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God Has Identified the Perfect Match: Nebraska Associate Pastor to Receive Kidney from Church's Lead Pastor

Facebook Screenshot: Bellevue Christian Center
Facebook Screenshot: Bellevue Christian Center

An associate pastor in Nebraska who needs a kidney transplant says he is "overwhelmed and overjoyed with love" after finding out that the matching donor is the lead pastor of his own church.

Fighting back tears, Pastor Walter Hooker addressed the congregation at Bellevue Christian Center last Sunday to reveal the exciting news.

The heartwarming moment was shared via video on the church's Facebook page.

"Folks it does me great pleasure to introduce to you the donor that UNMC has identified as my match but more importantly, the donor that God has identified as the perfect match, my friend, my pastor, Andy Kaup," Hooker said. 

In June 2021, Pastor Hooker began the screening process to be placed on the kidney transplant list at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Shortly after that, Kaup completed the tests to see if he was a match. 

Hooker told the congregation that his kidneys are only functioning at about 10 percent, and he goes to dialysis three days a week. He said 10 to 15 individuals came forward to see if they could be his donor, including Kaup.

"As we went through the various phases, we continued to dream if God was really going to do this," Hooker told church members. "When Andy completed his full-day screening at UNMC, we began to get really excited. Andy was informed by UNMC he was a matching donor for me." 

Kaup also explained that having faith in God's plan has remained the central focus. 

"Several months ago, as it became a reality what was going on with Hook, his body, his kidneys, and everything that was taking place, I can remember hearing Hook and Melba talk over and over again talk about the story that God was writing," Kaup said. "How, even though things looked impossible, and things looked scary.  I mean beyond scary. Most of us have no idea how bad things really were, and yet, the two of them and their family as a whole just continued to say God is working something out in the midst of this."

Kaup pointed out it wasn't a coincidence he was a match, rather God was making a way for it to happen.

"One of the things that I've learned about God in each and every step is that He's constantly inviting us into His story. He's always got room for you to step in and to watch what He can do and to just let Him move in your life. The trick is that it's just up to us to be obedient. And that's our heart in this. It was just to be obedient," the pastor said.

"You know, in James 2 it talks about faith and works, and it kind of brings this thing out, you know. What good is it if your brother has a need and you say 'go and hope that your need is met' when it's in your power to help," Kaup continued.

"And so, we just wanted to be a part of helping. We just wanted to be able to say, 'We're tied together, we're in this together. This is God's story. What can God do through all of this?' And so, it truly is just a joy and an honor to be able to step into this story. And to watch God move not just in one family or two families, not just in one church or one city, but what can God do through all of this?" he asked.

The pastors say they will walk through this journey together. Their surgery is scheduled for Aug. 2.

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