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Coming Together

Listen to this week’s Devotional here.

Coming Together

Author: Tom Lounsbury


For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Mathew 18:20

For the past several years, my 59-year-old brother and youngest of six siblings, was ailing from Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), a degenerative lung disease that seemingly is only corrected by a double-lung transplant.

COVID exacerbated our distance and ability to get together due to travel restrictions, so our family did like everyone else: we got together on ZOOM. Our brother, Alan, kept us current on his medical situation and mentioned the transplant team told him that in addition to his amazing wife, Robin, he’d need a strong support network throughout the process, even with a transplant.

As vaccinations became available, siblings were more comfortable visiting in turns, and encouraging Alan and Robin to keep their spirits up. Jeanne and I traveled back east to visit him and help get his house in order to sell so that they could move into a low-maintenance apartment.

He finally received news that his health was bad enough to be considered for the transplant list. I asked for prayers on a slip of paper during this discernment time for the medical transplant team. Our Church came together and prayed. A few days later, the transplant team recommended he be placed on the list. Thank you for your prayers! We then learned it was up to the insurance company to sign off on covering the procedure costs, that he would not be put on the list formally until then. After months of further physical decline, they notified him that he was denied treatment, saying the transplant facility was now somehow, “out of network.” Throughout this time, family and friends stepped up their visits, the church community Alan and Robin are heavily involved with continued their prayers and support, and our church community and friends offered their prayers and support as well.

Eventually, the insurance company did settle on another transplant center where he could try all over again, if only he’d live that long. After additional batteries of tests and file transfers, the new transplant team completed their evaluation and formally placed him on their transplant list. Miraculously, once on the list, he was called within 2 days for a transplant opportunity.

Alan’s double lung transplant procedure was a resounding success and he continues to grow stronger, re-engaging in his everyday life activities 4 months later. There were many prayers of gratitude for the medical team and especially for the donor and their family. He often expresses how the support and love he and his wife received during the past few years through their family, friends and church communities gave him hope and pulled him through this challenging time.

Coming together to support each other is a staple that binds most church communities. This experience with my brother is a powerful reminder of how lives are impacted from unwavering support. God calls us together in community with each other and it’s important for us to show up for each other for care and support. Our giving to the church sustains and strengthens this community of care.

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