Dear Door Creek Church, I have a favor to ask. I'm usually very connected to my church and while I'm here, I'd like to help, however I'll have limitations. I'm having a procedure on Tuesday but while I recoup, I'd love to do what I can. It would be a gift to me to be included in some small way. - Robyn
Robyn was in Madison for one month from Santa Rosa, CA. Her friend randomly found Door Creek Church through Google. She was here to donate her kidney to a stranger.
“When asked why I decided to donate my kidney, I have two answers,” said Robyn. “The short, fun answer is Jesus. I’m a selfish person by nature, so science and rationale only go so far. Scripture tells me, if you have something that someone needs, you give it to them. It’s right out of Acts. I had two kidneys. I was given two for a good reason - that’s where the science part comes in - then there’s the Christ part. If He is faithful in all of life, He can certainly cover my silly little kidney.”
The longer version of Robyn’s story starts with a singles movie night at a friend’s house from church. There were people there she didn’t know and she connected with one of them on Facebook. “There was a post that said something like, ‘Help out my buddy from school,’ and it was a guy who needed a kidney. It was almost my bedtime, but I thought, ‘Alright God, maybe? Tell me what I should do.’ I woke up knowing I was going to call.”
While not able to donate to this man specifically, Robyn was able to donate in his name at his hospital, UW Hospital, which increased his chance of receiving a matched kidney through the donation program. “Once I figured out that I could donate, it didn’t matter who got it. I trusted God that the most good could come out of it,” Robyn said.
While preparing for surgery, the transplant team wanted to know who Robyn’s support person was. “I told them I was a Christian, so I have the church, but they kept pressing for an individual person.” Robyn pressed back. “The Church is my person,” she challenged. “They did not understand that we can lean on each other.”
Robyn, age 40, became a Christ-follower at 38. Her new-found dedication to Christ challenged her to live a life of service and God used her during the Santa Rosa Fire in 2017. “It took down business complexes, Kmart, Arbys, numerous gas stations, thousands of homes. Our church lost a campus and 60% of our campus attenders lost their homes,” Robyn shared. “However ugly the pictures look; it does not compare. The smell of it, the silence of it, it was just devastating."
This experience in serving was part of the reason Robyn decided to donate her kidney. It was a given that she wanted to connect with and serve the church while she was in Madison. “I knew I was going to be filled by the services and I wanted to give back,” said Robyn. “If you’re going to take a withdrawal from that bank, you have to make a deposit. Not because it’s a tit for tat, but isn’t that what you feel like you need to do when you go and make a withdrawal from the bank? Make sure you put a little bit back in?”
After her first service, she sent the email asking for volunteer opportunities. She had no idea the roles were about to be reversed when right before being released from the hospital, she suddenly found herself without support. She sent another email.
“A quick detour in direction. I just received word that my help that was flying in to help care for me can’t make it. I could use your help. Sorry that I hoped to bless you and now could use my own blessing.”
Door Creek Church’s Care Team sprang into action. “Receiving these angels has been my own lesson and I am well loved. I can’t even tell you how many little things – it sounds silly when you list them out – I’m not just fed here; I’m well fed with the kind of foods I like to eat. I am spoiled rotten. I’m at a church where I’m engaged and able to volunteer. I have immediate access to friends and music that I enjoy. It’s not just a church, but all the things that feed me,” Robyn said.
“Door Creek Church a group of people who have come around me. The ladies who have kind of adopted me, they are gifts from God. They showed up and have loved on me and I feel like I am not imposing, but I realize that I am, and yet, He makes it OK. I pray when people come into my home church they are loved on the way these ladies have loved on me.”
While Robyn was recovering, she did indeed have the opportunity to volunteer for Door Creek, as she had initially hoped, by working on a computer-based project from her temporary home.
“If you’re impressed with me, you’re missing it,” said Robyn. “It’s God you need to be impressed with. We all have our struggles. If you need a kidney, give me a call, but if you need my airline certificate, it’s not so simple. That happened to me. Money was tight for a friend and I struggled with giving it to her. I didn’t flinch on a kidney, but it’s no more or less than that silly $200 certificate. It’s important not to hold ourselves to other people’s standards."
"Maybe you don’t need to give a kidney, maybe you do have to give five minutes to someone you don’t want to. We know what God’s saying to us. We hear those whispers. People say they don’t know what they’re called for. You’re called for right where you’re at.”
This story, and all of our stories, are from people who call Door Creek Church their home. As you contemplate this story, may your faith be encouraged and your hope renewed. If you’d like to learn more about sharing your story, start here.