Every baptism is special to Marvin Baucom, pastor of Corinth Baptist Church in Cisco, Texas. But last month the Texas pastor had the “incredible” honor of baptizing what he calls his “heart sister.” The reason for that name? The heart of the girl’s deceased brother now beats inside the pastor’s chest.
Texas Pastor Has Heartfelt Bond With Donor’s Family
In 2014, Pastor Baucom had a major heart attack and was “failing medical therapy,” according to his doctor. Around the same time, Hunter Wickliffe died after a serious car accident, and his family honored his wishes to become an organ donor. Four people received “precious gifts” of life from Hunter, says his mother, Jen Wickliffe—including Baucom, who received Hunter’s healthy heart.
After the operation, Wickliffe had the opportunity to hear her son’s beating heart when she met Baucom at a restaurant. The pastor describes the emotional scene, saying, “We begin to listen, and the whole table is bawling. The waitress comes over to see what’s wrong, we tell her the story, she’s bawling. The manager comes over to see why everybody in the whole place is bawling.”
The heart-to-heart bond Baucom now has with Hunter’s family is “an incredible thing for the glory of God,” says the pastor, marveling at “what that donor heart has done for me and is continuing to do for others.” So when Hunter’s sister asked to be baptized by the Texas pastor, his joy overflowed. “Well, you know how [baptism] gets over a preacher anyway, but then you add on to it that it’s my heart sister, you might say, oh, it was an incredible thing.”
The Wickliffe family traveled to Cisco for the baptism, sharing photos and video on social media.
Organ Donation Changes Donor’s Family Too
Before her son’s death, Jen Wickliffe worked as a pediatric ICU nurse. But after going through the organ donation process, she decided to switch gears and become a Certified Procurement Transplant Coordinator. “It’s very rewarding because I feel like I can help the families when they are on their worst possible day of losing their loved one,” she says.