Toe

The possibility of getting struck by lightning is 1 in 3,000, according to National Geographic. The force of electricity and heat five times greater than the sun can cause a tree to explode. In humans, it may cause respiratory problems, third-degree external burns, and paralysis. Hair may singe or catch fire and any metal object could sear into the skin. It is not uncommon for hearing loss, cardiac arrest, coma, or even death to occur in the three milliseconds it takes for a jolt of lightning to course through a body.  Dave Gilmore of Huron, Ohio, met his match with a lightning bolt one summer day and lived to tell an amazing story.

Wild Party Weekend

In 1986, Dave Gilmore had big plans for a wild weekend of cutting loose with friends and letting inhibitions go along with all the other things that can happen at a large biker swap meet. He had no boundaries and lived a rowdy and wild lifestyle. His mother tried to discourage him, saying she had a bad feeling about it.  He assured her he would be fine.

He never made it to the party.

Dave Gilmore & bike in field

Used with permission by David Gilmore

Dave got on his Harley and started the two-hour drive to Orville. Gazing at the beauty of God’s creation that summer day, he began to admire the artistry of God. It brought awareness of his deteriorating relationship with God. Feeling the need to be open and honest, he began to confess out loud. He told God everything he planned to do at this party, even though God already knew.

Dangerous Prayer

As he cruised down the highway, he said the distance between him and God became overwhelming. “Father, you know where I’m going, and you know what I intend to do. Nothing is hidden from You. I’ve been on this path for 15 years. Now it feels like I have gotten very far away from You. I don’t know how to get back to where I need to be. So, Father, I’m going to ask you something I never thought I’d ask. I need you to do whatever it takes to bring me back to you. It scares me a bit to say this, but I trust you. Only You can do this. I need our communion back in my life. I know you love me, but I need to feel that love in my heart.”   Dave thanked Him for an answer and continued his journey.

Awakened to a Drenching Rain

He arrived at the campsite – a cornfield large enough to accommodate 8,000 people surrounded by trees. He set up his tent near two friends. Saturday morning, they awoke to a steady drenching rain. Dave’s first thought was to get coffee and find the nearest porta-potty. His two friends joined him and found many other people waiting in line for the same place.

Growing up in the country, he decided to go into the woods out of sight. Noticing no rain coming through the trees, he beckoned his friends to join him. They stood under the tree canopy laughing at all the people getting sopping wet. They wondered why more had not taken refuge in the woods. The guys waited under the trees making plans for the big party later that night and waited for the rain to subside. They mentioned that it was strange there wasn’t any lightning. Some say you can smell nearby lightning in the air. Others say you can feel it in your hair, like a tingling sensation. None of that happened.

Shelter in the Trees

They saw another guy with a brunette on his right arm and a blond on his left start toward the trees. The very attractive blond wore a white tee-shirt soaked by the rain. One of Dave’s friends pointed her out to him.

“Get a load of her, Dave,” they laughed, knowing he’d like what he saw.

To see past them, Dave moved two feet beyond the tree. “Nice,” he responded with a grin. The next thing he knew, he was laying on the ground looking up at the brunette.

“Don’t worry, everything’s going to be all right,” the girl said while leaning over him.

Struck Down by a Jolt of Lightning

Gilmore recounts, “There were no memories of anything happening with this girl, but a group of onlookers held a leather jacket above us. Grinning, I thought she had me pinned.  “What do you mean I’m going to be all right?”


Surviving a lightning strike

Dave’s hands moved in slow motion as he tried to grab her arms and sit up. He couldn’t figure out where they were or how they got there.

The girl pushed him back down. “Don’t move. You’ve been struck by lightning.”

Shock set in as the realization rocked his mind. Breathing became extremely difficult.  The girl told him the ambulance was on its way. Dave said that’s when he began to pray for God’s help.

The medics quickly put Dave’s body in the ambulance and administered oxygen as he gasped for air. “Hang in there, buddy!” one of the medics said, “we’re almost there! Sorry for the bumpy ride.”

“I…I’m… I’m trying to …to hang….to hang in there,” his voice came out in short gasps.
They kept talking trying to assure him he would be okay. He wasn’t so sure. He couldn’t move.

He had been struck to the ground by a jolt of one hundred million volts of electricity.


By David Gilmore, as told to C.A. Simonson (c)2018

Come back to read the rest of Dave Gilmore’s experience — coming soon.

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A Ball of Fire Through the House!

70c1618322e03cc72738470e07b20bdb“When this much electricity goes through a house, it’s fortunate that anyone comes out alive,” said the fireman at an Ozarks residence hit by lightning earlier this year. (See story below).

When lightning strikes, it is nothing to joke about. The temperature of lightning can reach around 50,000° F. The electricity in a single bolt can reach 200 million volts, according to

MaryAnn Ellingson tells about lightning hitting their house when she was a small girl.

“It was a terrible lightning storm,” she remembers. “We had a boy who lived with our family. Mom had just brought us three girls downstairs to be safe from the storm when a ball of fire came through the house, down the stairs, and out the front door.” She recalls her mother being beside herself remembering Don was still in his room on a wire-framed bed. Running back upstairs to see if he was all right, she found him still sound asleep, not aware a storm hit.

“God protected us and our house that night,” says MaryAnn. “Nothing was even charred or singed.”

MaryAnn Ellingson lives in Lake Preston, South Dakota, with her husband Martin.

* * * *

In May of 2018, lightning ripped a hole through the roof of Dave and Carol Damanskis of Ozark. Awakening them in the early morning hours as the storm approached, the couple agrees, “We are blessed to be alive, and are so thankful.”

Damage from Lightning

It blew the ceiling off the rooms — Courtesy of KSPR33

The Damanskis were still in bed before 5:00 a.m. when they heard the thunder and lightning getting closer.  Dave said he thought about getting up, and breathed a quick prayer. “Lord Jesus, keep us safe.” Less than a minute later, it felt like a sonic boom went off above their heads, according to Dave.

They found ceilings, sheetrock, and insulation covering their floors. Sheetrock blocked the front door. Fire was on the roof. Electrical boxes and wiring were charred, and internet wiring was blown out of the ground. Yet, the house was not burned down, and minimal damage occurred inside.

Carol said, “It was a true, true miracle that we got out of there alive without a scratch.”

See the whole story from KSPR33 here.


What happens when lightning strikes a person? Few have lived to tell about their jolting experience. More stories coming.  Miracles – or coincidence?

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