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The Gospel Herald of the Church of God Mountain Assembly July 2004 issue

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A Miracle In The Making

Donors

Thirteen and a half years ago in September of 1990, my husband, Dave Cole, received a kidney and pancreas transplant after being on the list for only three weeks. The transplant was very successful and we were able to continue to travel in our song ministry for the Lord as we did before. In February 2003, a virus attacked Dave’s liver and also caused problems with the kidney and rejection started. He was sick most of the year and by November 2003, we knew that another kidney transplant was in store if God did not heal the failing kidney.

We attend the Eastern Road Church of God in Rittman, Ohio where Dave’s brother, Faron Cole, is our pastor. He wanted to be a donor for Dave but with his own health complications, he was unable to meet the requirements.

Then we had two members of our church that stepped forth and wanted to be tested to see if they matched.

Donor #1 – Elizabeth Pratt, age 20, a young lady that has been traveling with us in our ministry. She runs our sound system and helps me drive our motor home on long distance trips. We have watched Elizabeth grow up from a teenager and also grow in her spiritual walk with the Lord.

Donor #2 – Teresa (Knippenberg) Brenn, age 39, is a young lady that we just met in August 2002. She was a medical assistant that was assisting in one of Dave’s surgeries. We had never met Teresa until that day. Since Dave has been on immune suppressant medication, he has had multiple skin cancers that are ongoing and have to be surgically removed. Teresa overheard us talking before Dave’s surgery about the Eastern Road Church of God in Rittman that Dave’s brother might be pastoring in the near future. She was interested because she lived in Rittman. She wanted us to let her know if and when that even was to take place.

Faron Cole became pastor of the Eastern Road Church of God in September 2002, but we did not remember the medical assistant’s name at that time to let her know.

In December 2002, Dave had to have surgery again to remove another skin cancer and we told Teresa that we were attending the church in Rittman and she was excited. Teresa told us that she liked country music. Since we sing southern gospel with a country style, we did not want to pass up an opportunity to witness to her, so, we gave her a couple of our CD’s. Teresa came to our Christmas evening service and said that she would be back. The following Sunday, during morning worship service, Teresa gave her heart to the Lord. Then the next Sunday, her twin sister, Lesa, also received the Lord as her personal Savior. They have been part of our church family ever since Christmas of 2002.

We have watched Teresa grow in the Lord and through the many trials and tragedies that she has faced in the past year and a half, we have had the privilege to help her conquer each and every one through leaning on Jesus Christ through a lot of prayer and scriptures.

Teresa came to us in January 2004 and said that she wanted to be a donor for Dave. I tried to talk her out of it because of some of the health problems that she has had in the past. But she said that God told her that she was a perfect match and she wanted to be tested if she could pass the qualifications. Then, Teresa said we showed her the way of salvation that the least that she can do is to give Dave her kidney.

In February 2004, our donors went for their first tissue matching. Our church had special prayer that the Lord would allow one of our donors to be a match. A few days later, we received the news that both Elizabeth and Teresa were perfect matches. Our transplant coordinator told us that having two donors that are a perfect match is very rare especially when neither is a family member. Elizabeth and Teresa had to decide among themselves who would go for the remainder of the tests to be the donor. Prayer again was the key to their answer.

One Sunday evening service, Dave and I were singing a song entitled, That’s Why I Call It Grace. Teresa and Elizabeth fell to their knees hand in hand for an answer to the decision they had to make on who would be the donor. They both got the same answer that evening and our donor was to be Teresa.

The tests were completed in April and the transplant was scheduled the first week of May. Churches throughout the United States were praying for this need. Both Teresa and Dave were in the hospital less than a week and both are doing great.

Our God is a prayer answering God. He is an on-time God. The surgeon told us that Dave’s first transplanted kidney was enlarged, enflamed and only functioning about 15%. He would have soon been on dialysis.

Dave is playing his guitar and we were able to keep our first singing engagement only 2 weeks after his transplant. We give God all the glory for this miracle and also a special thanks to Teresa (Knippenberg) Brenn for letting God use her in a special way.

We have learned through all of this that sometimes we might have to go through things in this life for a reason. If Dave hadn’t had the skin cancers, we wouldn’t have had the privilege of winning Teresa to the Lord. In all of the afflictions that Dave has endured, he has claimed 2 Corinthians 4:17 "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."

We share our testimony through our song ministry throughout the United States. We are encouraged by our pastor and brother-in-law, Faron Cole, to spread the gospel in song as an outreach ministry of Eastern Road Church of God in Rittman, Ohio. We travel for free will offerings and God has always met our needs.

God Bless,

Brenda Cole

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