The Truth... What is it?

Another Special Life in Christ

These testimony lives are not stories of "role models". Jesus is the role model!
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 that church.

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 cancer.

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 yard.

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 claimed.

"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 sleepover.

"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 happen?

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 liver.

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 25 percent.

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 do!"

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 reminded herself.

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 in the story of Wendy and Tracy. See other faith & health information [here].

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(posted 9 August 2002)


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 [check it out]!