Tuesday, April 2, 2013

the best news yet

Yesterday, I heard from my potential donor that we are a match! We both had lab work done last Thursday and the results were negative (no reaction - a good thing) so she can continue with more in-depth testing now! She also said that there was an opening in the surgery schedule for April 29th, so if they can get her testing done before then and if everything looks good, we can do the transplant that day. They’ve penciled us in already! We are so excited to receive this news and so thankful to God for answering our prayers thus far. Please continue to pray for the testing – that all would go smoothly and we would be able to move forward with the transplant at the end of April!

You may be wondering who this “she” is, so I’ll be happy to tell you! Her name is Amy Whyatt and she attends our church in Norman, Oklahoma – Wildwood Community Church. Actually, I think I will let her tell you the story. Here is an e-mail I received from her on February 13th.

I wanted to let you know that I am so excited to have been selected as the primary kidney donor candidate. I know we have met several times at Wildwood and David  has played in the band with Chase, but because you do not know me well I wanted to tell you how I came into this decision.
I have always had a heart for the work you have been able to do in Nicaragua. This is evident as God has placed on my heart many times to pray for you and Chase and the children you are working with.  I have been able to help make the dresses the college trip takes each year and was hopeful at the thought of someday going on a mission trip myself. David and I have five children, so leaving the country has seemed out of reach for me. 
I was in church on Jan. 27th and as I walk through the children church the screens were flashing the prayer requests of the missionaries. I saw you and Chase and the prayer for a kidney donation soon. I have heard God speak to me before, but as I was sitting in Church I clearly heard God say, "Amy, you could do that!" I got excited at the idea of helping you and the ministry in Nicaragua by serving God in this way. When I got home that day I started reading the recent posts on "The Travelling Russells." When I got to the post where you asked anyone with O or O- blood type to consider donating, again it was a confirmation from God because my blood type is O-.
My heart leaped and I had to tell someone. I talked to David and he said if I felt like this is what God wanted me to do, I had his support. (For I knew I could not without his support of course!) Then I started researching it like crazy! Monday morning I called Susan Young and I sent her the packet back the next day. Then I waited, just as I know you have been waiting for so long, and today was told that I have been considered a primary candidate because of my age, I am 37, my health history, and because I am in Norman.
I do not work outside of the home and all of my children are in school now.  I have the support of my family to help me through the recovery. I am blessed to have my parents and mother in law all in Norman. I am thrilled at the possibility to be able to help you in this way and will eagerly anticipate the beginning of testing so we can get you off dialysis as soon as possible! Susan said it looks like an April surgery at this time. I told her that I am available for surgery as soon as possible, even if they had an earlier cancellation. I am still and will continue to be praying for you through this entire process. I truly believe that God will keep His promises to you. He will deliver us both safely. Just you wait and see!

What an incredible story, right? Since this first e-mail, she has been a constant encouragement to me – sending me verses, telling me specific things she is praying over me, and speaking truth when I needed to hear it (namely that God is good and sovereign and his timing is perfect even when I’m frustrated by delays and inconsistencies!) And her goal throughout the whole process has been that God would be lifted high, not that she would receive any attention or glory. She is one of the most genuine, loving, God-focused people I’ve ever met and I am amazed at not only her willingness to give me a kidney, but at HOW she is doing it. She is so focused on seeing Christ magnified that she is not only willing to do the surgery, but she is excited to do it. One evening, Chase and I met her and her husband for dessert, and afterwards, I received this e-mail.

After meeting with you I was reminded again how "Big" our God is. I truly believe that he could heal you, like he has healed many before, and His name be glorified. I also believe at times he does allow us to walk through the valley so that His name may be glorified still. His ways are not our ways, but He can be trusted! If he chooses to heal you or if he chooses to allow the kidney transplant to heal you, it is all about His glory. I am honored just to be invited to participate. I feel kind of like the awkward kid that gets invited to the party! Maybe this is why I am so excited. To God alone, be the Glory.

When I think about Amy, I think about Jesus.

Hebrews 12:1-2 says:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Jesus endured the agony of the cross for the joy set before him. Amy is running the race with endurance, donating her kidney to me with joy and complete faith in the Lord’s will, confident of His sovereignty. And her only desire is to see others run the race with joy and endurance, looking only to Jesus, who founded our faith and is now perfecting it.

Amy told me that even if she didn’t make it to Nicaragua to do mission work soon, she was excited that her kidney might. My hope is that it wouldn’t just stop there – but that God would use this transplant and Amy’s self-sacrifice to make His name known and worshipped all over the world. To God alone be the glory!


  1. WOW!! What an incredible blessing! I will continue to be praying for ALL of you!
    Love, Hope Dakel

  2. This is so exciting to me! I am a kidney donor, and it was 6 years ago that I had a similar experience. I was praying for the husband of a friend in our church choir at Northshore Baptist Church in Bothell, WA. He needed a kidney. I thanked God for the person that He already had chosen to give, and said "amen". :)

    Over the course of the next week there would come an impression in my mind, not audible..."you have two kidneys and you only need one" I finally figured maybe God was prompting me. I donated my kidney May 2008.It is such a privilege.



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