An Act of Faith: DBU Alumna Donates Kidney

2 women are standing together.
Patricia and Sarai

The diagnosis looked grim. Although Patricia had battled cancer and won, a new problem emerged—kidney failure. For two years she spent her mornings, driving to her dialysis clinic, sitting through the process, and knowing that in a couple of days it would start all over again, four hours at a time.

Patricia, however, did not lose hope. For years, she had seen how prayer continually worked in her own life, the life of her family, her church, and her work, Tyler Street Christian Academy. So she and her husband did what came naturally, they asked others to join in prayer. Little did she know that her answer would come in the form of a work colleague she barely knew.

Sarai Najera is a bright-eyed, kind-hearted, and engaging presence. After graduating from DBU, she began a new chapter in her life, taking on a job at Tyler Street. Drawn by the mission and the heart of the Oak Cliff school, Sarai jumped in with both feet, becoming a joyful part of the community.

One day, she noticed a prayer email that came to her inbox. The request was simple – please pray for the ongoing health of a teacher’s wife—Patricia Hernandez, who also happened to be a DBU graduate.

Even though she barely knew Rev. Hernandez or Patricia at the time, Sarai began to pray earnestly, especially when she found out about the need—a kidney transplant.

“I was thinking about how easily the situation could be solved if one person gave an extra of what they already had,” Sarai recalled. “I started praying that God would provide for Mrs. Hernandez; then I felt the Lord tell me that I could help by giving my kidney.

What seemed impossible to everyone else was almost a simple equation to Sarai—one person in need and another with the means equals a donation. Motivated by compassion and the Lord’s prompting, Sarai continued to pray.

“I decided that if I was simply trying to be a superhero, I needed to challenge the thought and ask God to help me discern if this was His Spirit guiding me or just my own emotions,” she explained. “I prayed for a month, spoke with wise counsel, and pursued more research. After that time, I felt confident and willing to give away my kidney.”

To avoid false hope, Sarai’s research and testing was conducted before broaching the subject with Mrs. Hernandez. Up until that point, the sum of the ladies’ relationship was small talk in the hall. They were essentially strangers, or as Sarai puts it, “Unrelated by blood but related through Jesus' atoning sacrifice.”

“I prayed that the Lord would give me the blood type of a universal donor. He did! I saw that as the first confirmation,” Sarai continued, “and I also asked that if God really wanted me to donate that He would make every single door fling wide open. He did!”

Patricia shared her perspective. “When Sarai told me of her willingness to donate one of her kidneys, I thought this could not possibly be God’s choice for me. She didn’t know me well, she couldn’t possibly be a match. I even tried to talk her out of the idea because she was so young. However, as she passed every test, my doubts faded away especially when she was found to be a better match than my daughter. I understood clearly, God’s hand was moving us in the direction of transplant.”

“I told the doctors that I was not at all related to Mrs. Hernandez but that the test results were confirmation from the Lord that I should donate,” Sarai stated. “I told them that He could bring together two random strangers, unrelated by blood but related through Jesus' atoning sacrifice, and make them a practically perfect match. He could do it because He is God, and He intimately knows the people He creates.”

After five years of potential candidates circling in and out, all that was left was Sarai, Patricia, and a room full of shocked doctors—shocked that Patricia Hernandez’s blood type finally found its match, shocked that a stranger would volunteer their kidney, and shocked that faith in Christ could motivate such an unconditional offer.

This past March, Sarai and Patricia entered surgery, and Patricia received what she needed for so many years, a kidney transplant. The obedience of one led to the restoration of another. Yet, the story these ladies prefer to tell is the narrative of God’s faithfulness.

“I always knew God was working something out for me. I wasn’t surprised at God’s faithfulness but at the manner in which He would accomplish His will,” Mrs. Hernandez shared.

“God knew what He was doing when He placed me at Tyler Street and kept me healthy all the years before,” Sarai shared. “He prepared me for the moment I was supposed to make my body a sacrifice for other's just like He did for the world. Donating does not make me better or more sacrificial than others. All this means is that I was obedient to God’s call like so many other Christians choose to do daily!”

Today, Sarai and Patricia remain “forever friends.” They spend lunches together, and pray that this story would show others how obedience allows us to see His faithfulness as we grow closer to Him through our devotion.

Written by Dr. Blake Killingsworth

Dr. Blake Killingsworth is the Vice President for Communications at Dallas Baptist University.