Change Of Heart Support Group

A monthly story of personal strength and courage. This month's story:


A Testimony of Healing as Told By Our Chaplain Bro. Vernon Hornsby

In my forty-nine years of ministry I have experienced many diverse situations yet realizing the effect that life's stresses brings, physically, emotionally and spiritually, I was inspired to write a book titled VISITED BY ANGELS as an instrument of encouragement. In my book I share personal and ministry experiences that I trust will strengthen your faith. A constant strength to my walk as been "I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me, " But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Jesus Christ. Philippians 4:13, 19. You will also read of my personal out-of-body experiences and special visitation by angels. As you read my book allow your faith to rise and believe God to bring about the miracles you need in your life.

I was born on February 23, 1936 to Hugh and Emma Hornsby and there were five children in my family. I was raised in a normal, average home, experienced many wonderful blessings from God, blessings that God bestowed upon me through my parents and their caring for me and giving until me all that they could afford to give. In April 24, 1954 I married my precious and special wife, Rosie Day. We were married for five years and were blessed with our daughter Rita who is a registered nurse and 2 ½ years later were blessed with Valerie Jan who graduated from Miami University with honors and is a great musician on the organ and piano. Our daughters and their husbands have given us 4 beautiful grandchildren, Rhonda, Jessica Krista and Joshua.

Just as I thought chapter nine was to be the conclusion of my book, I learned that God wasn't finished with me yet. In the late fall of 1999, my health had deteriorated so bad after 2 massive heart attacks and coronary bypass surgery. My heartbeat had become so fast and irregular and I could hardly walk through the house without being short of breath and weak.

In December 1999, I made an appointment with my cardiologist, Dr. John Held, to discuss what more if anything, could be done for me. After he examined me, he said, "Reverend, the only thing I can do for you is to have you evaluated for a heart transplant." It was as if someone had struck me down: I really didn't know what to think-my daughter seem to be in shock as we both looked into each other eyes, not knowing what to say. We left the doctor's office and went home to talk over the options with my family and make my decision. As we drove home in what seemed total silence I knew I couldn't go on living in the weakened condition that I was in.

When we returned home, I told my family we needed to sit down and discuss our future together. We reminisced over the years we had as a family, the course that my health had taken over the past few years and what may lie ahead for us. The next couple of hours were the most heart wrenching of my life, it was during this time that we planned my funeral just in case the Lord didn't see fit to grant me a miracle or a new heart.

The days seemed to pass quickly and I became weaker and weaker every day to the point of having to sleep and eat in my recliner. I went to see the physician again to discuss my options. To my surprise, my primary physician told me that my heart was about worn out. I asked, "What do you think about a heart transplant?" He thought for a moment and said, "Reverend, you have had a great life, I don't think I would put my self through that." I thought about it much more and prayed, "Lord I don't feel my work is done here on this earth, so I need your help in deciding what to do."

One week later the doctor started me on a Dobutamine intravenous therapy at home, hoping it would strengthen my heart. I knew if this didn't work my days on earth were numbered.

Later my wife said, "I'm not ready to give up; I'm going to call Dr. Ivey the heart transplant surgeon." I said, "Alright." She called and Dr. Ivey said he would see us the next day.

As we entered Dr. Ivey's office, I was so exhausted from the drive I could barely sit up. I had to use a wheelchair to conserve energy. As we entered the examination room, many questions raced through my head; what would be the recommendation; I could survive the surgery; how did I feel about someone loosing his or her life so I could live?

After the examination, Dr. Ivey looked at me and said, “There is nothing left to do for you heart-we need to get you a new one.” He said he thought I was a good candidate for the surgery, but first I must be admitted to University Hospital to “tune up” my existing heart.

He left us alone and arranged for me to see Dr. Lynn Wagoner and Dr. William T. Abraham. As we entered the waiting room of the clinic, my heart went out to the numerous patients who were there, attempting to hang onto life.

As I was escorted to the Intensive Care unit, I felt the change in temperature: a cool breeze caused small goose bumps as I anticipated what was about to come. The smell of alcohol and cleaning solutions was so strong it almost made your eyes water and your nose to itch. The nurse told me to put on a gown, get into bed and get ready to be poked and studied for hours on end.

Over the next seven days, I underwent many tests to determine whether I could tolerate a heart transplant, what percent of my heart was functioning and how my emotional status would endure such a trauma to my body. I lay in my bed at night and prayed that if it were God’s will for me to live the tests would be favorable.

