Whitney Cerak

We, the Cerak family, are elated beyond description at Whitney’s return home. It is so much more than we ever imagined three months ago.We would like to restate our plans of not speaking to the media. There is still much on the road to Whitney’s full recovery. We want to thank the media for the respect they have shown of our privacy in this time. And ask that the same courtesy given us would be extended to our family and friends.

Friday, July 21, 2006

July 21, 2006 " Therefore put on the full armor..."

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, TO STAND.” Ephesians 6:13

To stand is what we are called to do...to study and put on the protection of God which comes through His word so that when that day comes...not maybe comes... but when it does come you will be able to stand your ground. This has made so many of us stop and think about what we should do when Satan tries to shake us. We are called to stand...not to fade but to put our trust in God to the test. Evil was the cause of all that has happened and we are called not to shrink from it but to stand in the power of God. Let’s stand together and watch how God uses it for His good.

What an awesome day today has been! A couple of things...Whitney was late getting ready for today’s doctors appointments. She showered too long which made for hasty ride to make it on time. We made it to her Neuro Optomologist examination and great news!! Whitney has no damage to her eyes whatsoever (not that there were any worries in this area). This was simply a precaution and it was an absolutely positive result. Praise God!!

The second thing is we made it to her second appointment early. We even got in early!! It was amazing...but even more amazing is the report she received. After more x-rays her Orthopedic Surgeon walked in and said...her elbow looks fine and is healed...her collar bone is fully healed...her ribs are just fine....and oh yeah....her leg is now full weight bearing!! She can walk!!! After almost 3 months Whitney can take off the boot and walk! We were in tears when she stood up on both legs, took 3 steps forward and looked at us with a huge smile and said, “Lets take the stairs.” Praise God. We bow down and worship him. We thanked God again for his gift, we are truly humbled in His presence.

When we got into the van to head back to HOPE, I called Carly and struggled to get out the words to her. She said she had just been praying, asking God to heal her sister to be able to walk. Carly then put a call to Lisa and we left a message for Don VanRyn. Those necklaces they had made and wore on their necks were there till Whitney walked. We again thank God for such an awesome, God believing and God trusting family. You are forever engraved on our hearts. We thank you, from the depths of our hearts. We lift you in prayer to God.

We are so grateful fo God above and we continue to pray for His strength to fill all effected in this event.

In Christ alone, Walking Whitney’s dad


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praise the Lord...I am so happy for the accomplishments that Whit has made in just a few months. The Lord is Good...all the time!

8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praise the Lord! I am so happy and rejoicing with you all in this time of joy! God is good all the time and all the time God is good. I will continue to pray for continued healing.

8:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is such fantastic news! I've never met Whitney, but this is such uplifting news. I certainly hope to meet her sometime this year.

I'm keeping you all in my prayers.

9:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


9:13 PM  
Anonymous The Olson's said...

I think all those trash can basketball games were a big help in the healing process. I'm just sorry that you didn't need a Ref. I would have enjoyed blowing my whistle..lol. Your refrig pin-up will be home on leave from the Marines for December. He's looking forward to seeing his "other" family, and his little sister. Super job Whit!!! We're all very proud of you.

9:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praise God! What a humbling and wonderful journey it has been for Whitney and the family. Prayers are coming your way from New Jersey!

10:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SO AMAZING!!!! I AM SO GLAD TO HEAR WHIT IS ON BOTH FEET AGAIN!!! She is such an answer to prayers, God is so awesome!!! Can you maybe explain this necklace thing? I dont know if we were filled in on this earlier...


12:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I stand amazed at all of this from the accident through today. For the Vanryn's and all of the love they gave Whitney and how that must have added to her recovery...the Lord had a mighty plan of His own.

The world awaits the arrival of the healed Whitney...such a huge task for her...to shine so brightly in all she will do. I am happy to see you mentioned Laura's family...their heart break is still so fresh.

I thank the Lord for all He has done.

a mom in illinois

4:32 AM  
Anonymous a taylor mom said...


A Taylor Mom

4:48 AM  
Anonymous just one of God's children said...

