Best-selling author to speak to North Country Alliance congregation

PLATTSBURGH Most of us have often wondered about death and even more about life after death. The opening sentence in the prologue of Don Piper's book, "90 Minutes in Heaven," is "I died on January 18, 1989." That is an attention getter, and likely the reason behind the success of his book which is selling like iced tea at a chili eating contest. Don's book was coauthored with Cecil Murphy and is now number two on the New York Times Best Seller list for paperback nonfiction books. Don's story runs the gamut between the glorious and the grueling. He begins with the description of his accident which occurred on his way home from a Baptist conference in Texas. His small car was crushed by a semi that lost control on the wet roads. Medical personnel declared him dead and covered him with a tarp so they could attend to the injured. But, Don wasn't under the tarp. He found himself instantly at heaven's gate and his description of his glorious experience there has brought comfort to many. While Don was in heaven, he writes, a Baptist preacher came upon the accident scene, and despite the scoffing of the emergency medical technicians, he climbed under the tarp with Don and prayed for him like he had never prayed for anyone before. Don believes it was because of those prayers he returned to his body against his personal will. He would have preferred to stay in heaven. Don's description of his grueling marathon to find a "new normal" is inspirational. His first stay in the hospital was for 105 days, and he wasn't able to take more than a few hesitant steps until six months after his release from the hospital. The fact he can walk at all is considered a miracle by his doctors. He has undergone 34 surgical procedures to date and lives with daily physical pain. He has so much metal in his body his kids have called him "Robopreacher." Don was not initially interested in speaking or writing about his ordeal, but finally wrote the story about his experience in "self defense." He was continually inundated by questions from people who wanted to know more. He also realized by writing the book he would be able to be an encouragement and inspiration to many more lives. It is through the efforts of Cadyville's Bruce Overstreet, the senior pastor of the North Country Alliance Church in Plattsburgh, that Don Piper will be coming to speak at his church. "I read his book and thought it would be neat to have him come," the Rev. Overstreet said, after contacting the author in March. Don is slated to speak three times at the North Country Alliance Church. All speaking events are free and open to the public. On Saturday, Oct. 20, he will be speaking at 7 p.m. youth service, and on Sunday, Oct. 21, he will be speaking at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. public services. North Country Alliance Church is located on the corner of New York Road and Northern Avenue, on the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base. "One of the exciting things about Don," the Rev. Overstreet explained, "is that he has two areas he can speak to. He can speak to those who are facing eminent death or have just lost a loved one, and he can speak to those facing physical suffering from health issues. I am really hoping a lot of people will come out and be ministered to.

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