A Las Vegas pastor is well on the road to recovery after an assailant stabbed him 21 times with a butcher knife inside his home back in March.
The Rev. Russ Smethers, who serves as associate pastor at Abundant Peace Church in Las Vegas, was left with skull and facial fractures, sliced eyelids, a punctured lung and many stab wounds to his torso after he was attacked on March 8.
The tip of the knife also broke off in his skull. Smethers describes it as "a souvenir for the rest of my life."
During a special event at the University Medical Center's trauma center on Tuesday, Smethers thanked first responders for saving his life, the Associated Press reports.
"I shouldn't be here. God's will put me here and put the skill into the hands of the doctors and nurses so that I could be here," he told reporters
"People say, yeah, first responders are important, and that's about all they say," Smethers continued. "There's no meaning behind it. And I think all of us need to be reminded every once in a while, exactly how important those first responders are."
The hospital was also presented a certificate of recognition by Las Vegas City Councilwoman Victoria Seaman for their efforts.
At the time of the attack, Smether's wife managed to escape as the pastor fended off the assailant. The pastor noted that the assailant, whom the Smethers knew, had been on methamphetamine and was recently sentenced for the crime.
Following the attack, Smether shared that a surgeon sewed up his facial wounds and later, a nurse prayed over him multiple times during his hospital stay.
"'You're going to be OK, pastor, we've got this,'" Smethers recalled the medical staff telling him.
"This is our sole purpose, is to save the lives of those in our community," said Dr. Douglas Fraser, the hospital's trauma medical director.
Smether, who has since forgiven his assailant, is currently seeing a psychologist to help him process the emotional trauma from the attack. He asserted that the experience has not shaken his faith in God.
"During the struggle, when I was being attacked, God did tell me, 'You're going through some stuff right now, but you're not going to die tonight,'" Smethers said.
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.