Man who donated kidney to congregation member credits 'nudge from God' for his kindness

The congregation gave a standing ovation for the donation that started with faith and a little nudge.

Faith and little nudge brought Charles Roberts back to Littleton Church of Christ on Sunday.

“I feel great,” Roberts said before the service.

The last 18 months have been tough for Roberts and his family. They never lost faith.

“For three days a week, I was going to dialysis,” Roberts said. “Takes about four-and-a-half hours each session.”

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He had faith his church community would help him through a difficult time. He had faith they’d ultimately help him find a kidney. The surprise was that it came from his own congregation.

“We have mutual friends and we’ve known each other,” Phil Gustafson said of Roberts.

After hearing Roberts’ story in church, Gustafson considered what help would mean.

“I’d never had surgery. I’d never wanted to have surgery. I never wanted to spend time in the hospital,” he said.

Gustafson just needed a little nudge.

“You know, a nudge from God,” he said. “You know, a calling that I felt like I should at least go through the process and try to see if I could be a donor.”

Unbeknownst to Roberts, Gustafson checked with University of Colorado Hospital to see if he could be the match.

He was.

Like Roberts, he had to rely on faith to reach a decision.

“It’s kind of like jumping out of an airplane,” Gustafson said. “It’s not scary until someone opens the door and says, you know, it’s time to jump.”

Gustafson made the jump. On Jan. 24, he donated his kidney to Roberts.

“It’s unbelievable,” Roberts said. “It’s an unbelievable feeling of love.”

Roberts said he was overwhelmed by the prayers from his congregation and the selfless act by a fellow church member.

Sunday was the first time Roberts and Gustafson were back together in church. Senior Minister Jovan Barrington invited the two to the front of the church to share their story.

“We just want to celebrate that and give honor to what God has done in the name of Jesus Christ,” Barrington said. “Can we get a round of applause for them?”

The congregation gave a standing ovation for the donation that started with faith and a little nudge.

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“Thank you so much, Phil,” Roberts said, taking the microphone. “I’ll be indebted to you for the rest of my life. Thank you for being the man that you are.”