day - Harry Pishcura
Carl E. Feather
New Life Assembly of God (Geneva, Ohio) Pastor Harry Pishcura's life
ended on November 17, 2004 -- at least long enough to glimpse heaven.
But speedy medical response and much prayer sees Pishcura released from
hospital within a week. Pishcura once again ministering to people of
Geneva, only this time, as a man "who was raised from the dead."
New Life Assembly of God (Geneva, Ohio) Pastor Harry Pishcura's
stopped beating about 7:15 a.m. November 17, 2004. He was in bed next
to his wife Dawn, who was dozing while Harry prayed with another
believer over a telephone headset.
Dawn says she noticed that her husband made a strange sound then
stopped talking. She checked on him, but there was no response. Quickly
ending the conversation with the caller, she dialed 9-1-1 and yelled
for their daughter Angeline, a licensed practical nurse who lives with
Angeline started CPR on her father. Two minutes later, emergency
medical technicians arrived and tried to revive Harry. They repeatedly
shocked Harry's heart. It took seven attempts to bring him back.
At University Hospitals Health System (UHHS) Geneva Memorial Hospital,
Harry's heart was shocked twice more. The doctor did his best to save
Harry -- the sole breadwinner for a family of 12.
"But he didn't give Harry a hope or a chance," says Dawn.
Harry was transported to UHHS in Cleveland by helicopter. There, a
heart catheterization was performed on the 52-year-old pastor, but no
blockages were found. "The arteries were clear," Dawn says. "There was
no bleeding in the brain, either."
The only clue was found in his blood chemistry. Harry had low magnesium
and potassium levels, essential for maintaining heart health. He'd been
on a 40-day fast prior to the November election, and the lack of
nutrition from that fast is believed to be a factor in triggering the
Dawn says the doctor told her that the survival rate for this type of
heart attack is only 5 percent. However, from a medical standpoint,
Harry had in his favor the quick action of Angeline and the fast
response of the EMT crew. From a supernatural view, he had the
advantage of thousands of people all over the world praying for him.
Word spread throughout the community, over telephone lines, radio
waves, e-mail - even to the AG National Prayer Center - in the minutes
and hours immediately following the heart attack.
During this time, Dawn repeatedly read Psalm 116, that day's Bible
reading, to her unconscious husband. Its words seemed to have been
written specifically for their situation.
Dawn says another verse kept coming to her mind, one that she'd
received from God when she went through some health difficulties of her
own five months earlier.
"Women received their dead raised to life again," Hebrews 11:35.
She couldn't understand why that verse had been given to her at the
time, but now it made sense. Her husband had literally died, and she
was being asked to believe that he would be raised to life again.
The cardiologist told Dawn that the two days following the heart attack
would tell the story. "If he didn't come out of it in two days, the
chances were that he'd never wake up," she says. "And if he did,
he would be brain damaged."
Dawn played the song "Reign" for her husband through headphones, read
Psalm 116 and prayed by his bedside during the days he lay in a coma.
When the church gathered to hold a prayer service on November 18, Harry
"listened" in through a telephone connection.
It was a telephone call from their youngest sons, John, 4, and Joe, 6,
that finally roused Harry from his coma. Frustrated by not getting a
response from their comatose father, they hollered "I LOVE YOU" into
"That's when I started to respond," Harry says.
He had been in a coma three days.
During the next four days, Harry slowly regained his speech and motor
Shortly after he came out of the coma, Dawn asked her husband if he had
seen heaven during the time he was dead. "He said, 'Yeah, I saw it, and
it was beautiful,'" she says.
Harry has since lost that memory, but during a worship service, he says
God gave him a brief recollection of his brief visit to eternity. "The
purity, the brightness of it, was like a stepping outside on a sunny
day with the snow glimmering," he says.
Seven days after the heart attack, Harry was released from the
hospital. Tests indicated that there was no damage to the heart.
"It was a real miracle," he says.
On January 23, a combined service (the church holds two Sunday morning
services) of more than 200 people gathered at the Geneva Community
Center to praise God for answered prayer and welcome their pastor back
to the pulpit for a portion of the service.
Although Harry still struggles with his memory -- about three months of
it are missing except bits and pieces -- physically, his magnesium
level has approached the low end of normal.
"This experience has caused us as a church to realize we will have a
defibrillator at our new church," he says.
"Our pastor was legally dead, and God brought him back to life because
of the saints praying," says church deacon Joe Joswick.
Joswick says a congregation that witnesses this kind of miracle
occurring right before its eyes can't help but be strengthened in its
Harry has a unique testimony that he joyfully shares with others,
particularly the youngsters who find his story fascinating in an almost
biblical sort of way.
"I tell them if anybody tells you there is no God, you can tell them
that there's this guy who died and who was raised from the dead, and
you can see him at New Life Assembly of God," Harry says.
Star Beacon edited and reprinted with permission
Note: Harry was a pastor for many years in Hawaii: Hilo
and Kaneohe. And his wife is from Hawaii. We've enjoyed great
fellowship with them, stayed in their home... Wonderful people. You
can't help but love um. - APM Ed.