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Following up on Pastor Al
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Rev. Al Fernandez received a kidney from his daughter. - photo by Photo provided

This is the rest of the story on Rev. Al Fernandez. Since I wrote his story early this year and so many of you, even from out of town, responded with donations to his “kidney fund,” I choose today to run a thank-you from him. He successfully underwent transplantation and is now in the recovery phase.

Pastor Al will be taking expensive anti-rejection medications to prevent rejection of the organ donated by his daughter. What a blessing he has been given. He asked me to share this letter with all of you.

Dear Friends and Family,

As Pastor at Laurel Hill and Wingard Memorial Lutheran churches, I thought I was in good health and that I would never need special care or special prayer. Little did I realize what God had in store for me, nor the challenges I would have to face with my failing kidneys. I am grateful to you for including me on community-wide prayer lists, for the many kind thoughts and other loving acts for me and my family during my illness and surgery.

I am so blessed for your gracious gifts to the “kidney fund” and works of faith that made it possible for me to get a kidney transplant. In 1956, the first kidney transplant was achieved in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Many lives have been saved because of this wonderful modern day medical miracle.

Psalm 23:6 says, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever.” God has been gracious to me. I am forever in your debt; it was your goodness and mercy that extended my life and made future ministry possible. My beautiful daughter Rachel Fernandez donated the kidney that gave me life. Her love and sacrifice was a blessing and as her father I am so proud of her. Continue to pray for her as she recovers. She put her own needs on hold to save me, having just graduated with her master’s, at a time when she should be seeking a job.

I am grateful to my church families and other area clergy who have helped me keep my congregation taken care of during my absence. Thanks also to all who have filled the pulpits in my absence. To my LCMC sister congregations of Bethel, Bible and Holy Trinity Lutheran, I thank you too for your special support for my family and my churches. I am very grateful for the Methodist churches including Clyo, Silver Hill, Springfield and Guyton who came to my aid.

So many good people around the country have made life possible by donating an organ on someone’s behalf. They continue to be the unspoken heroes and their sacrifice is an act of grace that extends beyond all measure. I will be recovering for about six months. If you need prayer for someone who is going through a health challenge or if you would like to share a hero to you who has spared your life, I would be blessed if you contacted me. You may donate to the “kidney fund” or just send a note in care of  Laurel Hill Lutheran Church, P.O. Box 185, Clyo, GA 31303.

Psalm 119:63 says, “I am a companion of all those who love the Lord and observe His precepts.”

Sincerely yours,
Pastor Al Fernandez, daughter Rachel and wife Tammy

This was written by Susan Exley of Historic Effingham Society with a letter from Rev. Al Fernandez. If you have photos, comments or information to share, contact Susan Exley at 754-6681 or email her at: