God’s Sister

One Year Update re My Sister Susan's Kidney Donation

This is a guest post by my sister, the Rev. Susan Joy Huizenga, who donated her kidney to Buddi on September 12, 2016. Related posts are archived here.

Photo Credit: Dan Davis Photography, Grand Rapids, MI

I visited my new sister Buddi yesterday. We enjoyed ourselves. Her grandson, Samar, 18 months old, acts as if he likes me. Buddi says “He loves you. He senses our connection.”

A year ago Buddi and I were just beginning to bond after dual major surgeries that dramatically changed both our lives. I donated my left kidney to her, and Buddi went from a dreary existence on dialysis to the picture of health you see here. The exposed scars on her arm are from dialysis. (more…)

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Blood is Thicker Than Water

A Reflection on John 19:26 "Woman, Behold Thy Son"

This is a guest post by my sister, the Rev. Susan Joy Huizenga. She preached this sermon on Good Friday (4/14/17) at the Aleda E. Lutz VA Medical Center; Saginaw, MI. Some of you know Susan from an earlier post about being a living kidney donor.

One day when I was about twelve years old, my sister Beth demanded to know all about a conversation I had with a friend in the neighborhood. She thought I knew some sort of secret, and she demanded to know.

“She made me promise not to tell” I objected.

My sister persisted “Come on, Susan! Blood is thicker than water!”

To the best of my recollection, I never did cave into Beth’s demand. But I got the point. Blood is thicker than water.

In New Jersey, when I was growing up in the 1970s, the mafia was much in control of certain aspects of life. Also, we lived in an Italian neighborhood. The ideal of family and clan loyalty was strong. Later, while I was working in Trenton NJ, the students were discussing the TV series “The Sopranos” and one of the students stated emphatically “I cannot watch that. My friend’s father was killed by the mob. It hits too close to home.”

{Law Enforcement realized they could not keep up with the number of murders and mayhem that this mob crime situation presented to them. Lawmakers and law enforcement got together and passed a law RICO to take out the financing of the operation. It worked. So the mob is still there but much diminished in power and scope.}

Hearing this ancient story about what Jesus went through, reminds us that thinking ‘might makes right,” or the rule by those with swords, or the fear of protesters, or the incompetence of those in authority, or inadequate human systems … none of this is new!


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Thanks for Your Prayers!

Update on the Kidney Transplant

I posted about my sister Susan offering to donate her kidney to a woman named Buddi, a refugee from Nepal who attends her church. I thought you’d enjoy this picture — both women are still recovering in hospital. Thanks for surrounding the procedure with your prayers! Join me in offering up prayers of thanksgiving, and continued prayers for the blessing of complete recovery and full health.

Buddi Suppa, recipient, and Susan Huizenga Cleveland, donor.

Buddi Suppa, recipient, and Susan Huizenga Cleveland, donor.

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ ~ Matthew 25:37-40

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Please Pray for a Kidney Transplant

my sister Susan is the donor

Susan speaking at Dad's Memorial Service. 6/22/16.

Susan speaking at Dad’s Memorial Service. 6/22/16.

You know how some people would “do anything for you”?

My sister Susan is making that phrase real. She is donating her kidney to a woman who attends her church.

That’s right — one Sunday during Announcements, it was reported that Buddi, a refugee whom the church was assisting, needed a kidney. Without a transplant, she would not be able to have her young daughter join her in this country.

Susan thought — Wow, I could help Buddi AND her daughter, and what could be cooler than that? So she had the test done and the match was made.

Susan told me about her plans a few days after we had the memorial service for our Dad. We were sitting together in church — she attends the same one as my parents — and she elbowed me and said, “Look at that woman in the communion circle, wearing that purple outfit — I’ll tell you something about her later. Her name is Buddi.”

kidney prayer stone

I will resist calling this a “kidney stone.”

What she told me was rather shocking, and to be honest, I wasn’t ready to hear it, not right after we buried our father.

A few weeks later I was in Michigan’s upper peninsula, walking along the shore of Lake Superior, when it struck me that the rocks were as smooth as I imagine an organ to be. I searched for two rocks that seemed the right size to be a kidney. I left one with my mother, and brought the other one home to keep on my desk. I hold it as I pray for my sister. Sometimes when you don’t know what words to use, it’s good to hold something and be silent.

The surgery is scheduled for Monday, September 12, at 7:30 a.m. at Mercy Health St. Mary’s in Grand Rapids, MI.

Please join me in lifting up prayers for a successful outcome for both donor and recipient! Pray as you will. My prayer will go something like this . . . .

Gracious God, watch over Susan and Buddi during their kidney transplant. Be with the surgeons, that they may be skillful and precise and effective in their work. Be with the nurses and all medical personnel, that Buddi and Susan may be surrounded by competence and care. Alleviate their pain. Grant them safety under anesthesia, and successful surgeries. May they each make a full recovery. May Susan’s left kidney begin the work of filtering Buddi’s blood, to restore her body to well being. May Susan’s right kidney take up the work of its sister organ, and be adequate to its task. Please Lord, grant successful surgery for both of them, and full recovery for both of them. Be with the loved ones who wait for news, especially Susan’s husband, and our dear mother. We pray this knowing that you are the Great Healer. We commit Susan and Buddi to you. Amen.

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