Man, I've got a lot to say this week. Crafting hiatus = writing revival. :)
This is a story I've wanted to share for almost two weeks now, since the Bryan Turner Benefit Day, but I wanted to get my facts straight. I know I still will not do this story justice, but I'll do my best.
Bryan Turner was a longtime friend of Quincy's. To read about him and his relationship with my husband, go here. For those of you who have been following along, you know that he went to be with Jesus after being hit by a car on Saturday, July 10, 2010. In the days since losing him, the Lord pressed it on my heart to care for his widow and children. Specifically, I knew that I could craft, and I knew that I could sell crafts. Ideas were batted around on this very blog, and I believe Kim Reeves actually coined the term "Bryan Turner Benefit Day." The idea was launched.
The day ballooned into crafts, a bake sale, a silent auction, live music, bouncy houses, and food. I was specifically organizing crafters, seeking donations, and soliciting for vendors.
A couple weeks prior to the benefit, I went to the Riverside Arts Market for that very reason. It was about 4:15 p.m., after the arts market was technically closed, and I walked around with a letter, asking the vendors if they would take part.
One of the women I encountered caught me off guard. She read the letter and said, "Do you know this family?" I told her that I did. She said, "Do you know if he was an organ donor?" I said, "Yes, he was." She said, "I think that my future son-in-law may have received his kidney." What?. I was in shock at the moment. I told her to contact me, as my information was on the letter. I wanted to get more information from Joy.
I was still a bit hesitant about sharing this possibility with Joy. I didn't want to get her hopes up or give her false information. I talked to her later and discreetly prodded her with a few questions. The organ donor system does not release specific information until a year after the donation has taken place, so Joy had some vague knowledge about each of the recipients. One of the kidney recipients was a 28-year-old young man who loved basketball. This was about all we had to go on.
The woman from the arts market and I began emailing back and forth. Her future son-in-law was a 28-year-old young man who loved basketball. In fact, basketball probably kept him alive. Because he was sweating out toxins from playing so much, his kidney failure was delayed. I looked into the dates. Bryan was officially declared on July 15, 2010. This family was called in for the kidney on July 16, 2010. Okay, it's got to be him.
I shared with Joy. She was so excited.
Needless to say, the woman from the arts market was more than willing to take a booth at the benefit day. Her daughter began emailing me, and asked if it was okay for her and her fiancé to come. I asked Joy. She gave a resounding, absolute yes.
Fast forward to the day of the benefit. We got there early, of course, to set up. We had a steady flow of shoppers in the craft and bake sale area. Lots of people were able to talk to Joy in a much more upbeat manner than had been possible at the memorial. It was good to have a happy day remembering Bryan, for all of us. We raised a nice chunk of change, and that was encouraging as well... but it wasn't the best part of the day.
At about 4 p.m., in walked Bryan's kidney, in its new home in another young man's body. He was with his fiancée and his father. As they were making introductions, I was sitting near the checkout table with tears welling in my eyes. My friend Eva was doing the same. Joy was so happy. She immediately hugged him.
His father came over to talk to me. He told me how he and his wife had lost another son. He was so thankful that God saw fit to save this one. I could relate. I was fighting back the tears through my whole conversation with him. He told me that he and his son are Christians. They are lovers of God. He said that his son has not been the same since his operation. He told me he'd been telling everyone about Jesus... just like Bryan. That gives me chills even to type it.
His family sat to talk with Joy and her father. They talked for an hour and a half. As I watched them, I blubbered privately. I felt like God was pressing it on my heart that THIS was the biggest purpose of this day. It was less about money and more about hope.
Joy shared all sorts of little ways that God wove this story into a beautiful tapestry. This young man felt from a young age, called to ministry. He was on the run from God. He is no longer running. He and his father had served at a local event to help the needy, alongside Bryan Turner and the Jesus Bus. They may have even met that day. His family lives on a street that has the same name as Bryan and Joy's original choice for Timothy's first name. Timothy was later decided upon because of Joy's life verse, 2 Timothy 1:7, "For the Lord did not give us a spirit of fear, but one of power, of love, and of a sound mind." How fitting. (And if you've read my whole story, you know that's Quincy's life verse as well, and mine by osmosis.) He is marrying a woman with 2 young children. Joy is now a widow with 2 young children.
They talked about so many things in that short time, and I know he was encouraged by Joy just as much as she was encouraged by him. I'm sure he was relieved to see how graciously she received him and was glad for the gift of life for him, not begrudging him that.
As we left, Joy and her father, along with this young man and his family, had joined hands in a circle. The young man's father was praying. They parted company as family. It was beautiful.
For me, this was one of the times when it was so overwhelmingly, amazingly beautiful and rewarding to follow God's prompting. I got to see this unfold before my eyes. This meeting was impossible apart from God. All the glory is His and His alone. Thank You, Lord, for giving us good gifts like these. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.