Two years ago I had the honor of meeting Stephen Okeyo, a fellow heart transplant patient. He was 24 years old, a student at Calvin College, and one who openly affirmed God’s grace in his young life.
Sadly, after graduating from college in May, and living with great health this past year, Stephen suddenly passed away .
Stephen’s story included growing up in Kenya, then five open heart surgeries during his first semesters of college. He eventually was listed for transplant and received the miracle of a new heart 11 days later.
In attending his funeral yesterday, I learned even more of Stephen’s unwavering faith. He trusted God’s goodness, “when all the observable facts told otherwise.” Stephen persevered through two episodes when he was clinically dead–no heart beat. When doctors discussed his dire prognosis, Stephen said, “with my eyes of faith there is more going on than what we know.”
He was an encourager not just to me, but apparently to everyone he encountered in his short life. Stephen’s deep faith touched the entire Calvin College community here in Grand Rapids MI. His unique story and his endearing smile gave me hope during my incredibly long wait on the transplant list. My heart was touched by Stephen’s perseverance.
I am reminded, through the life and death of Stephen Okeyo, that our lives and our hearts are not our own, but belong to God, our creator and our Savior.