Another Special Life in Christ
These testimony lives are not stories of "role models". Jesus is the
These are lives wonderfully touched & changed by Jesus!
Wendy Ballard, Christian lady
gives part of her liver to a sister Christian:
Jeanette Barber, who has helped us so faithfully
with our sick "Granny", told me of her daughter's (Teresa Israel) church friend who gave part
of herself as an organ donor to a friend. I said, "Jeanette, I want that testimony!" To
my surprise, a few days later Jeanette drops off the 4 August 2002 issue of the Asheville Citizen-Times newspaper story by Susan Reinhardt.
Tracy Wilde, in her late 20s, was running out of
options. The Weaverville mother of two little girls was dying of liver disease, after a
decade of health problems. All her life she wanted nothing more than to be a good mother. She
learned 2 1/2 years ago she needed a new liver. Since that time, her health has fallen apart,
and now, she was too sick to lift her daughters, cook for them, or run with them in the park.
Wendy and Tracy met at church, in 1991. They were casual friends, nothing more, yet Wendy
couldn't stand thinking the girls might lose their mother. Teresa Israel is also a member of
Wendy had an idea (better stated [see below], God
placed a desire in her heart). It came upon her one day in the summer of 2000. Her husband
remembers the day she hit him with the news: her plan to help save Tracy. He had come home
from a long day on the job as a corrections officer at Craggy prison, and found his wife
standing at the back door.
She paused and stared for a moment, bracing
herself for what she was about to say. Her prayers had been answered. Her heavenly Father had
blessed her with a supernatural desire that Wendy identified with. "The Lord," she said,
"placed it on my heart to do this."
After this divine blessing, she needed one more.
Her husband's. It isn't easy for a man to simply say, "Yes, honey, what a grand and noble
gesture." There's more to it than that. The Ballards had suffered much loss of their own in
recent years, including three babies to miscarriage and Wendy's mother to
Finally, their lives were going well and they had
two beautiful children, good jobs and fine health. They had a nice home in a safe Asheville
neighborhood where their kids could play in the sandbox or swing set in the back
Tim stood in the doorway. His wife searched his
face with her penetrating green eyes, the same eyes that had always stolen his breath, from
the first minute he saw her on a summer day in Myrtle Beach, S.C., shortly after high school
graduation. She placed a hand on her belly, across the spot her liver
"What do you think?" she asked.
"It's not my decision," said Ballard, who sings in
a Christian Gospel quartet in the evenings and deals with drug dealers and killers, rapists
and thieves by day at the prison. There is a softness about him, a calm that is unexpected
from his macho, boxy physique. "You'll have to pray about it. If you pray about it and feel a
peace, then I'll back you 100 percent."
Wendy smiled and wore the expression of a child
approaching her mother, a child wanting a new toy or permission for a
"I want to ask you a question," she said, her
voice a plea. Even after years of marriage and familiarity, the love was strong, the respect
running deep. They lived their vows according to the Bible, and took their cues from its
pages. Without her husband behind her on this plan, she would back away, knowing it was a lot
to ask of the father of her children. How would they manage without her, should something
Tim knew exactly where his wife was heading. He
knew when he met her in 1986, this petite blonde from Chapin, S.C., was the kind of woman to
give a person the shirt off of her back. Or, as was her case today, the better part of her
Wendy stood there, late evening sun highlighting
her hair as if she wore a halo. She patted a single manicured hand on her stomach, gazed into
his face and raised her eyebrows. If the Lord had said OK, and his wife was set on going
through with it, then he'd support that mutual decision.
Wendy knew the odds weren't great. A dead man's
liver would give the sick woman a 50-50 shot. A living donor transplant slimmed those odds to
In Wendy's way of thinking, 25 percent was enough
that she'd place herself under the bright lights of the operating room and allow a surgeon to
slice her from sternum to abdomen, and then along each side, creating an opening like a giant
Mercedes emblem. She would do this for a woman who was not her natural sister, not her mother
or child or even a cousin. Just friends. But that was enough.
"Her with her two precious children," Wendy
thought. "Lord, they've got to know their mother."............"This is what I'm supposed to
Excited and filled with purpose, Wendy couldn't
wait for morning to share her decision with Tracy.
"Let's go tell her," she said to Tim; and that
very day they drove to Weaverville, turned toward Marshall and onto Shepherd's Branch Road to
the hill where two houses sit a baseball pitch from one another. Tracy Wilde and her husband
lived in one. Her mother and father in the other.
Wendy approached the front porch of Johnny and
Linda Brown's house. She felt her heart thump. "This is what I'm supposed to do," she
Tracy (about 26 at the time), an outgoing woman
without an ounce of pretense and with a love for life that her body couldn't match, was
sitting on the swing. She was reed thin and weak as a woman three times her age. Her body was
a mass of scars and an internal mess. What began as ulcerative colitis 10 years earlier
(about 1990), a bowel inflammation she thought was annoying but harmless, had progressed by
1999 to a deadly liver disease, primary sclerosing cholangitis. Doctors said she'd need a
liver transplant, and Mayo doctors said it might be 10-15 years before it was needed. Tracy
cried, but shortly sensed a message in her heart, "You will have a liver transplant, but
you will be fine. In 2-3 years, you'll have the transplant. Not 10-15. And you will be
fine." God, Tracy said, had spoken to her!
From that time in 2000 until March of 2002,
Wendy bugged the Mayo Clinic transplant coordinator over and over to let her
do a friend-to-friend donation of the right 62% of her liver (would become Mayo's 15th living
liver donor at age 33), but Mayo waited for a cadaver donor. The surgery is huge for both
donor and recipient. Before the operation happened, Tracy had dwindled to about 80 pounds and
was too sick to care much about continuing to live. But on 6 March 2002, the Mayo phone call
came; and the surgery happened later that month...only a 25% odds of being successful. But
God's hand was in this transaction all of the way; and, 5 months postoperative, everyone is
doing well. Tracy's children have a mother again, and the two women are the best of friends.
Susan Reinhardt's complete article is full of interesting detail, and maybe you can read it
all in the archives at the above link. Jeanette Barber tells me that she, herself, knew of
details all along and that this health miracle testimony is loaded with inspiring extra
detail not even brought out in the newspaper write up.
We who profess Jesus as Lord and Savior are
spiritual brothers and sisters, and scripture is clear that we are to look out for one
another. But many of the "calls" of God require supernatural...divine...power in order to
reach fulfillment. More times than most are willing to acknowledge, though, God just steps in
and uses people and circumstances to engineer a miracle...as in the story of Wendy and Tracy.
See other faith & health information [here].
***give me your comments about this
(posted 9 August
You have just read a very brief example of the
powerful, supernatural transformation of a person's life which is possible through the
acceptance of Jesus as your savior. Are you tired of life as it now is for you? He will
accept you just as you are right this second! Consider accepting Jesus now