Shortly after the near-death of their founding pastor, Robert Morris, Texas megachurch “Gateway” has done something absolutely astonishing – the congregation collectively donated enough blood to save 4,600 lives.
Since Morris’ return to the pulpit on June 2 following a serious medical episode that involved him suffering from profuse internal bleeding, the 56-year-old encouraged his 36,000-member strong congregation to give blood. “Someone giving blood is what saved my life,” he said of his ordeal.
This is a picture of Haylie Geraci. She is part of our @GatewayPeople family and is battling leukemia. Her blood type is B negative. Six people gave blood for her.
Thank you, thank you, thank you! pic.twitter.com/RJQIOpi3Vf
— Robert Morris (@PsRobertMorris) July 11, 2018
Well, the church listened to its pastor. Over the course of six weeks, some 1,500 people gave enough blood to save the lives of 4,647 people – an astonishing achievement. “This consistency and over six weeks’ time is remarkable,” said Linda Goelzer, director of public relations at Carter BloodCare, according to Fox 4 News. “We have been able to help some other community blood centers when we’re usually at the point of asking others.”
I am blown away by the love and generosity of our @GatewayPeople family! I am so proud of you for giving blood to save lives. @CarterBloodCare had hoped for 300 people to give blood, and more than 1500 people gave! Wow! pic.twitter.com/Rs3F8iQPIS
— Robert Morris (@PsRobertMorris) July 11, 2018
Gateway Church now holds the all-time record for the longest blood drive as well as the large response – an incredible achievement.
“Gateway held six weeks of blood drives — on Saturday and Sunday — at each of their six campus locations. In addition to the drives held at each church location, the ‘corporate’ office held a drive. That makes 13 blood drives total,” Goelzer added to Christian Post.
Goelzer said that the church initially intended to hold a blood drive back in April whe Morris was sick, but that it rescheduled the event “because there is a greater need for blood in the summer.”
“They took it further and said they wanted to host a drive at each of their campuses and that they would do it on Saturday and Sunday because they have services both days,” she noted.
As Faithwire previously reported, pastor Robert Morris took the stage in June to recall his terrifying experience of collapsing and almost dying at his remote property Texas property. “We both thought it was over,” Morris recalled during an emotional talk at Gateway earlier this month. “So Debbie and I said goodbyes and I recorded a video to our children and our grandchildren.”
During a perilous 35-minute medivac flight, Morris said he had “an encounter with the Lord.”
“I didn’t go to Heaven but the Lord’s presence filled the helicopter and I felt like I was about to go to Heaven,” he explained. He said he had no fear and felt “extremely peaceful.” Incredible, despite his dire medical condition, he said he also felt “happy” and “excited.”
“I was excited that I was about to see Jesus, that I was going to Heaven. I thought about my family and my church family but … I just knew God will take care of them,” he continued.
Morris recounted a frank conversation he had with God: “If this is it I’m ready to come but I’d like to stay for my family. And I just don’t think you’re finished with me yet on earth (in terms of ministry work),” the pastor remembered telling the Lord.
Then, God responded with some clear and concise words: “I’m not.”
“And I knew I wasn’t dying that day,” the pastor declared.
Morris underwent emergency surgery to repair arteries that had been damaged by two separate hematomas. It was touch-and-go for a while, but he made it. Now, he has had time to reflect on this traumatic experience and is profoundly grateful for all the prayers that were poured out for his healing.
“I had some medical problems and I had medical help and I thank God for the medical professionals but I also had a spiritual battle and that’s where the prayer came in,” Morris said. “There are people that blame everything on the devil but we are not like that. We are grounded in the Word, most of you are very mature believers but I think that we have a tendency to be too logical sometimes and not realize that the enemy’s at work and we keep looking for the logical explanation.”
“Jesus Himself told us that Satan comes only to steal, kill and destroy. I think he was trying to kill me,” Morris said.
But there was one crucial point that Morris was determined to make to his congregation: “God answers prayer.”
“I’m here because of prayers, and I’m here because of our phenomenal first responders,” he declared, before noting that it was one of the church’s elders who performed the surgeries that saved his life.
When it was announced that their pastor was in a grave condition in hospital, Gateway Church gathered thousands of members to pray throughout the night. It was a stunning show of support and care and clearly had a profound impact.
“I’ve had several leaders say to me … I don’t remember in my lifetime a time when the body of Christ came together to pray for someone as much as they came together to pray for me,” Morris said. “What I thought about was I think that’s fantastic and it saved my life but if we can come together to pray for a dying person, what would happen if we came together to pray for a dying nation.”