The 700 Club with Pat Robertson


Shawn Mitchell: An Appointment with 'Dr. Jesus'

By Rod Thomas
The 700 Club
Original Air Date: September 16, 2010

CBN.comWhen Shawn Mitchell came home and crashed on their sofa, his wife Laurie knew something was wrong.

"He wasn’t completing sentences," Laurie tells The 700 Club. "He was slurring his words a little bit, and I knew that was a symptom of a stroke."

Shawn was the chaplain of the NFL’s San Diego Chargers, as well as the pastor of New Venture Christian Fellowship. He was rushed to the hospital, where doctors discovered he was in the middle of a massive stroke.

"Normally they would drill, but it was too deep to drill.  His brain was already swelling, and they had said if it doesn’t stop on its own, he will pass in 24 hours. It was a shock, but at the same time it didn’t seem real."

Shawn’s doctor, Dr. Mark Stengler, remembers getting a call from the hospital physician. He says, "He knew that Pastor Shawn was more than a patient of minehe was also a friend.  He said, 'Sorry to tell you this, but I don’t think he’s going to be alive in the morning.'”

Word quickly got around to the members of the church. Neva Kaiser was part of the prayer group. She says, "Someone came to our home and gave us the news that Pastor Shawn had had this traumatic thing happen. They said that there was a prayer vigil going on. So we went over immediately."

Laurie remembered what Shawn told her what God revealed to him months earlier. "The Lord had told my husband, 'This is going to be the year of new beginnings.' That in itself gave me that peace, because how can it be new beginnings if he’s not here?”

Not everyone was so optimistic.

"I was expecting that he very well wouldn’t be alive," Dr. Stengler recalls. "I was there really to help his family deal with the matter, help console them, but of course, having hope that God would save and prolong his life."

The church continued praying, knowing it would take a miracle for Shawn to live through the night.

"With a hemorrhage that bad, normally a person wouldn’t survive. But beyond that, most people would have lasting effects.  They’d have problems walking, trouble speaking, memory problems," Dr. Stengler says.

Neva recalls, "We felt it was critical to get right on it with prayer and to just tell God that we still needed Him with us."

The next morning, doctors were shocked. Not only was Shawn alive, the bleeding in his brain had stopped.

"You can only really attribute it to a miracle," Dr. Stengler says. "In medicine there is no treatment for it.  It was so severe it was untreatable."

But Shawn didn’t just survive the night.  In time, he made a full recovery. He says, "I sensed my Lord was there.  He was looking out for me.  I went to sleep that night, I woke up the next day, and Doctor Jesus had stopped the bleeding. I was the recipient of thousands of people in our church that were banging on Heaven’s door for me."

Today, Shawn is back in the pulpit, preaching. He’s truly grateful to God for a praying church that petitioned Heaven when his life hung in the balance.

"Prayer needs to be a first priority and not a last resort," Shawn says. "When the doctors end up saying, 'It’s in God’s hands,' it should be placed in God’s hands in the beginning. I’m so grateful for a church that understands that and immediately went into prayer."

"If you’d see Pastor Shawn today, you can’t tell he had a stroke," Dr. Stengler says. "He’s doing so well, would expect him just to continue to do very well and have a full lifespan. [He will] be able to preach for many years to come."

Shawn and Laurie know that God still has a purpose for his life.

"He will be alive until the Lord chooses to take him," Laurie says. "Lord willing, that will be a long time from now."

Shawn agrees, "I realize I’m here for a reason. Every breath is a gift from him.  A heartbeat is a gift from our Lord. I just want to make the rest of my life the best of my life for Him."

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