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Author, latest: Heaven is Real (The Berkley Publishing Group/Penguin Group, 2007);
New York Times bestseller, 90 Minutes in Heaven - a True Story of Death and Life (Fleming Revell, 2004) which has sold more than 1.6 million copies in the United States;
Featured on The Today Show, The Coral Ridge Hour, numerous TV talk shows including Daystar's At Home Live, Canada's 100 Huntley Street, TBN's Praise The Lord, etc.;
Serves on the Board of Directors for the Far East Broadcasting Company, which sends the Gospel via radio to approximately 20 countries in the Eastern Hemisphere;
Louisiana State University;
Radio and Television Broadcasting;
Married to Eva. Children include Nicole and twin sons, Chris and Joe.
90 Minutes in Heaven (Fleming Revell, 2004)
CBN.com In 1989, Don was on his way back from a church conference when an 18-wheeler struck his Ford Escort head on. He was killed instantly - pronounced dead by four sets of EMTS. Shortly after the accident, Dick Onerecker, a pastor arrived on the scene and asked if he could pray for the man in the accident. The officer told Dick, 'No – the man under the tarp is deceased.'
But, Dick continued to insist on praying for the man. Finally Dick was given permission, but warned that the body was badly mangled. The Lord impressed upon Don to pray specifically for no head or internal injuries. While Dick prayed fervently, Don was experiencing the glories of heaven. But, just as suddenly as he had arrived at the gates of heaven, he left them.
In his first moment of consciousness back on Earth, Don recalls singing along with Dick, “What A Friend We Have in Jesus.” But, his time in heaven did not take away from his earthly suffering. He had a long road back to health that lay ahead of him.
“Pain became my constant companion. For a long time I would not know what it was like not to hurt all over my body,” recalls Don.
Miraculously he had no head or internal injuries. He spent more than 100 days in the hospital with painful treatments and physical disabilities. To date, Don has had 34 surgical procedures. His ability to walk is nothing short of a miracle.
“Sometimes I still ask God why I wasn’t allowed to stay in heaven. I have no answer to that question. I have learned, however, that God brings people into my life who need me or need to hear my message,” says Don.
“Before I went to heaven, I didn’t think much about the place called heaven. I believed in the reality of heaven because the Bible teaches it. But I was too busy living my life to think about what would probably happen when I was eighty or ninety,” says Don.
After the accident, Don’s view of heaven changed. He remembers driving on the bridge and the next moment he recalls standing in heaven.
“It (heaven) was perfect, and I knew I had no needs and never would again,” says Don.
The light, texture, embraces, beauty, hues and tones surpassed anything he had ever seen. From the celestial greeting committee, to the swoosh of angels wings, and the myriads of sounds, Don says heaven was like a first-class buffet for the senses. It felt more real than anything he had ever experienced before.
“Gaining a heavenly perspective fundamentally changed the way I ministered to people. Although I always had a pastor’s heart, I can obviously relate much better now to those who are suffering. I even do funerals differently. When you are given the opportunity to experience what’s in store for us on the other side, you are not the same…and you shouldn’t be,” notes Don.
Despite the difficult circumstances that some people face in this life, Don says you have to keep your eyes on what lies ahead – Heaven. Finding that heavenly perspective is what will make your life meaningful and give you purpose in life. Don’s goal is to help bitter people become better, to turn disappointments into divine appointments. He calls it "finding a new normal" and he's made it his life's work.
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.