Faith Affirmed as Beat Goes On

--It was an emotional meeting and, one might say, a heartening one. More than a year after he underwent transplant surgery, Michael Drummond traveled to Lindale, Tex., to meet the parents of the accident victim whose heart is now beating in his chest. Drummond, of Phoenix, was only 25 when he began suffering from cardiomyopathy, a progressive deterioration of the heart muscle. He made medical history when he became the youngest recipient of an artificial heart and the first to receive the Jarvik-7 heart as a "bridge to transplant." Nine days later, he received the heart of Tarro Griffin, 19, who was killed in a motorcycle accident. Today, he says, he feels great and has been back at his job as an assistant supermarket manager for eight months. For Griffin's parents, meeting Drummond was an affirmation of their religious faith. "This is something only God could do," said Willis Griffin. "He took the bitter part away and it all came out sweet. Knowing that Michael came into my home today--that assured me that God has really made things work." Quinctella Griffin said of Drummond: "I feel like he's my son."

--Minh Le was a police officer when he fled Saigon in 1975 to escape the Communist takeover. He and a son ended up in Austin, Tex., but he hasn't seen his wife and four other surviving children for 11 years. The students at Lanier High School, where he now works as a janitor, were moved by his plight and plan to raise $10,000 to bring Le's family to the United States. The students have enlisted the aid of Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Tex.) and also plan to write the Vietnamese government urging it to allow Le's family to leave. "To me, this is just like a miracle," said the 56-year-old Le. He said he gets letters from his family about twice a year, but he's not sure what he'd say if he and his wife are ever reunited. "I would be so moved, I would probably be speechless and I would cry."

--Father Lawrence Martin Jenco, who was held hostage in Lebanon for 19 months before being released in July, had yet another homecoming when he celebrated Mass at the church where he was pastor from 1979 to 1981. "I'm glad to be home," a teary-eyed Jenco told the 2,000 celebrants at Our Lady of Belen Catholic Church in Belen, N.M., who greeted him with masses of yellow ribbons. He asked them to pray for the release of the remaining American hostages. "We made a commitment to each other in captivity that if one were to be released before the others, we would work for the release of all," he said.

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