Praise be to our God! He is in control and will be forever! I thank all of you for standing firm, through the trials...for standing firm through each day...no matter what the day has in store. You have been such an inspiration and I give God the praise for using you in this manner, and thank you for your obediance.

My son and another youth from our community is on the road today, going downstate. Neither are used to city driving. I used to be so worried about things like this, but I prayed for God's hands to be around them, and learned from you all that He is in control, and is taking care of our children, at all times...even when we can't.

We continue to praise God for all He has done in this situation. We thank God for the Chosen 5, for their lives and for their families. We pray for mending hearts...and continued servanthood to Him, inspite of the hard times.

We pray for continued healing and praise God for His amazing works...He is good...all the time!

God Bless you all.... we love you all!

4:59 AM  
Blogger Tasha said...

Tears of joy! Praise be to God! Words just can't be found right now, but the angels in Heaven are singing them for me!


5:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Cerak Family,

What wonderful news that Whitney is able to walk again and that all the other breaks have healed as well! Praise God! Thanks be to God for the faithfulness that both your family and the Ven Ryns have shown throughout this whole ordeal! You have all been true
examples of Christ's love and testimonies of obedient servants to those of us fellow TU families and believers and unbelievers who have kept up on these blogs. We are daily reminded of God's supreme power, love, and protection, and what Satan meant for eveil, God is using for good! Thanks you again for sharing with us through scriptures and updates. We truly appreciate your time and concern. We continue to pray for your family, the Van Ryns, Erbs, Felvers, Larsons, & Smiths, Vickie, Connie, Michelle, and the truck driver.

In Christ's Love,
Cindy Kruse Helmholz, a TU mom

5:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praise the Lord ! !

5:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just cant thank god enough to have whitney back. She is doing great and i Can't wait to see her smiling face. God is an awsome god and i also pray for the other families that have lost there loved ones.

5:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get better soon whit so you can come home! I keep you in my prayers everyday! MISS YOU!

5:45 AM  
Blogger naples said...

Get well Soon whit! I keep you in my Prayers everyday.

5:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome news. Just think this is a bigger step in your returning home to Gaylord. You have come such a long way in what seems like a long time. We are all seeing another miracle taking place. For you to be able to bear weight is one more step to total independence and going home. We serve an awesome God. Hope to see you at Taylor soon. The community of Upland is still praying for you and all of those whose lives have been altered because of that night. God Bless you and your family.
In Christ great love...............

6:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What wonderful news for you, dear Ceraks! The whole country is praying for you, Whitney, and rejoicing that you are overcoming so many obstacles and getting well.

I keep you in my prayers daily, as well as all the families of those loved ones who didn't survive.

VanRyn's your faith and love are awesome!

6:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praise God! I can't wait to hear that she's back at home with Hunter. Your family is such an inspiration and I thank you for sharing so personally with us, people you don't know. I've been reading ever since it was thought she was Laura and I've never posted. Like many others, I'm here daily checking on my sister in Christ. I love hearing from Mom. I have four children and can't imainge all the emotions you must have and have had over the last months.

Praise God for Whitney's recovery. We'll be watching for the day she walks across and accepts her diploma from TU!

Thank you for being such a great example and allowing us to see Jesus through your family. I continue to lift you all up in my prayers!

Mom in Florida

6:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great us thy faithfulness - Oh God my Father, there is no shadow of turning from Thee. Thou changest not thy compassions they fail not. As Thou hast been Thou forever will be.
You are being prayed for and rejoiced with. Thank you for sharing - it is so uplifting.

6:43 AM  
Blogger candle-lady said...

I'm doing a "happy dance" for you! It's where you wildly throw your arms around like Kermit the frog and jump up and down. Maybe Whitney can do that soon too. :-)
God bless.

7:01 AM  
Anonymous Judy Moser said...

