John Smith Shares His Story That Led to Major Motion Picture 'Breakthrough'

John Smith Shares His Story That Led to Major Motion Picture 'Breakthrough'

John Smith was underwater for 15 minutes and had no pulse for the next 45 minutes. But his mother prayed for God to bring him back to life. This is the storyline of the major motion picture film "Breakthrough," which releases in theaters April 17. Listen as John Smith tells his story of how he slipped through the ice and died four years ago. Find out how that experience changed John's life and what other miracles God has done for him.

21 Minutes • 12 days ago

Episode Notes

The Strang Report

With Stephen Strang

Guest: John Smith

John Smith was underwater for 15 minutes and had no pulse for the next 45 minutes. But his mother prayed for God to bring him back to life. This is the storyline of the major motion picture film “Breakthrough,” which releases in theaters April 17.

Listen as John Smith tells his story of how he slipped through the ice and died four years ago. Find out how that experience changed John's life and what other miracles God has done for him.

Introduction

Stephen Strang: John Smith, it’s pretty incredible that, at 18 years old, there's a movie about you. Tell me what it feels like.

·         Read the Strang Report: ‘I Died an Unbeliever’: Boy Who Came Back to Life After an Hour Shares Details of His Resurrection

John Smith: Having a movie made about me and being me being 18 it's kind of surreal. You always dream about being yourself, maybe being an actor maybe having a part in a film, but not having a film about you. I am super blessed to be here, to be alive and to be able to share this story with the world.

Stephen Strang: I want to drill down and find out about the story. But first of all, let's talk about the movie. It's a major motion picture. I've seen ads for it everywhere. Sam Rodriguez, who's the executive producer, is a close personal friend of mine, and we even covered it in Charisma magazine back when it happened. We picked up on it in the press, the local press just like a lot of people did. When does the movie open and what are the expectations in terms of theaters?

·         On Charisma News: The Boy Who Came Back to Life: Samuel Rodriguez, Devon Franklin Beind First-of-Its-Kind Film

·         First Look: Son Rises from the dead in New Movie Based on a True Story

John Smith: “Breakthrough” comes out April 17. It will show in about 2,700 theaters across the nation. It is actually also being translated into Spanish because of Pastor Samuel Rodriguez, in Central America and Brazil. I've had a million direct messages from other countries saying that they are extremely excited about “Breakthrough” coming to their country.

Stephen Strang: Did you say a million? Is that literal or are you just speaking figuratively?

In The News

·         CBN News: Dead for Over an Hour, Son Comes Back to Life

·         Fox News: Boy Who Inspired Faith Survival Story ‘Breakthrough’ Says ‘God Still Does the Impossible’

John Smith: I’m speaking figures. If I had to say how many direct messages I've had some people, I'd have to say I've had close to 300 direct messages from people in other countries contacting me about “Breakthrough” and how it is coming to their country, They couldn't be happier and they couldn't be more excited about God showing up on the big screen.

Stephen Strang: That's an indication of exciting things to come. I know I feel exactly the same way. Knowing about the story, finding out it's going to be a movie and then seeing the trailer. The trailer is really exciting. Let's go back four years to when this happened. You were I guess a good kid. You went to church with your parents. Is that right?

John Smith: Yes, I was a kid. I grew up in the Assemblies of God. I did the Royal Rangers, I did the Buddy Barrels, I did it all. And then like the movie portrays, I kind of fell away from the church. I had an attitude; I was a bit of a bit of a troublemaker. I ran away from God, I wanted to pursue what I wanted and not what He wanted. He had actually called me to ministry at a young age, but I didn't want anything to do with that. And so, in turn, when the accident happened, I wasn’t saved; I wasn't a Christian. I actually died an unbeliever.

Stephen Strang: Well, I also grew up in the Assemblies of God, and I did a lot of those things too, so I can kind of identify. But regardless, you are in the movie, you're shown to be a basketball player, a nice-looking kid. Does the actor look like you or not?

John Smith: Marcel Ruiz, who was on One Day at a Time on Netflix, is portraying me in the film. He's Puerto Rican, I am Guatemalan. So, there's a little bit of a difference, but he is he's a good kid. When I saw they cast him as me, they did a big thing on the web because it's Christy Metz’s first film, from This is Us. It was also Marcel Ruiz’s first film after One Day at a Time. I just knew. Something in my spirit just told me that OK, God’s got control. Marcel was going to do an amazing job. The first time I saw the film, I could not have been more excited and I could not have not have been more blown away at how he portrayed in the in the film.

