Heaven Sent Daily
Mark Berney and his wife standing in front of gray wall

Pastor Who Seized While Preaching Survives Heart Transplant During Pandemic

A Florida pastor is alive today thanks to dedicated hospital staff, modern medicine, and the providence of God. He credits his faith in God for seeing him through after he suffered from a heart attack while preaching in March.

Pastor Seizes in Middle of Sermon

In March, Pastor Mark Berney of River of Life Assembly of God in Merritt Island, Florida was preaching a sermon when he fell back into his chair and began seizing. Immediately, parishioners rushed the stage and called 911. They began to pray.

Moments later, Berney woke to find himself surrounded by church members. Once the ambulance arrived, he was rushed to AdventHealth Orlando. Upon further tests, doctors determined he would need a heart transplant.

Armed with his faith, the 61-year-old pastor faced an insurmountable task: undergoing a heart transplant in the middle of a pandemic in which hospitals were overwhelmed with patients. On April 22, the transplant was a success, and Berney had a new heart.

Grabbing a Hold of Your Faith

In a press release, Berney said the shortness of life became extremely real to him after he passed out in the middle of his sermon. The fact that he could be preaching one moment and dead the next, spoke volumes about his time on Earth.

“My mortality was real — it’s that way for everybody. I had no guarantees to my future in this body. So I grabbed a hold of my faith. I drove down where God was concerned and recognized that He’s my prize, ultimately. When I signed up for Him, He’s my ultimate destiny,” Berney said.

“That began giving me peace of mind — knowing I was gonna be OK. No matter what, I couldn’t lose. I’d always win,” he added.

Berney is forever grateful and indebted to the donor and surviving family that allowed him to continue doing God’s work and spend time with his own family.

“Words cannot express how I feel. How humbled I am for it and how grateful I am.”

‘Blown Away’ By God’s Mercy

Berney is currently at home recovering from the grueling, life-threatening surgery. The Florida pastor, who has had a history of heart issues, says he can now feel the warmth in his legs for the first time in nearly a decade. He is “completely blown away at the mercy of God.”

“The blood that’s going to my brain, I feel like I’ve woken up from a deep sleep,” he said. I just wanna tell you, I don’t care what you’re going through in life, if you will drill down in your faith, He will give you what it takes to get you to the other side.”

Berney praised the hospital staff for their dedication to his health and making him feel as comfortable as possible during the entire process. His wife was unable to be at his side due to coronavirus restrictions.

“I’m impressed and I’m still overwhelmed emotionally,” he said. “[I]’m extremely humbled at the gift of life.”

Bryan Brammer

Bryan Brammer

Bryan earned a Master of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2009 and is a self-published children’s book author. In additional to being a freelance writer, he has hosted and edited numerous podcasts specifically in the area of sports. He currently resides in Raleigh, NC with his beagle Murphy.

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