One sunny afternoon the transplant team gathered in my room with me and my family to discuss their findings and recommendations. Dr. Wagoner sat on my bed and said, “Reverend, we have great news for you, we think you will be a good candidate for a heart transplant. We will add your name to the national list of donors in anticipation of a heart.”

I asked if I could go home and they said, “No.” For the next ninety-three days I remained in Intensive Care and the Lord allowed me to be an ambassador of healing to the sick and hurting. During this time, I was privileged to lead fifteen people to Christ as their savior. God gave me some of the most wonderful Physicians and nurses one could ever have during a stay in the hospital.

One day as I was walking, pushing my I.V. pole, I came to the room of a patient who was waiting for a heart transplant. As I entered the room I saw him sitting and talking with visitors, so I excused myself and said I would be back later. Later I met a man in the hall who said, “Reverend whatever you are doing for the patient in room three, keep it up.” And I said, “And you are who” he said, “I’m the transplant psychiatrist.”

I had the opportunity to visit that patient again and God helped me to lead him to Christ. The next day he received a heart transplant, but never made it out of recovery. Thank God he was saved and ready to die.

After spending ninety-three days in intensive care, I never received the call for a new heart. My doctors came to my room and said, ‘Reverend, we don’t know how you have done it, but you have been the most contented patient we have ever seen. Never have you been depressed, doubtful of your circumstances or your faith-you have remained an inspiration for the staff, patients and families of the University Hospital. Then I asked if I could go home. Without hesitation, they said they would make the arrangements.

Going home required some attachments. I had to remain an hour from the hospital, wear a pager so I could be contacted at any moment to return to the hospital, and I had to keep my heart pumping to it’s fullest extent. In agreement with all of this, I said, “let’s go”

The next two months were filled anticipation. I began to feel better because of the anticipation. I began to feel better because of the medication, but I knew without a miracle of a new heart I could not survive long. At last, my pager started beeping. I went to the phone and called the emergency number and was told, “ We think we have a donor, come to the hospital.” We raced to the hospital and were rushed to Intensive Care for preparation for surgery. In a matter of an hour, I had three nurses all starting an I.V. in each arm and one in my neck. Heart monitors were in place with each heartbeat echoing into the hallway. Cleansing it with a cold orange betadine solution that ran down my sides and back prepped my chest. Suddenly the transplant nurse came in and said, “The heart is about to land, let’s go.”

I remember being rushed down the hall into the frigid operating room and have the anesthesiologist say,” Reverend, get ready to go to sleep.” Just as he was about to inject medication, the phone rang and the doctor was informed the heart was a “NO GO,” it was infected with H.I.V.

At the second dry run, I went even further-I was placed on the respirator and the surgeon had the scalpel on my chest about to make the incision and was told, “Hold it, this heart just collapsed at the end of the test.” So I spent the next four hours coming to and being sent back home. That time it really took an emotional toll on my family and me.

I lay in bed and prayed, “God I have placed my life in your hands and whatever your will is I am yours. Thy will be done-if it means leaving this earthly body and joining you in Heaven or receiving a new heart.”

Finally, the time came for the real thing. It was a beautiful sunny Saturday; the pager went off; I called the hospital and they said, “We think this time it will be a go.” I called my family and prepared for our journey to University Hospital. My grandson insisted he was driving me to the hospital, because he knew this time I would get my heart. I asked him if he could drive safely and he said, “Papin, your about to go for the ride of you life.”

We arrived at the hospital in record time. As I was greeted at the door, the atmosphere was different from what it was before. There seemed to be a greater urgency to get me ready for surgery. Instead of three nurses starting I.V.’s there were four and a physician. A phone call came and I could hear the nurse say, “We’re not ready yet, it will be another thirty minutes.” She paused in silence and said ”O.K., we’ll hurry and bring him down.” She looked at me and said, “That was the transplant nurse; she said the heart is only fifteen minutes away and it looks like a go.”

I turned to my wife, daughters, son-in-laws, grandchildren and close friend Barry Clardy and said, “Let’s have a word of prayer and pray that God’s will be done.” We started to say our goodbyes as the transport team was pushing my bed down the hall. I remember seeing my wife and daughter running along side of me until we reached the door and the sign that read, “Authorized Personnel only.” At this point we said our goodbyes and I went on into my locker freezing cold room, with hundreds of shiny stainless steel instruments that were draped with mossy green drapes.