Stephen Strang: Let’s go back to that fateful day in January. It's cold there in Missouri where you live and of course, there's ice. Wat were you doing out on the lake with some of your friends?

John Smith: We were just having a good time, just being kids. We saw that the lake had frozen over, and that doesn't happen here in Missouri. We have a thing called bipolar weather where it will be 20 degrees, and then the next hour, it'll be 60 degrees. Or, it will be sunny and blue skies and not a cloud in the sky and then the next hour, it'll be like, there's a tornado getting ready to drop down. Missouri is just known for having really, really weird weather. That's what happened. We had a span of 20-degree days and the lake is frozen over and then the day we were out on the ice at it actually jumped up to 60 to 70 degrees.

Stephen Strang: And so, of course, the ice was thin and you fell through and your friends fell through too, didn’t they?

John Smith: Yes, all three of us fell through. One was able to self-rescue. Me and the other boy were 50 feet out from shore. There was no way we're going to be able to get back to the dock because of how much ice was between us and the dock.

Stephen Strang: If I remember right, you went down under the ice to where they couldn't find you. How in the world did the rescuers get there, and how long did that take?

John Smith: The clock was ticking automatically because I drowned. Usually they say there's a 99 percent chance that if you were drowned underwater for over a minute, you're not going to make it. At this point I had been under the water for 4 to 5 minutes. So, the clock's ticking. Tommy Shine of the Winnsboro Fire Department here in St. Louis, Missouri, he had a pipe pole, which is a long pole with a big hook at the end. He was actually breaking protocol because he asked one of the fellow captains, do they have a rope to tie around him because they needed to make sure that they weren't gonna have to rescue him. They didn't have a rope. So, he just said, I'm going. He risked his life to save me. So, he had his pipe pole, he's in the water. He's searching, searching and he just can't find anything. So, he hears a voice saying to go two feet to his left, and he does. He had already checked that area actually. He stuck the pipe pole down, and now I'm up to six to eight minutes under water. So, he finds me and he pulls me up. It's a miracle from then.

Stephen Strang: What happened next? They got you to the emergency room right away, but I heard that you were actually dead. In fact, Sam Rodriguez described you as maybe a corpse or some word like that. You actually were dead, is that right?

John Smith: Yes, I had been underwater for 15 minutes and without a pulse for an additional 45. So, in all I had been dead for over an hour. They had done everything medically, scientifically, for me. We have 300-plus pages of medical document stating that this is a modern-day resurrection story. So, they've done everything medically. They bring my mom in and she prays and instantly I had a pulse. Over an hour, nothing. But instantly when she prayed, not five minutes later, not 10 minutes later, right then my pulse came back.

Stephen Strang: That sounds pretty dramatic and, of course, is kind of the highlight of the movie. But she didn't just pray, she prayed with power, didn't she?

John Smith: Yes, I mean, they said when she walked in the room, not just not just the atmosphere changed, but the physical temperature in the room changed when she walked in there. They also said, when she prayed for me something rushed up my body so powerful that it pushed three nurses back. Keep in mind that one of these nurses is about 6-6, 250-plus pounds.

Stephen Strang: Anyone with any kind of common sense knows that when someone's dead over a certain amount of time where there is medical science or prayer, nothing brings them back. This has to be a modern-day miracle. You were dead. There are some people who will maybe come back, but they they're mentally impaired or they are paraplegics or … I'm just kind of searching for words. But I’ve seen you, I’ve met you. That's how we connected for this podcast and you seem like a perfectly normal 18-year-old kid. What was it like on your end to go through all this?

John Smith: It was a struggle. I grew up and my dad is quite a bit older. He's an older man. He's actually old enough to be my grandfather. So, he raised me on the Rocky saga. That was something that really just motivated me. I was very weak. I had lost a lot of weight. But I wanted to get back to playing basketball. I wanted to get back to being who I was and to the team. So, that just motivated me. Going through all this, it was definitely difficult on the physical aspect and also on the emotional aspects. You would think that I would get a warm welcome for my friends, and I did it first. But eventually, when magazines and all this started unfolding, they all turned on me. When God does something great, the enemy just loves to knock it down. That's what the enemy was trying to do. But I have been blessed with so many great mentors in my life. Pastor Samuel Rodriguez, President Scott Hagan, Mr. Devon Franklin, my own pastor Jason Noble, Brad Riley … these men have walked me through this hard time and I can honestly say that God has brought them for a purpose in my life. I'm just excited to walk with them for the rest of my life as long as I can.

