Rogers graduation miracle touches SBU, MBTS
By Kayla Rinker
BOLIVAR–The Rogers family erupted in enormous applause as David Rogers walked across the stage of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City. The family had so many reasons to celebrate and thank God that beautiful day in May … namely that David was even alive.
Just five years earlier, in June of 2003, David was a high school football coach in Twin Bridges, Mont. He was the epitome of health, often lifting weights with his young players, as well as his two sons who were attending Southwest Baptist University on football scholarships.
“They were both home for the summer and I was doing their football workout with them,” David said.
That’s when the pain started.
“At first I thought it was nothing much so I didn’t alarm anyone and I started to drive home,” David said. “My pains kept getting worse and worse and in a matter of a few minutes I was experiencing a full-blown heart attack.”
Through the pain he managed to call his wife, Joan, and he told her where he had pulled his truck over. He described the chest pain he was experiencing and asked her to bring some aspirin.
“By the time Joan arrived I had fallen on the ground near my truck,” he said. “Everything had started to turn white but I do remember hearing her car drive up.”
Seeing him lying there, Joan feared the worst. She immediately called an ambulance, directed it to their location and fervently prayed while she sat with David the 45 minutes it took to get to the nearest hospital.
“I was shaking so badly and breathing like I had just completed a marathon,” David said. “It felt like there was no air and because of that I was completely drenched in sweat.”
David suffered 99 percent blockage in his right artery and 75 percent in his left. Based on the time it took to get David to the hospital, he should have been dead.
“It was a miracle,” David said through the tears. “I really don’t like going through it and thinking about it this closely. I honestly didn’t think I would make it.”
David was so sure he wouldn’t make it that he called his wife and each of his sons into his hospital room to tell them what he thought might be his final goodbye.
“I told them not to get their lives focused on anything but the Lord,” he said. “I remember I kept stressing how much I loved them and that they needed to continue serving the Lord in everything they did.”
Mike Rogers, David’s youngest son, doesn’t even want to think about what would have happened if he had lost his Dad that day. He recalls having many questions including why the tragedy had to happen to his family.
“I was so scared but not really for him because I knew that I would see him again in heaven,” he said. “I was scared for my family. At the time I was a freshman in college and I thought I would need to stop that and take care of my Mom. I thought I would need to quit football at SBU and find a college closer to home.”
But Mike didn’t have to worry. David experienced a full recovery and, miraculously, received no permanent heart damage.
David and Joan Rogers stayed in Montana for about two and a half years after his heart attack. In 2006 they decided to move to Bolivar for a number of reasons, including being closer to their two sons.
“Moving also allowed us to be closer to my parents and brother, Alan, in Georgia,” he said. “Alan died of cancer the day before Thanksgiving that year and if we hadn’t moved we would not have been able to spend that time with him and see him saved. That was a real blessing.”
David’s first year in Missouri was also his first year at Midwestern. He graduated with a degree in biblical studies and then watched both his sons graduate two months later.
“We really didn’t mean to graduate at the same time,” David said. “It just kind of happened that way. But, oh, it was such a special gift from God to be able to watch my boys graduate.”
Mike had similar feelings on his father’s graduation day, as well as his own.
“I just thank God for keeping him with us and allowing us to experience a true miracle,” he said. “I was so proud of him and honored that I got to watch him graduate and then turn around and graduate myself.”
Currently David is working on his master’s in biblical languages at Midwestern and is pastor at Grace Fellowship Baptist Church in Bolivar.
“We have a wonderful church with a good mix of people,” he said. “We are presently doing three services a week and I am particularly excited about our growing college and career class.”
He said living through a heart attack has truly focused his relationship with God and has intensified his passion to reach the lost for Him.
“I know that God can come for you any time,” David said. “I mean, my family and I were completely shocked when I had the heart attack. I was a coach and I thought I was in excellent health. God has shown me that my priorities are Him, my family, and my ministry and I have since organized my time around those priorities. I thank God every day for His awesome grace.”
Mike has also learned a lot after what his Dad and family went through.
“I have never been a perfect person,” he said. “So far I’ve led a life filled with ups and downs and I’ve done things that I knew weren’t right. But, you know, seeing my Dad go through that and then him telling me that with God you can do anything no matter what, well, that gives me the strength to go ahead and be reassured that God will never give me anything I can’t handle. Our family went through all that and came out stronger because of it so we have really nothing to complain about. I still have my Dad so I have nothing to complain about.”