Ohio Pastor Noah D. Schumacher and his wife, Michelle, are on a mission to live sacrificially in the hope of pointing others to Christ, who gave everything so that we may live eternally with Him in heaven. The couple run an inner city youth ministry, participate in mission and relief efforts in Honduras and work with persecuted churches abroad.
The Schumachers and their three children strive to live by two principles:
– Life is a currency meant to be lived out for the betterment and welfare of others — not ourselves.
– You have nothing to lose by giving everything you have. You have everything to lose by clinging to what you already have.
But recently, Pastor Noah, who leads HighMill Church in Canton, Ohio, was met with an obstacle that couldn’t be overcome through personal devotion and determination. About three months ago, Schumacher’s mother, 60-year-old Diana Horger went to the doctor for a cough, only to discover that her liver was failing — she would need a transplant as soon as possible.
The pastor, 33, was eager to help his mother. But after getting tested, he received the crushing news that he wasn’t a match.
Writing on his personal blog, Schumacher described the devastating moment after that fateful phone call from the hospital:
Right then I knew it was going to be one of the hardest days of my life. I collapsed right then. Put the phone down. And I sobbed. I couldn’t move. The reason I was denied was based on the anatomy of my liver. It was not conducive to what my mom needed. I [would’ve] either died quickly or needed a transplant right away. The risk was huge. Obviously my mom would never let me go through this let alone the Cleveland clinic. But Michelle and I begged for them to try. Yes, we are a bit radical in our love for others.
Despite that news, however, his desire to donate to someone in need remained strong. Schumacher was informed that he could be a match for a pediatric patient in need of a liver donation.
He nervously approached Michelle with the proposal:
Would she disagree? Would she be hesitant for a stranger? Would it be emotionally just too much after going through everything we’ve been through in trying to save my mom? What would she say? I knew I couldn’t force a decision like this. We needed to be unified.
But Schumacher had nothing to worry about.
“Of course we can do this,” Michelle responded. “This is the Gospel of Jesus.”
“Her blunt and quick response to this new twist in our story illustrates why I love this woman more than any other on this planet,” the pastor wrote. “It was a response born out of conviction, boldness, and deep compassion.”
Schumacher noted that “the decision took a whole 8 seconds for us.”
“Call it foolish, reckless, or unwise (as some have),” he wrote. “We call it compassion and following the path God laid before us. A life is a life and all life is precious.”
In an interview with Fox News, Schumacher explained the simple biblical reasoning that informed his family’s decision.
“We came so far to help my mother, and I can’t walk away,” he said. “We were both so sad, but her response literally was, ‘Of course, we can do this for a child. This is living out the Gospel for Jesus,’ and we both said ‘OK, let’s do it.'”
“We have been given a gift. Michelle, myself, and our three wonderful children,” Schumacher wrote on his blog. “As a family we have the opportunity to follow Jesus to a depth we could only ever dream of. We will be able to meet the need of a family who is praying for a miracle for their child. I could never walk away. How could I?”
“As a father I can’t walk away,” he added.
Earlier this month, Pastor Noah was approved to be a donor. Soon, he will undergo a six-hour surgery that will involve an 11-inch incision in his chest and a three-to-six-month recovery period. During his recovery, he will be taking a voluntary pay cut to relieve his congregation of the financial burden. A friend of the Schumachers has set up a GoFundMe page to help their family with medical expenses.
In the midst of his latest effort to live out the Gospel, Pastor Noah continues to search for his mother’s future donor. His latest blog post includes a prayer request for his mom, and a plea for potential donors:
I ask that you please keep my mom in your prayers. She is the toughest woman I have ever met. She is a fighter and I love her with all my heart. It kills me that I can’t be this for her. I wont ever get past that. But i am who I am because of her as well. She is a radical Christ follower as is my dad. I trust God will walk her as well as our entire family through this. Have O- blood? Interested in being part of our miracle story? Nschumac@ashland.edu. Contact me.
Since sharing their journey with their congregation and local media, the Schumachers have received many inquiries from people hoping to help Noah’s mother.
“I think this story could play out to work out well for everyone, ” Michelle told WITI-TV. “And that’s our hope.”
Please keep the Schumachers in your prayers, as their journey is just beginning. To read more about Noah and Michelle’s ministry, click here.