Special Report: Nine Minutes in Heaven

heaven web pic

ALTUS, Okla. – Many of us have visions and dreams about what heaven will be like. Sometimes those visions include things like streets of gold, brilliant light, and angels. One Oklahoma woman says she’s seen it for herself. Her account of “Nine Minutes in Heaven” is the focus of a WHNT NEWS 19 special report.

Crystal McVea’s brush with death opened her to a whole new world.

December 10, 2009 is the day of McVea’s remarkable journey to a place the bible describes as “beauty beyond our comprehension.”

“When I closed my eyes on earth, I opened them in heaven,” says McVea.

During a routine medical procedure, McVea had an adverse reaction to medication that sent the mother of four into cardiac arrest. Medical records confirm McVea had, indeed, flat lined. For nine minutes, doctors fought to bring her back while she says she transitioned to the afterlife.

“The moment my eyes closed, there he was,” describes McVea. “Two angels were to my left and the most glorious tunnel of light that I could ever describe.”

McVea’s story is more astonishing than other heavenly encounters. Though baptized four times as a child, she always questioned the authenticity of a heavenly father.

“I made up my mind there were two choices,” explains McVea. “One, God was real and he didn’t love me. Or two, there was no God. And I would hold that doubt in my life until the day I died.”

McVea’s life took a downward spiral of sexual abuse, teen pregnancy, abortion, drugs and divorce. She carried years of secrets and shame.

“Because I felt like I had no worth, I acted like I had no worth,” says McVea.

While she may have doubted, McVea believes God never gave up on her. Her time with the Lord was cut short by the piercing screams of her grief-stricken mother. The 33 year old requested God let her return.

“I just remember calling over my shoulder saying I’ll remember everything and I’ll be right back,” says McVea. “Then, I opened my eyes in the hospital room with a room full of doctors and nurses performing CPR.”

McVea recognizes there will be skeptics, but Dr. Richard Smith says scientific studies on near death experiences support her claims.

“There’s enough evidence from individuals who have experienced this to suggest there’s a commonality. The spiritual life has reality and the existence of God is real,” explains Smith. “That’s what these people say.  It changes their life.”

A life changed for sure. The book she wrote about the experience is a New York Times best seller. Crystal McVea ministers to the homeless, in strip clubs and hospitals, to the terminally ill. But mostly, she’s working to please God because she doesn’t want a repeat of her first words to the almighty.

“As I turned to face this light, I fell to my knees in front of him and raised my hands and said why didn’t I do more for you,” says McVea. “The next time, I don’t want to say why didn’t I do more for you. That is when I hope he takes me by the hand and says good job.”