I just finished an over-an-hour conversation with my older sister Ruthie, who lives in San Antonio, Texas. For those with whom I have not shared this part of my private life, I always call my baby brother Ulises first, then my sister, as she likes to talk the longest. I call every two weeks or so after I have prepared mentally to be on the phone for that long. We normally catch up with whatever is happening to the rest of our extended family in Puerto Rico and other parts of the US. She talks while I pull weeds in the backyard, trying to get a word or two in.
Every so often, I make fun of whatever she has just talked about just to hear her laughter, which reminds me of mom’s. I truly enjoy those moments with her, especially now that, by the grace of God, she is much stronger after going through an organ transplant less than six months ago. Yes, we talk about that too, and how our God gifted Ruthie a second go-around in life.
I still remember when my sister called to tell me that her gallbladder was infected and not working right. No big deal, right? Gallbladder removal is one of the most common surgeries in the US, with more than 1.2 million a year. However, her doctor wanted it to happen in conjunction with her liver transplant, as it was also failing at a rapid pace. At the time, I asked my Senior Pastor, Dr. Anderson, the Elders, the Elders Council of Women, and those in the Elder’s Prayer Circle to include Ruthie in their prayers.
THE PLOT THICKENS!!
My sister was not on a donor’s list; therefore, her doctor sent her to one of the two local hospitals that specialize in organ transplants to get the process started. After many tests, she finally qualified to be an organ recipient (yes, you must qualify). My sister called me crying and anxious about the whole traumatic selection process and the warning thereafter: you just got listed, prepare to wait for an undetermined time until a suitable donor is identified, and no guarantees.
I told her a few jokes and reminded her that we serve an all-mighty God who was listening to our conversation and laughing His holy head off. After some more laughter, I prayed for the healthiest liver for her, for her to be covered with godly peace, and for us to wait on the Lord.
A couple of weeks later, my sister texted that she would be admitted immediately; the doctors were notified that an organ donor had been identified, and they wanted her in the hospital, ready for surgery. I called my sister in the hospital, and prayed with her until a nurse came to get her. The organ was compatible, and the surgical team was ready for her. Almost nine hours later, she was in an induced coma, hooked to machines to help her recover and survive from surgery.
After several months, Ruthie recovered some aspects of normalcy. Although the road ahead is a lengthy one, our trust and faith have grown exponentially knowing my sister only waited 2 weeks for a suitable donor. During one of her many appointments, her surgeon told her, “In all my years as a surgeon, I have never seen such a perfect liver.”
PERFECT liver. I had prayed for a perfect liver, and one was delivered.
My sister is so grateful for those who prayed and continue to pray for her recovery; she still reminds me to thank my Pastor, Dr. Anderson, fellow Elders, Elders Council of Women, clergy, and Elder’s Prayer circle for their love and care.
I urge you to make prayer part of your daily life. Prayer, in its most basic definition, is talking to God; it’s not meditation or passive reflection, but a direct address to God. Even if you feel lacking in faith, it’s ok. God remains faithful; He will never forsake you or me.
I have many unanswered prayers, but I continue to bring them before my Heavenly Father, as I know His timing to answer is always perfect, like my sister’s new liver!
I also would like to invite you to join the Elder’s Prayer group, during Wednesday Night Alive. We are like a family, as we pray and cry together. We follow up on each other’s issues and maintain the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace and continuous prayer. I also leave you some guidance from the apostle Paul, found in 1 Timothy 2:1-2.
“I urge, then, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
So, in prayer, converse with God, and if you ever need prayer, I will be there for you, along with an army of Elders and Elders Council of Women.
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