Stephen Strang: Well, that's great. I actually personally know several the names that you mentioned just now; they are good men. But I don't understand why your friends turn on you. You’re alive. They're alive. They saw a modern-day miracle. What would cause them to turn on you?

John Smith: They were just accusations about some things that they didn't understand. They think the Hollywood life is glamorous when it's a lot of hard work. I've gotten to see that firsthand. I’ll bet you have too with being close to Samuel Rodriguez and seeing how much he travels. They were just false accusations and, in turn, that just kind of shattered some relationships.

Stephen Strang: So, maybe a little bit of jealousy that you're getting all this attention and they aren't?

John Smith: Yes, correct.

Stephen Strang: Let me ask you about that hour that you were on the ice and then during that hour they obviously got you to the hospital and you are in a hospital bed. So, they must have thought that maybe there was some kind of hope, or else they would just take you down to the morgue? What was it like? We hear stories about how people saw a tunnel and a white light and some people testify of going to heaven and coming back. What was it like for you?

John Smith: We've thought about that. Did I see heaven? Did I see the light? I didn't. We honestly believe that if I would have seen heaven or God, it would have been about my own personal story at that point, it would have been just about me. But “Breakthrough,” or the impossible as it has been called, is so much more. It's about everybody experiencing breakthrough within their own life. There are so many testimonies inside this big testimony. You know, you hear of people say I was here, so and so when your accident happened. I had been lost away from the church for years and years, but your story, when this happened, brought me back. So, it's about everybody's encounter with breakthrough rather than just about my own experience. We also prayed that I wouldn't remember anything because it was so traumatic. I can honestly say to you, if I would have remembered anything more than what I do, I don't believe I'd be serving the Lord because I know me, and I would have turned to earthly amusements rather than turning to God.

For the rest of Stephen’s interview with John Smith, please click here.

Connect with John Smith

·         On Twitter

·         On Facebook

Where to Find Stephen Strang on the Internet

·         The Strang Report on Charismamag.com

·         The Strang Report on cpnshows.com

·         On Twitter

·         On Facebook

Episode Notes

The Strang Report

With Stephen Strang

Guest: John Smith

John Smith was underwater for 15 minutes and had no pulse for the next 45 minutes. But his mother prayed for God to bring him back to life. This is the storyline of the major motion picture film “Breakthrough,” which releases in theaters April 17.

Listen as John Smith tells his story of how he slipped through the ice and died four years ago. Find out how that experience changed John's life and what other miracles God has done for him.

Introduction

Stephen Strang: John Smith, it’s pretty incredible that, at 18 years old, there's a movie about you. Tell me what it feels like.

·         Read the Strang Report: ‘I Died an Unbeliever’: Boy Who Came Back to Life After an Hour Shares Details of His Resurrection

John Smith: Having a movie made about me and being me being 18 it's kind of surreal. You always dream about being yourself, maybe being an actor maybe having a part in a film, but not having a film about you. I am super blessed to be here, to be alive and to be able to share this story with the world.

Stephen Strang: I want to drill down and find out about the story. But first of all, let's talk about the movie. It's a major motion picture. I've seen ads for it everywhere. Sam Rodriguez, who's the executive producer, is a close personal friend of mine, and we even covered it in Charisma magazine back when it happened. We picked up on it in the press, the local press just like a lot of people did. When does the movie open and what are the expectations in terms of theaters?

·         On Charisma News: The Boy Who Came Back to Life: Samuel Rodriguez, Devon Franklin Beind First-of-Its-Kind Film

·         First Look: Son Rises from the dead in New Movie Based on a True Story

John Smith: “Breakthrough” comes out April 17. It will show in about 2,700 theaters across the nation. It is actually also being translated into Spanish because of Pastor Samuel Rodriguez, in Central America and Brazil. I've had a million direct messages from other countries saying that they are extremely excited about “Breakthrough” coming to their country.

Stephen Strang: Did you say a million? Is that literal or are you just speaking figuratively?

