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Then-college student donates kidney to fellow church membercomment (0)

April 19, 2012

Then-college student donates kidney to fellow church member

On Dec. 18, 2006, Alabama Baptist college student John Phipps lay alongside his new friend Steve DeVane in a hospital bed at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical Center. 

In just a few hours, Phipps’ kidney would be removed and placed inside DeVane. It took about five hours and required two separate procedures, but all went well. 

Donating a kidney is no longer an uncommon procedure but still one filled with risks, sacrifice, hope and complete trust. 

For the junior and 2006–2007 Student Government Association president at the Baptist College of Florida (BCF), Phipps’ trust was completely in God. 

He trusted that his kidney would be accepted by his friend’s body and God would add His blessings and watchcare over them both.

Initially when Phipps heard DeVane needed a kidney transplant, he was reminded of a commitment he had made to God only a few years prior. 

Phipps had read an article about a teacher who donated a kidney to one of his students. 

Being moved by the teacher’s generosity, Phipps told God then that if one day someone needed one of his kidneys, he would be obedient and give it to him or her. 

“I wanted to be obedient and faithful to God in whatever I had,” Phipps said. “I didn’t really know Steve that well, but I was very aware of the commitment that I made to God.” 

He remains convinced he was the one God had chosen to donate a kidney for DeVane. 

At the time DeVane’s kidney was failing, his blood levels were fluctuating and his energy was decreasing. He knew he had to have a new kidney soon to keep his blood clean. 

“The way it all happened, is completely humbling,” Phipps said. 

DeVane said he felt like a new man after the surgery. “I have so much energy it feels like a miracle drug,” he said.  

Travis Free, pastor of Rehobeth Baptist Church in Columbia Baptist Association, shared how the experience of his church members at the time provides the ultimate story in “sacrificial giving.” 

The sequence of events that brought Phipps to BCF and Rehobeth at just the right time to be the donor for DeVane was nothing short of a miracle, Free said.  

Phipps moved his membership letter to Rehobeth while attending BCF. DeVane was already a member there.

BCF President Thomas A. Kinchen added, “When we see actions like those of John Phipps, we are reminded that our Lord still shows His love through His faithful servants.

“The God we serve is all about miracles,” he said. “I am convicted by the fact that we seem so surprised when He works His wonders.” 

Phipps graduated from BCF in 2008 and is currently a student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., studying biblical leadership. 

He hopes to serve as an administrative staff member at a church in the future. 

Phipps and his wife, April, have three children. 

They are members of Open Door Baptist Church, Raleigh, N.C.


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