A Brazilian atheist has become a believer after turning to God in desperation just before undergoing heart surgery that doctors warned had a one percent chance of survival. Now, he credits God for the miracle of life and no longer rejects God's existence.
Ivan de Oliveira Almeida, 66, was diagnosed with an aortic aneurysm, a condition that occurs when the aorta, the human body's main artery, ruptures causing severe pain and bleeding which can also result in death within minutes to hours. Doctors also found he had an aortic insufficiency dysfunction in his heart's left and right ventricles as well as pleural effusion, an abnormal amount of fluid around the lungs.
Almeida said that while he was undergoing anesthesia, he asked his doctor for a moment in which he cried out to God for the first time in his life.
"I said, Lord Jesus Christ, I commend my body, my soul and my life to you. Make of me what you will. And I turned myself to death because I knew I was going to die. But God decided that it wasn't the moment," said Almeida.
"I was an atheist and believed that those who preached the Gospel just wanted to exploit people," he said, according to Brazilian-based news outlet, Prime Gospel. "Today I am a miracle of Jesus! Believe in Jesus, people! Give your life to Him! He rises from the grave what is dead! I was an atheist and He is risen! I will speak of this miracle until the last second of my life!"
An aorta aneurysm occurs when it reaches four centimeters in size. In Almeida's case, his artery had enlarged three times that dimension. Although surgery was necessary to attempt to save his life, the odds were against him as the medical team at National Institute of Cardiology in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil cautioned him of the extremely high-risk procedure.
"The doctors informed my family that I would not withstand the surgery, because the aneurysm was the largest they had ever seen at the hospital," said Almeida.
After being on the verge of death, Almeida attended church to share his testimony in which he recounted the details of his delicate operation, which lasted 12 hours.
"During the procedure, the doctors changed my heart valve, which meant that my heart was out of my body for a long time," said Almeida. "When they placed it back, they also placed a pacemaker so my heart could begin beating again, and it was then that they were surprised that I did not need a pacemaker because the miracle was happening."
He added, "At the time I woke up from surgery, with ten doctors around me, I realized that each of them witnessed the miracle of the Lord."
Following his surgery, Almeida said he felt convicted to commit his life to Christ that same day.
"Jesus put his hand on me and said, 'You will live to carry My word to the world,' Jesus lives, people!," said Almeida.