In The News

·         CBN News: Dead for Over an Hour, Son Comes Back to Life

·         Fox News: Boy Who Inspired Faith Survival Story ‘Breakthrough’ Says ‘God Still Does the Impossible’

John Smith: I’m speaking figures. If I had to say how many direct messages I've had some people, I'd have to say I've had close to 300 direct messages from people in other countries contacting me about “Breakthrough” and how it is coming to their country, They couldn't be happier and they couldn't be more excited about God showing up on the big screen.

Stephen Strang: That's an indication of exciting things to come. I know I feel exactly the same way. Knowing about the story, finding out it's going to be a movie and then seeing the trailer. The trailer is really exciting. Let's go back four years to when this happened. You were I guess a good kid. You went to church with your parents. Is that right?

John Smith: Yes, I was a kid. I grew up in the Assemblies of God. I did the Royal Rangers, I did the Buddy Barrels, I did it all. And then like the movie portrays, I kind of fell away from the church. I had an attitude; I was a bit of a bit of a troublemaker. I ran away from God, I wanted to pursue what I wanted and not what He wanted. He had actually called me to ministry at a young age, but I didn't want anything to do with that. And so, in turn, when the accident happened, I wasn’t saved; I wasn't a Christian. I actually died an unbeliever.

Stephen Strang: Well, I also grew up in the Assemblies of God, and I did a lot of those things too, so I can kind of identify. But regardless, you are in the movie, you're shown to be a basketball player, a nice-looking kid. Does the actor look like you or not?

John Smith: Marcel Ruiz, who was on One Day at a Time on Netflix, is portraying me in the film. He's Puerto Rican, I am Guatemalan. So, there's a little bit of a difference, but he is he's a good kid. When I saw they cast him as me, they did a big thing on the web because it's Christy Metz’s first film, from This is Us. It was also Marcel Ruiz’s first film after One Day at a Time. I just knew. Something in my spirit just told me that OK, God’s got control. Marcel was going to do an amazing job. The first time I saw the film, I could not have been more excited and I could not have not have been more blown away at how he portrayed in the in the film.

Stephen Strang: Let’s go back to that fateful day in January. It's cold there in Missouri where you live and of course, there's ice. Wat were you doing out on the lake with some of your friends?

John Smith: We were just having a good time, just being kids. We saw that the lake had frozen over, and that doesn't happen here in Missouri. We have a thing called bipolar weather where it will be 20 degrees, and then the next hour, it'll be 60 degrees. Or, it will be sunny and blue skies and not a cloud in the sky and then the next hour, it'll be like, there's a tornado getting ready to drop down. Missouri is just known for having really, really weird weather. That's what happened. We had a span of 20-degree days and the lake is frozen over and then the day we were out on the ice at it actually jumped up to 60 to 70 degrees.

Stephen Strang: And so, of course, the ice was thin and you fell through and your friends fell through too, didn’t they?

John Smith: Yes, all three of us fell through. One was able to self-rescue. Me and the other boy were 50 feet out from shore. There was no way we're going to be able to get back to the dock because of how much ice was between us and the dock.

Stephen Strang: If I remember right, you went down under the ice to where they couldn't find you. How in the world did the rescuers get there, and how long did that take?

John Smith: The clock was ticking automatically because I drowned. Usually they say there's a 99 percent chance that if you were drowned underwater for over a minute, you're not going to make it. At this point I had been under the water for 4 to 5 minutes. So, the clock's ticking. Tommy Shine of the Winnsboro Fire Department here in St. Louis, Missouri, he had a pipe pole, which is a long pole with a big hook at the end. He was actually breaking protocol because he asked one of the fellow captains, do they have a rope to tie around him because they needed to make sure that they weren't gonna have to rescue him. They didn't have a rope. So, he just said, I'm going. He risked his life to save me. So, he had his pipe pole, he's in the water. He's searching, searching and he just can't find anything. So, he hears a voice saying to go two feet to his left, and he does. He had already checked that area actually. He stuck the pipe pole down, and now I'm up to six to eight minutes under water. So, he finds me and he pulls me up. It's a miracle from then.

Stephen Strang: What happened next? They got you to the emergency room right away, but I heard that you were actually dead. In fact, Sam Rodriguez described you as maybe a corpse or some word like that. You actually were dead, is that right?

