Memorial Day 2015 was one we anticipated as a rare holiday with all five of us at home and something delicious happening on the grill. Mike kissed me (Maria) goodbye as he headed out on a 50-mile bike ride, but a massive heart attack stopped him after just a few miles. In the fourteen minutes that elapsed before EMT’s began CPR, somehow Mike’s body circulated enough blood to keep him alive, but not enough for his brain. In the days and weeks that followed, people around the world prayed and medical staff marveled as Mike regained consciousness and then speech. “Miracle Mike” moved home after 15 weeks in five hospitals and one skilled nursing facility.
Mike Francis began serving as the pastor of Immanuel Presbyterian Church in DeLand, Florida in 2000 and became pastor emeritus in 2016. So much is lost in a brain injury, but the essential Mike is all here. Mike is not only well educated (B.A. and J.D. from U.C. Berkeley, M. Div. from Reformed Theological Seminary), but widely read and intensely curious, and almost all of that knowledge is misplaced somewhere in his brain. However, his faith in the saving power of Jesus Christ, his belief in the Bible, his passion for prayer, and his pastor’s heart remain unquenched, as are his tremendous sense of humor and love for his family and his flock at Immanuel. Although Mike can not name all the books in the Bible, he can share the Gospel with as much passion and wonder as ever. By God’s grace, he continues to make progress, helped by an amazing team of paid and volunteer “miracle workers.”
This is a story of God’s daily faithfulness demonstrated as much in the family of God as in the healing of Mike. We call it Mike Marathon because a brain injury takes a long, long time to heal, and reaching a finish line of full recovery is not guaranteed. Along the way, we have exhorted each other to “hope big, pray more”—and when hope has waned and prayers diminished, to “hope more, pray big.”
We welcome you to hope and to pray and to join our journey. Read about the first two years in the “Step by Step” tab, where the email updates tell the story. We’ve begun adding Mike’s sermons, which you can listen to here; other sermons are podcast through iTunes and Podbean. Check out the photos and recent news and prayer requests, and don’t forget to sign up below for email updates. Information about giving and/or contacting us is here.