Watchwoman: I am sure you recall this national story from 6 years ago. The family of Whitney Cerak was incorrectly told she had died on April 26, 2006, in a van crash; while the Van Ryn family was erroneously informed their daughter, Laura, was alive in a coma. Whitney has since married, and like the headline says, in the very same church where her family once held her funeral. Now, let us all remember to pray for Whitney Cerak’s husband, Matt Wheeler, who will be leaving soon for Afghanistan. Let us remember all the troops, especially those that are deployed in foreign lands and in hostile war zones in the middle east. Let us pray too for the family of Laura Van Ryn for their minds and bodies to be constantly comforted by the Holy Spirit after all they have been through, first thinking it was their daughter who was alive and then finding out it was not. Let us pray, since we know and firmly believe, God, that You have Your Own Plans for each and everyone of us on planet earth. We do not understand Your Ways, but Lord God, help us always to accept and even to embrace Your Will, even when it seems so contrary to our own. Let us be anxious for nothing, but in all things give thanks, knowing that You Love us, because the Holy Scriptures says, “God is Love.” Therefore, we believe. Protect Matt Wheeler and comfort Mrs. Whitney Cerak Wheeler from all anxiety while her husband is away. Be with the Wheeler child and You be her Father while her earthly Daddy is off doing his selfless duty to protect others in Afghanistan from the evil forces tramping throughout the middle east. Lord, we ask for a Holy Spirit awakening in the middle east to convert the infidels to Christianity and become peace loving peacemakers. We pray all this in the Name and Power of Jesus Christ, the Overcomer of All Things! We thank You Lord God for the friendship that still remains between these two families of the Ceraks and Ryn’s. We praise You for all the generosity You have put into their hearts to not be jealous or envious of the Cerak family for being the fortunate one to have their daughter alive. We know all things work together for good who are called according to Your Purpose. Let us always believe in the Truth of Your Goodness. In Jesus Name. Amen. ▬ Donna Calvin
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Whitney Cerak lives a pretty normal life nowadays. Which seems just fine with her.
Six years after being mistaken for dead, Cerak is now a wife and mother. In fact, she married her soldier boyfriend, Matt Wheeler, in the same church where her family had held her funeral.
When Matt Lauer of “Today” asked her to reflect for a piece about her life, Cerak said. “I don’t know where to start.”
Things have changed since that dramatic day in 2006. Cerak was among a group of Taylor University students in a van that collided with a truck in Indiana. Five people were killed. Cerak, heavily bandaged and unresponsive, was misidentified as classmate Laura Van Ryn, who had a similar appearance and died in the crash.
For five weeks, Van Ryn’s parents sat by the hospital bed of the young lady they assumed was their daughter. Cerak’s family held a funeral for Whitney that was attended by more than 1,000 people.
The truth came a terrible shock for the Van Ryns.
“Well, it was hard. but we knew where our daughter was…and we knew that (Whitney’s parents) needed to know where their daughter was,” Laura’s mother, Susie Van Ryn, told “Today.”
The Ceraks and and Van Ryns remain friends. “I love the Van Ryn family. They’re so great,” Whitney said in the piece.
Now Whitney and Matt have started a family of their own, recently welcoming their first child, a son, Zachary Thomas, into the world, according to the Daily Mail.
The next hurdle for Whitney is dealing with the upcoming departure of Matt, who is being deployed to Afghanistan by the Army.
“This will be like a whole different level of hard,” she said in the “Today” story.
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Excerpt from Last Entry of Whitney Cerak’s Blog Spot
“I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints. I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement…” Philemon 1:4-7 NIV
As we write this final entry, we do so with heartfelt gratitude to all of you who have kept up with us and sent words of encouragement and comfort. We have been overwhelmed by the care and concern you have shown to Whitney and to our family. Your prayers have been so appreciated and we know they have been a part of Whitney’s miraculous recovery.
Read More from Whitney Cerak’s Blob Spot
Original News Items:
- ^ “Case of mistaken identity stuns families”. USA Today – Theodore Kim. 2006-06-01. Retrieved 2008-03-20.
- ^ “Mistaken identity has family keeping vigil over wrong woman”. CBC News. 2006-06-01. Retrieved 2008-03-29.
- ^ “Coma woman mix-up pains US family”. BBC News. 2006-06-01. Retrieved 2008-03-29.
- ^ “Summer Study Committee Presents Ideas for Laws”. Indiana House Republicans. Retrieved 2008-03-29.
- ^ “State Representative tries to prevent future identity mix-ups”. WZZM13 NEWS. Retrieved 2008-03-29.
- ^ “In Loving Memory”. Taylor University. Retrieved 2008-03-29.
- ^ “Whitney Cerak, crash survivor in ID mix-up, writes book”. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2008-03-29.
Posted by Donna Calvin — Thursday, May 24, 2012
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