A Perfect Match Saves Two Lives
By Shannon Woodland
The 700 Club
CBN.com-When Don and Brenda Herbert stopped at a church yard sale one Saturday in October of 2014, they didn’t know it would take them on a journey that would save two lives. It started when Don heard music coming from inside the church.
“And for me being a gospel singer that was like saying, ‘come on, come on,’” said Don.
There he met Pastor Tim Jones, who shared Don’s love for gospel music. Don told him about his quartet.
Tim explained, “He got ready to walk off and I said, ‘you know we’re getting ready to have a revival,’ I said, ‘would you possibly come and singing in it?’”
“Went to a yard sale with my wife never expecting to find anything and come out with a date for the group to sing,” said Don.
But there was something Don didn’t share with his new friend. Six months earlier Don had a liver transplant after suffering with chronic illness for 12 years. The transplant was successful, but his kidneys started failing and he needed another transplant. Don didn’t seem too worried. “I had a strong faith that God was going to take care of me no matter what happened.”
Belinda’s faith, however, was quickly eroding, and had been for years. She said, “I felt alone. I was more depressed. I was more discouraged than Don ever felt. He had that faith.”
Two weeks later, she realized she could no longer bear the weight on her own. Belinda cried out to God, “I said, ‘Lord, you told me that you wouldn’t get me anymore than I could handle.’ And He said, ‘that’s not really what I said. Because if you could always handle the things, why would you ever need Me? So you need to release it. Give Me your burdens. I’ll carry them.’ And I did.”
The next day Don went for a checkup at Duke Medical Center. There doctors discovered blockages in Don’s heart and he needed surgery. But his weakened kidneys wouldn’t survive the procedure and Don would have to go on dialysis until he found a donor – which could take 5 to 7 years.
“I said, ‘wow, I can’t believe that God has brought me through this major transplant and here I am facing something like this?’”
Later Belinda sent out a desperate plea on Facebook. “The Lord spoke to me and said, ‘put it on Facebook. Put it out there. Put it on social media. Ask somebody. If you don’t ask, you don’t receive.’ Belinda wrote, ‘It is so hard to ask something so tremendous and so humbling, but I want the man that I love to live a long life. I want to grow old with him by my side.’ Don has 500 friends on Facebook and I thought, ‘surely somebody will see this - somebody.’”
That person was Pastor Tim. By then he and Don had become friends on Facebook. “The thing that really tugged at my heart was on down the post she said, ‘I love him. We’ve been together this long. He’s my best friend and I can’t imagine going through my life without my best friend by my side,’” recalled Tim. “And I remember I got tears in my eyes and I thought, ‘ wow, what a thing to put on Facebook.’”
Tim called Belinda right away. “I told Belinda, ‘I’m not calling you to be a hero or to give you any false hope, but I believe God is showing me something and I would like to try and help you in some way.’ And I said, ‘even up to’ – and then I just kind of let it slip – ‘even up to possibly even being the kidney donor.’”
Belinda said, “He was the first one that even answered the post that he would be the one. Because if God told him, then how could it not be so?”
The two families talked about it, and after much prayer Tim decided to donate his kidney to his new friend.
Tim said, “God says, ‘Hey, there’s a plan. I’ve got a plan for you and you say you have faith in Me, then step out on your faith and let Me do the rest.’ And I never doubted.”
Don responded, “I said, ‘Wow! This gentleman here is thinking about giving me a kidney and I just met him a couple weeks ago?’ I said, ‘God’s pretty awesome but is this for real?’”
Still, there was only a 1 in 20,000 chance of Tim being a match. After weeks of exhaustive testing, the results came back. “’Mr. Jones, I’ve got great news for you. You are a direct match for Don Herbert,’” said Tim. “I was like, ‘wow’ and I remember calling and they were off the charts happy. She was crying. So at that point, it was just a matter of when are we going to schedule the surgery?”
Doctors at Duke Medical Center first performed a heart catherization on Don. Then a week later, on March 9, 2015, the two men went into surgery.
The transplant was a success - but there was another life saved that day. While doctors were operating on Tim, they discovered something that, undetected, would have been fatal.
Tim said, “They said, ‘wow, what an amazing story. They said, ‘you had an aneurysm which did not affect the kidney whatsoever.’ But if it had stayed in my body, it would have ruptured and it would have killed me.”
Within a couple of days news of “the perfect match” was widespread. Today Don and Tim are doing great. They often minister together to share their story of God’s goodness and of course, their love for gospel music.
“If anybody can doubt this story, I said, ‘this goes to show who God is, and this is why we’re suppose to obey God,’” said Tim.
“I was the one who benefitted from this. Don got the kidney but I got the Lord,” said Belinda.
Don summed it up, “I stood back in awe of how God can work, with doing something like this. How He directed me to a yard sale on a Saturday to meet a pastor that would be willing to give me a kidney, and not only be a blood type match but everything, he was a perfect match.”
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