JourneyMen celebrated its 25th Take the Lead Bible study and fellowship event on October 25th. Bob Downs, along with the musical talents of Dave Osborne and friends, and Ben Ryan and his band of BBQ brothers, make this event a joyous gathering opportunity for men to gather for fun, fellowship and grow in faith.

This past event was no different. It’s become a tradition to have someone share their faith story how God has touched their life. Randy Johnson, a good friend of Bob, has been attending Take the Lead events for years. Unfortunately, Randy was diagnosed with a terminal lung disease that was slowly taking his life. Strong in faith, Randy stayed close to God and prayed for a miracle. His journey was long and difficult; it was also expensive.

When Randy discovered his could qualify for a lung transplant, he was told he would need to raise money to cover the after expenses that accompany a transplant. His small-town community of Sedalia, Mo rallied around Randy and his family raising over 42,000 in one benefit dinner/action. God was preparing Randy to receive his miracle. One night, when breathing was extremely difficult, Randy prayed and asked God to call him home, or give him lungs; he received the long-awaited call just five days after being placed on the recipient list. By the grace of God every requirement needed was met and Randy headed to St. Louis to receive his new lungs and begin his three-month rehabilitation in St. Louis.

With life, come death. A life had to be given to give Randy life. A 24-year-old women suffered a life ending head trauma from a horse-riding accident in Texas. While Randy had a drive to St. Louis, his new lungs were being flown in from Texas. At 10pm the day Randy arrived in St. Louis, the surgery began and lasted until 7am the next morning – it was a complete success. God provided Randy continued life.

In time Randy would meet the family of the lung recipient and discovered the amazing faith of the family hearing how they prayed for each person receiving an organ of their lost loved one. A friendship was developed, and Randy eventually was able to visit the family in Texas. The organ donor was a lover of horses and had one horse that was often a little restless. Randy wanted to meet the donor’s horse and pet it. It was a magical moment as Randy stood by the horse. It laid its head against Randy and just rested as though it knew its long lost friend had returned and now everything was OK.

Randy was given a bracelet to wear during his journey of waiting for this second chance of life. He still wears it today as a remind of how great is our God. It says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

2018 was a tough year for Randy when his wife suddenly passed, and that same year God called his mother home. Through it all Randy continues to hold on and live his life in faith. It takes a mighty God to carry us through the storms of life. We praise God for the gift of faith and the promise we have knowing he is always with us. As in Randy’s physical life, it takes a life to have life. We praise God for the gift of eternal life we have in Christ who gave his life for us.