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North Carolina man who donates kidney saves own life in the process

Just when Pastor Tim Jones thought he was helping save someone's life, he ended up saving his own.

Squire Rushnell, author of "God Winks," stopped by the TODAY Show to share an incredible story about a God wink — or an everyday situation that turns into a life-changing event — linking Jones with a stranger.

TODAY

During a craft and bake sale at his church, Mercy Independent Baptist Church in Kannapolis, North Carolina, exactly a year ago from today, Jones sat at the "meet the pastor" table near the front door, where he was blasting his favorite song, "Sow Mercy" by the Gaither Vocal Band.

TODAY

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"A stranger named Don Herbert was drawn to my table," Jones told TODAY. "It turned out that 'Sow Mercy' was his favorite song too."

They bonded over their love for the song and gospel music in general and then said goodbye.

Two weeks later, Herbert got devastating news from his doctors at Duke University Hospital that he would need a kidney transplant.

TODAY

"After family and friends were unable to meet the rigorous donor requirements, and Don's wife, Belinda, pleaded for a donor on social media, something inside me said I needed to help, and I agreed to take a test," Jones said.

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Jones found out he was a perfect match, so they prepped for dual surgeries. Jones went first to remove his kidney and Herbert was planning to follow, but after seven hours, he, his wife and Jones' wife grew worried that something might be wrong.

They had discovered a deadly aneurysm in the renal artery hidden behind his kidney.

"The bulging vein was like a ticking time bomb," Jones said. "When it ruptures, there is near-certain death."

TODAY

Fortunately, doctors caught his aneurysm early enough to remove it and they were just as blown away by the God wink as he was.

"Tim, you saved Don's life today, but in the process, you saved your own!" Jones' doctors told him.

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