As I was transferred to the operating table I told the staff there, “ I have something to say-on the way here I prayed for each one of you and asked the Lord to grant you wisdom, knowledge, ability, expertise and to place His hand upon you.”

After a moment of silence, the anesthesiologist said, “Reverend, good night.’

The transplant proceeded without a hitch. It took only four hours to replace my worn out heart with a vibrant, healthy heart that pumped blood sufficiently to every part of my body.

For the next hour the doctors and nurses remained by my bedside to be sure that I was going to be O.K., but I started to hemorrhage from the incision and had to be rushed back to surgery. One of the grafts had a small nick and it had to be repaired. They repaired it quickly and I was returned to the recovery room. I remember waking up to the sound of my family at my bedside, the pulsating of the respirator. When I took a breath, it would also take a breath. The heart monitors were beating a strong steady beat that was much different from anything I had heard in the past. It sounded like a drummer boy that was playing the sweetest beat in the world.

The doctor came in and, leaning over my bed said, “Reverend if you can wake up we can remove that tube from your throat.” I tried to nod my head because it felt like a two-inch drainage pipe that was attached to the sole of my feet.

For the next hour the nurses slowly reduced the number of times the respirator would breath for me. Because all the medication I had been given, it was hard for me to totally wake up. My daughter Rita said to the nurse, “I know how to wake him up, just watch.” She leaned over my bed and said, “Dad I just want to thank you for the gift you gave me and Jan; we really appreciate that $10,000 dollars you gave each of us today.” Suddenly my eyes opened-surely, I didn’t hear her right, and how could I do that if I couldn’t talk. From that moment I was taking deep breaths and the nurse said, “Get ready, I’m going to remove this tube.” She had me take one deep breath and let it out- and then she began to pull the respirator out.

Have you felt like something was attached to your toes and was being pulled out through your throat? This is what having a respirator removed feels like. It feels like your lungs are being removed and you’re being left empty inside. Finally it was all over; I could swallow without feeling like I was choking. I could whisper and talk with my family and I could praise the Lord for allowing me to finally hear the beating of my heart as I lay in the bed.

It had been fifteen years since I heard or could feel the pulsating of my heart in my ears. This is something you should never take for granted-it is one of the most beautiful songs you could hear. It reminded me of the triumphant beating of the victory march around the walls of Jericho.

Day by day I began to feel stronger-it was a strength that I once had felt as a young man, the kind of energy that you feel after you have awakened from a restful night of slumber. There was a steady steam of well-wisher and hospital staff that stopped by my door to see what had been described as the “The Miracle Man” on the sixth floor. These people have become a part of my extended family. There is a special bond that develops between those waiting for a heart transplant, their families and the caregivers who are there in the good times, the bad and the dark of the night.

This type of bond is one that goes deeper than one could imagine. You want your fellow friend to get that needed heart transplant before you because you know that their lives hang in the balance between a sporadically beating heart and death. I can honestly say there was never a time that anyone on this transplant floor did not wish the best for their fellow man.

It is my earnest desire that this book I have written will serve as an instrument of encouragement and inspiration to you in your time of sickness, trial or tribulation. I pray that God will grant you the faith, desire and favor to continue to press forward until your miracle, like mine, is granted. One thing I have come to realize about miracles is that they come in many different forms and ways, and at different times. They can be instantaneous or gradual. And are as real as being touched by an angel or by the hand of the Lord.

Praises be to God that the Reverend Vernon Hornsby story continues! Although his heart is different, his love for the Lord and his ministry is the same. He is devoted to doing work for the Lord. His love for people is genuine and he is a blessing to each person to whom he ministers.

In the summer of 2001, the Hamilton Church of God had the privilege of Reverend Hornsby joinng their staff full time. He is serving as Pastor of Visitation and in other ministerial services. He also speaks in numerous churches, throughout the region. or gradual. And are as real as being touched by an angel or by the hand of the Lord.

Praises be to God that the Reverend Vernon Hornsby story continues! Although his heart is different, his love for the Lord and his ministry is the same. He is devoted to doing work for the Lord. His love for people is genuine and he is a blessing to each person to whom he ministers.

If you are interested in purchasing Bro. Hornsby’s book Visited By Angels he can be reached at:

Vernon Hornsby
P.O. Box 324
Oxford, Oh.

He can be contacted at 513-523-8033 and the price of his book is $12.50. We hope you enjoying reading his book as much as we have.



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