By STEVE EIGHINGER
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
The Rev. Dean Braxton, who gained national attention three years ago when he described how he had been dead for almost two hours, entered heaven and then returned, will be speaking this weekend at River of Life Family Church in Quincy.
Braxton, of Tacoma, Wash., has appeared on national television and been the subject of several feature stories in recent years. He will speak and be involved in question-and-answer periods Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the church 2901 Payson Road.
"It is a compelling story," said the Rev. Gary Wallace, the longtime pastor at River of Life.
Wallace said Braxton's experience is an account that, on the surface, might be hard for the average person to accept or understand. He compares it to gravity -- something that cannot be seen, but "we accept it exists."
"It's exciting, and it's rare to be able to hear someone like this," Wallace said.
Braxton will speak at 7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday.
It was August 2010 when Braxton went into cardiac arrest.
In an interview with "The 700 Club" on the Christian Broadcasting Network, Braxton said: "When I first entered in (to heaven), it was bright, and it wasn't so much what I saw as much as what I experienced. The first thing I perceived was: ‘Everything is right. There's nothing wrong here. And it's past peace.' There's a Scripture in the Bible, Philippians, the fourth chapter, that says, ‘Peace past understanding.' That's what's going on there."
Braxton went into even greater detail.
"It's landscape but more," he said. "Everything is alive. Nothing is dead. And I don't mean alive like grass. It's intelligent. It can move. It thinks. And someone says, ‘That's way out there,' and was way out there for me, to tell you the truth."
Dr. Manuel Iregui of St. Francis of St. Francis Hospital in Tacoma said Braxton died.
"(Braxton) was really, really dead for a long time," Iregui told CBN. "It is a miracle he is alive."
Braxton also said he saw Christ.
"The first thing that comes to me is, he's bright, (and) just like John said, ‘He's brighter than the noonday sun' ... and what you're looking at is not so much the physical part of it, you're really experiencing the love he has for you," Braxton said. "And I tell people, ‘It's like he only loves you and no one else.' I saw him communicating to angels. He would just look at them. "Communication there was thought to thought. They would acknowledge receiving his information, bow before him ... and then, back out. And it was like, ‘Whoa!' "
Braxton will go into greater detail this weekend at River of Life.
Braxton and his wife, Marilyn, have been involved in ministry for 15 years. They are currently assistant pastors at the By His Word Christian Center in Tacoma.