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Tara Priddis

September 27, 2012

In February of 2007, Billy, my husband, was deployed to Iraq. And I found myself scared, unsure, and searching for strength.

Billy would be gone anywhere between twelve and eighteen months, and my parents had just left to serve a mission.  So my three small children and I moved back home to Utah to live in the house I grew up in.

I knew that I would go crazy if I sat down and focused on my own set of problems. So on my first Sunday back in my home ward I had a thought, "Forget yourself and go to work."

The best way I know how to work is to serve, so I watched as the service sign-ups came around in Relief Society. As it sat in my lap, I decided to sign my name to EVERYTHING.

If a sister needed dinner, I brought dinner.
If an older couple needed house cleaning, I cleaned. 
If someone needed a babysitter, I babysat.

I soon was given a Visiting Teaching route and thought, “I’m going to do better at Visiting Teaching than I ever have before.” 

My new companion was one of my old Young Women leaders and we were given Candace, my old Young Women’s President to visit. On our first visit to Candace, she talked about her husband, Alvin, and how he wasn’t doing well at all. I knew Alvin had struggled with kidney failure and had been on dialysis for about 6 years.  As Candace talked about him needing a kidney transplant and the dozens of people who were going through testing to see if they were a match, I had a thought come to me. Distinctly.

“It’s you, you will donate your kidney.”

I tried to brush it off, reminding myself of the long list of people who were already going through the matching process. And so I left her house without saying a word.

I spent the next couple of months searching out information on kidney donation. I still didn’t share my thoughts or plan with anyone except Billy.

I continued to sign my name to every service opportunity and I forgot myself.
Alvin continued to get sicker and sicker and his list of people to donate got smaller and smaller.

About nine months passed, and I found myself in a hospital waiting room with Candace. She cried to me as she explained that no one on the list had been a match. As I stood there, trying to comfort her, the overwhelming feeling that I was the match came back.

I asked her, “What do I need to do?” She gave me a phone number to call. I called the number and spoke to a very direct woman named Eve. That phone conversation began a long long list of tests. Almost a year to the day that I sat in Candace’s living room listening to her talk of Alvin’s problems, I found myself on a hospital bed being wheeled to the surgery room. I only had five weeks to recover, because Billy was coming home from his sixteen month deployment and we were moving back to Georgia.

I look back on this journey and realize that once I began to serve, I wasn’t scared or unsure. Heavenly Father gave me strength and told me exactly what I needed to do. Now that Billy and I have five children and have added another deployment and two more moves to our journey, I look back at that time in my life and I draw strength from it.