Dear Ceraks,
I am praising our almighty, gracious and wonderful Lord God as I just read this daily update following Whitney's report from the orthopedic surgeon. Our story is linked with yours just a bit: Melissa Munn (now Mrs. Brad Moser), our new daughter-in-law of 2 weeks, is written about in the very same article (and also her story told in a separate article) in the Taylor alumni magazine just published, which recounts the Taylor van accident and the Whitney/Laura identity switch. Just 2 days before their van accident, Melissa was in an extreme life-and-death situation due to a huge blood clot blocking arteries, and the Taylor community held an all-night prayer vigil for her. Before she was even "out of the woods", Whitney's accident occurred. We sat in the hospital that night, hearing the helicopters coming and going, and prayed. We have been praying for ALL of you (all the families) so much ever since then.
Today when I read about Whitney's reports from the doctors, the tears finally broke free and I cried tears of thankfulness and joy, with great praise to our God of great lovingkindness. What a wonderful, wonderful report!! Thank you, Lord!
Melissa has been the recipient of an absolutely amazing healing and recovery, as well, to the amazement of every medical person who has been involved with her situation, and we too give all praise and glory to God! The gracious hand of the Lord our God was upon us. As we wrote to praying family and friends by e-mail during those watchful hours in the hospital, when we did not know whether the answer to our prayers would be that God would heal and restore, or whether we would have to give her up: "We are trusting that Melissa's days (and ours) are all in His hands. We have witnessed His kindness and faithfulness for so many years, we cannot doubt it, even when the clouds grow very dark. Even in the valley of the shadow of death. He is ever-faithful." AND I SAY AMEN, Newell and Colleen, that it was because of taking in His Word consistently over the years that His strength and peace were deeply felt in those hours. Thank you for your encouragement to all in this regard. Blessed be the name of the Lord! Judy Moser

7:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes words are just so inadequate to express our hearts (or gray matter!) I write with tears of both joy for Whitney and you guys and sorrow for the the others. He gives and takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord. Your extended family of cousins in PA.

7:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praise the Lord!!

7:29 AM  
Blogger Monica's Daughter, Kelly said...

Hello Ceraks
What wonderful news. Praises be to God!!!! God is Good. I continue to share smiles and tears with you all while reading Whit's progress. You are all part of my family just as are the Larsons, Smiths, Erbs and the VanRyns. I love you all and pray daily for everyone's healing and growing. Many hugs to all of you. Keep up the good work Whit. In Christ's amazing love, Kelly

8:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the song "VICTORY IN JESUS":
"I heard an old, old story, how a Saviour came from glory, how he made the 'lame to walk again' and caused the blind to see! And then I cried "Dear Jesus, Come and heal my broken spirit, and somehow Jesus came and brought to me the victory!"
This song popped into my head after Friday's blog entry from Whit's dad. There is something to be said about those old hymns, and this one sure pertains to you, Whitney! I am so happy for you! You rock!

9:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Ceraks, As I sit here in a hotel in Fort Wayne I have not been able to get you, Whitney, the VanRyns and all the other families involved out of my mind. We are here for our sons basketball tournament and I keep thinking of all that has transpired for all of you since late April. I keep thinking of Whitney being flown to the hospital here in Fort Wayne and how the VanRyns spent so much time here caring for her. Iam so grateful, but not suprised, by God's faithfulness to each of you. I have been away from home alot over the last couple of weeks but continue to check your blog each day..... your are never far from my thoughts and prayers, Kate Hewitt

9:17 AM  
Blogger Girl in Love said...

I have tears of such joy!! We have such an AWESOME GOD!!! I am so happy for your family!!

10:34 AM  
Blogger Carrie said...

Yay! Happy cubicle dance (at work!) and many happy tears for you Whitney! I'm so proud of you! I'm so proud of Carly for the prayer warrior that she has become, and Newell and Colleen, I'm so proud of you for letting the world have this window into your journey. You are encouraging so many, and leading so many into greater depths of faith. Love much!

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Before long she will be hopping in the car and driving!

11:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yay Whitney you can walk!!!!! I am so happy for you and so proud of your hard work. Hallelujah praise the Lord!! He is GOOD!

12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What tragedy has come to 2 wonderful Christian Universites that are just minutes from each other. Taylor has lost these 4 precious students and a staff member and IWU has now lost their 2nd student in a month. Please pray for the family of Sara Schenk McCue. She was to be a Senior this fall (nursing major). She has been married almost 1 year to Luke. She was involved in a canoe accident on the Mohican River this week. Please pray for her husband and all the families as they buried her today.
May God keep us faithful, as we never know when our time will come.