John Smith: Yes, I had been underwater for 15 minutes and without a pulse for an additional 45. So, in all I had been dead for over an hour. They had done everything medically, scientifically, for me. We have 300-plus pages of medical document stating that this is a modern-day resurrection story. So, they've done everything medically. They bring my mom in and she prays and instantly I had a pulse. Over an hour, nothing. But instantly when she prayed, not five minutes later, not 10 minutes later, right then my pulse came back.

Stephen Strang: That sounds pretty dramatic and, of course, is kind of the highlight of the movie. But she didn't just pray, she prayed with power, didn't she?

John Smith: Yes, I mean, they said when she walked in the room, not just not just the atmosphere changed, but the physical temperature in the room changed when she walked in there. They also said, when she prayed for me something rushed up my body so powerful that it pushed three nurses back. Keep in mind that one of these nurses is about 6-6, 250-plus pounds.

Stephen Strang: Anyone with any kind of common sense knows that when someone's dead over a certain amount of time where there is medical science or prayer, nothing brings them back. This has to be a modern-day miracle. You were dead. There are some people who will maybe come back, but they they're mentally impaired or they are paraplegics or … I'm just kind of searching for words. But I’ve seen you, I’ve met you. That's how we connected for this podcast and you seem like a perfectly normal 18-year-old kid. What was it like on your end to go through all this?

John Smith: It was a struggle. I grew up and my dad is quite a bit older. He's an older man. He's actually old enough to be my grandfather. So, he raised me on the Rocky saga. That was something that really just motivated me. I was very weak. I had lost a lot of weight. But I wanted to get back to playing basketball. I wanted to get back to being who I was and to the team. So, that just motivated me. Going through all this, it was definitely difficult on the physical aspect and also on the emotional aspects. You would think that I would get a warm welcome for my friends, and I did it first. But eventually, when magazines and all this started unfolding, they all turned on me. When God does something great, the enemy just loves to knock it down. That's what the enemy was trying to do. But I have been blessed with so many great mentors in my life. Pastor Samuel Rodriguez, President Scott Hagan, Mr. Devon Franklin, my own pastor Jason Noble, Brad Riley … these men have walked me through this hard time and I can honestly say that God has brought them for a purpose in my life. I'm just excited to walk with them for the rest of my life as long as I can.

Stephen Strang: Well, that's great. I actually personally know several the names that you mentioned just now; they are good men. But I don't understand why your friends turn on you. You’re alive. They're alive. They saw a modern-day miracle. What would cause them to turn on you?

John Smith: They were just accusations about some things that they didn't understand. They think the Hollywood life is glamorous when it's a lot of hard work. I've gotten to see that firsthand. I’ll bet you have too with being close to Samuel Rodriguez and seeing how much he travels. They were just false accusations and, in turn, that just kind of shattered some relationships.

Stephen Strang: So, maybe a little bit of jealousy that you're getting all this attention and they aren't?

John Smith: Yes, correct.

Stephen Strang: Let me ask you about that hour that you were on the ice and then during that hour they obviously got you to the hospital and you are in a hospital bed. So, they must have thought that maybe there was some kind of hope, or else they would just take you down to the morgue? What was it like? We hear stories about how people saw a tunnel and a white light and some people testify of going to heaven and coming back. What was it like for you?

John Smith: We've thought about that. Did I see heaven? Did I see the light? I didn't. We honestly believe that if I would have seen heaven or God, it would have been about my own personal story at that point, it would have been just about me. But “Breakthrough,” or the impossible as it has been called, is so much more. It's about everybody experiencing breakthrough within their own life. There are so many testimonies inside this big testimony. You know, you hear of people say I was here, so and so when your accident happened. I had been lost away from the church for years and years, but your story, when this happened, brought me back. So, it's about everybody's encounter with breakthrough rather than just about my own experience. We also prayed that I wouldn't remember anything because it was so traumatic. I can honestly say to you, if I would have remembered anything more than what I do, I don't believe I'd be serving the Lord because I know me, and I would have turned to earthly amusements rather than turning to God.

For the rest of Stephen’s interview with John Smith, please click here.

Connect with John Smith

·         On Twitter

·         On Facebook

Where to Find Stephen Strang on the Internet

·         The Strang Report on Charismamag.com

·         The Strang Report on cpnshows.com

·         On Twitter

·         On Facebook

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John Smith Shares His Story That Led to Major Motion Picture 'Breakthrough'