SIKESTON -- A near death experience has inspired former Sikeston resident Bobby Bean to share his story with others in hopes of renewing their faith.
"At 43, I was clinically declared brain dead," recalled Bean, now 52. "I had an aneurysm, but I thought I was just having a headache."
Bean's book, "Staring Into The Face of Death but Embracing Life," gives an account of two miracles that Bean says he has been blessed to experience -- the one at 43 and the other at the age of 24. The book is about a young man who overcame a number of obstacles with the help of family, friends and most of all, God, Bean said.
Area residents will have the chance to meet Bean and purchase his book at 1 p.m. Saturday during his book signing Williams Christian Bookstore in Sikeston.
"The book tells of all the things I described to the doctor taking place in the emergency room after I had my aneurysm," Bean said. "But my doctor declared that I was unconscious."
He continued: "I was telling them everything I remembered, and they were like, 'That's impossible. You were out. You couldn't have heard all of that.' Wherever I was or whatever I was doing, God brought me back."
After Bean's miracle, he would go from church to church across the country, testifying about how God had miraculously healed him and sent him on a mission.
Whenever Bean has gone to different churches and given his testimony or included his testimony as part of his sermon, the congregation would never really let Bean finish before they would be praising God over his testimony, Bean explained.
"One day, while giving my testimony, a pastor in Atlanta just yelled out in the middle of my testimony, 'Why don't you write a book?' And the rest is history," Bean noted.
The son of the late Dan and Mary Bean, Bean grew up in Sikeston and graduated from Sikeston Senior High School in 1969. He then graduated from Southeast Missouri State University in 1974. He went on to get a master's and specialist's degree from Southern Illinois University and a master's of science in library science from Atlanta University.
Bean also earned a master's of divinity degree from the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta. He pursued his degree even further by getting an Ed.D. in guidance and counseling from Lael University and is currently working on a second Ed.D. in educational leadership from the University of Sarasota in Sarasota, Fla.
"I'm blessed," Bean insisted about his near death experiences. "Lucky is not a word I use because I don't think luck has anything to do with it. Luck is when something else did it and I know who helped me."
Through his book, Bean also wants to raise awareness for others -- especially African American males since they have the highest risk -- to watch for signs associated with diseases like heart disease and hypertension. Reoccurring dizziness or headaches can be warnings of something big. Most people just let these symptoms slide and usually don't address them until it's too late, he added.
Bean also wants readers to understand the awesome power of God, he said. "I want them to understand that God did this. I want the reader's faith to be renewed or restored after reading my book," he said.
Bean resides in Stone Mountain, Ga., where he is an associate elder at the Paradise Church of God in Christ. For the past 29 years, Bean has worked in education. He taught 14 years in East St. Louis, Ill., and 14 years in the Atlanta Public Schools, where he currently works as a media specialist for Therrell High during the day and Crim Evening School at night.
For the past 10 years, Bean has also taught church history and policy courses at the Interdenominational Theological Center and as a result he wrote the official textbook for the Church of God in Christ, entitled "This is the Church of God in Christ." This book chronicles the history of the Church of God in Christ from 1895-2000 and is used in Bible colleges and seminaries across the country for the history of Pentecostalism in the major African American denomination.
"I'm a living witness that God still does work miracles," Bean said. "When readers finish the book and put it down, I want them to reaffirm their faith that God still can and is working miracles."
Copies of Bean's book will be available for purchase Saturday or they can be obtained by writing to P.O. Box 541, Redin, Ga. 30074-0541 or by e-mailing to firstname.lastname@example.org.