The Boy Who Came Back to Life: Samuel Rodriguez, Devon Franklin Behind First-of-Its-Kind Film

Samuel Rodriguez and DaVon Franklin
Samuel Rodriguez and DaVon Franklin (Samuel Rodriguez/Facebook)

After lying below the surface of an ice-covered Missouri lake for 15 minutes in mid-January, doctors didn't give John Smith much chance to live, let alone be honing his summer league basketball skills.

Nor is his survival the only startling element of this miraculous story. After rescue workers pulled him from the icy lake about 40 miles west of St. Louis, the teenager spent another half hour without a pulse.

Soon after John's mother, Joyce, walked into his emergency room ward, Dr. Kent Sutterer told her she could approach John's bed. But the doctor didn't reveal he was about ready to pronounce the time of her son's death.

That announcement never came. After feeling the coldness of John's feet, his mother recognized that God represented her only hope. The member of First Assembly of God of St. Peters decided to put Bible teacher and author Beth Moore's teaching on the power of life and death residing in the tongue into action.

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Less than a minute after praying, "Holy God, please send your Holy Spirit to save my son," she watched with joy as a voice rang out, "I've got a pulse!"

"It's hard to put into words," Joyce says of the impact of her prayer. "I've seen miracles happen my whole life. My parents were personal friends of Oral Roberts' family and I grew up in tent revivals. I know God is the God of the impossible, but to see Him answer you at your point of need is awesome."

Dr. Sutterer, who treated Smith before a rescue team airlifted him to a St. Louis children's hospital, says the event resonates with a supernatural aura. When the emergency room physician placed his patient in the helicopter, the ER doctor expected Smith to suffer from unrecoverable brain damage before dying. A reasonable hypothesis, since brain cells can start to wither after five minutes without oxygen.

"I will never be the same again because of the experience," says Dr. Sutterer, who has practiced direct patient care since 1998. "The medical expert in me still knows that this case is not something which I will ever expect someone to survive. Never in my wildest expectations did I expect that I would be having a normal conversation with this young man within two weeks."

Now, the incredible true story will be available on the big screen with executive producer Samuel Rodriguez and producer DeVon Franklin at the helm. Called Breakthrough, the film will come out just in time for Easter 2019 and stars Chrissy Metz, Josh Lucas, Topher Grace and more.

Watch Rodriguez's announcement video here.

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