A Northern Irish man has saved the life of a pastor who took him in off the streets after donating one of his own kidneys to the kind-hearted minister. Belfast man Melvin Boyd (40) had been living in a hostel in the city when he decided to pop into Faith Mission Bookshop to buy a new Bible. It was here that he heard about a local church, the River of Life Healing Centre. It was the first stop in a chain of extraordinary events that brought the two men together.
“We met because he went into a shop to get a Bible and he told the shop assistant how he was homeless and desperate to meet a family because he’d gone off drink and didn’t want to stay in a hostel any longer,” said Pastor John Greenaway of the River of Life Centre.
Greenaway and his family run the Christian ministry, offering prayer and healing to the needy. When John encountered Melvin, he knew he was in difficulty and needed a safe place to stay. Melvin was battling alcohol addiction at the time. Immediately, the pastor opened up his home to the homeless man, as reported by the Ulster Gazette.
Melvin, who had been living on the streets for most of his life, was desperate for a family.
“He’d been homeless since he was 14 and had always wanted the love of a family; he was so desperate,” John explained. “When he came here and saw the love between us and the children, he wanted to be part of it.”
So so proud of these 2 men!Proud to call one my father&Proud to call one my brother.Melvin gave my dad the most precious gift, the gift of life!And I am eternally grateful.
“I believed Melvin needed a new start in life, we wanted to help him,” Greenway told BBC Ulster.
“He was different than other people. There are a lot of people who want help but don’t want to do anything about it themselves – but Melvin wanted to help himself.”
At the time, Pastor Greenaway had been suffering from kidney failure. As his health continued to decline, he had started crying out for healing, convinced that the Lord was going to come through. Then, something extraordinary happened. As soon as Melvin learned of John’s medical condition, he offered to donate one of his own kidney’s to help save his life.
“We had been praying for many people and had seen many people healed through our healing centre here – and then Melvin came along,” John explained.
“There was no agonizing about it,” Boyd said of his quick decision to donate his kidney to the minister.
Both of them believe it was God’s plan for them to cross paths.
“The biggest thing about it was God bringing us together. I believe it was meant to be,” Melvin said.
“I got the transplant on March 23 last year; Melvin came to our place less than a year before that on April 23, 2016,” Pastor Greenaway told Belfast Telegraph.
Now almost 12 months after the transplant operation, John’s quality of life has improved dramatically. He no longer requires any of the invasive dialysis treatment that was restricting his way of life.
The pair now has an inseparable bond and an extraordinary brotherly love for each other.
“I’ve so much love for Melvin… he’s the best gentleman I’ve ever met,” John said.
Despite his extraordinary act of selflessness, Melvin himself feels incredibly blessed. He says nothing can compare to being taken off the streets and embraced into a family of believers.
“I tell other people it’s great that John got a new lease of life, but people don’t see that I got a new lease of life,” he said. “John got a piece of me, but I got a family, a place to live, I got friends, people that care about me, I got way more than John got.”
“I was living on the streets and never had known the love of a family environment,” he concluded. “God gave me a home and a family all in one go.”
As for John, he struggles to think of a way he could ever repay Melvin for his life-giving actions.
“How could I ever thank Melvin for what he’s done? Words couldn’t describe that,” the pastor said.
“He said it wasn’t even a problem to him – and I believe God had already prepared Melvin’s heart to give me a kidney. He will always be a part of me now, and part of my family.”
Understandably, the pair truly believes that the hand of God was upon the unique set of circumstances that brought them together.
“This wasn’t a coincidence; I believe it was the hand of God that brought Melvin here. I prayed for healing and asked God to do it whatever way he wanted,” John told the Belfast Telegraph.
“I want to give all the glory to God and it’s the same for Melvin. He doesn’t want to take any glory; he did it for God.”