1:04 PM  
Blogger Goel said...

Joshua Rupp told me your story while we were in Gaylord at a music festival, and I am so happy to hear that Whitney has recovered :). Your story ranks as the most amazing true story I have ever heard, and it is amazing how God has used it. Thank you for remembering the Van Ryn's as well, for their total trust and faith in your family and God was a miracle in and of itself.

Whitney and company, don't stop telling your story. You have an incredible opportunity for the witness of Jesus Christ.

God bless!

~Zac James

1:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I stand by the lilac tree in our backyard & rejoice quietly. I see a Glow surrounding a certain structure that has been lacking since the lilac's early spring bloom. What Joy....What Heavenly Glow has been retored. I rejoice quietly.

1:43 PM  
Anonymous Dick and Jane said...

Oh my, I'm just weeping with joy for Whit, and thanking God with you for the VanRyn's. Whit,and family,just keep looking to Jesus, we have no idea all that He is going to do in all this, but we KNOW He is and will continue to!

3:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What wonderful news! A global "online community" celebrates with you! How special that the VanRyn's continued to support Whit's healing in their own way. May people from around the world continue to watch this story and be amazed by God's grace and glory.

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Autumn T. said...

PRAISE GOD!!!!! I am so excited for Whitney! Still hard to believe that she has progressed so much since just a few short months ago (I'm sure they've seemed long to you). WOW! That is for sure only something God Himself could do for His daughter. I have had Whitney in my prayer box since I heard of the accident from Alysha that sad night. I know God isn't done yet, and I will definitely keep praying, but it's just an amazing answer to prayer. Who can fathom the love that God has for us?? God bless you, Ceraks. I'm cheering for you in Coldwater! :-) We love you!

5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read the scripture twice today that you shared. The scripture had such power but then as I read on not yet knowing that I was also going to read even more wonderful news. Your good news today is like the Good News in the word. Thank you for sharing the miracles of how God is still working today as he did in Bible times. Miracles happen today because HE LIVES!

Continue everyone to pray for the heartaches that people everywhere are still bearing. Whether it be the families of the Chosen Five, a family that has lost a loved one to a canoe accident, or simply someone having a difficult time, please pray for others. Pray for the lost that do not share the joy of knowing Him. Let's see more miracles happen in our world through Him.
Thank you for your blog!

5:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WE LOVE YOU IN NEW YORK, keep up the good work.


6:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Jehovah Jireh, My Provider,
His strength is sufficient for me...
My God shall supply all your needs
according to His riches in glory.
He shall give His angels charge over thee.
Jehovah Jireh cares for me (for me, for me)
Jehovah Jireh cares for me!"

From a song we used to sing at the Upland EMC youth group. This song went through my head immediately when I read today's entry.

Did you take the stairs, Whitney? I'm so very glad you have made it to this goal! Your parents know me, and I bet you know a few of my cousins that are currently at Taylor.

Tracey (Jorg) Rollison

6:17 PM  
Anonymous Jessica from IL said...

joy joy joy joy!!!!!! Still rejoicing with those of who are rejoicing and mourning with those who are mourning. Thanks for the awesome update. Keep pressing on!!!!!!!!!!

7:46 PM  
Anonymous emily said...

Hi, I haven't posted in a while because of being away, but have still definitely been thinking of you! Today's entry especially brought tears to my eyes because I have Cerebral Palsy and use a power chair for the majority of my mobility, but know what its like to finally be triumphant after months of therapy to walk for a short distance. Such an incredible feeling! Congratulations!

May the Lord continue to provide strength and answer your prayers!

Emily from Ohio

8:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praise the Lord...Wow has god answerd so many prayers! You are an angel sent from heven. So glad you are doing better and cant wait to see you back home!

6:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praise the Lord, Each day of praise like this will bring her home soon. What amazing things God can do. Way to go Whit.

7:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pastor Newell,

Thanks so much for the updates, brother! Whitney is an inspiration to us all!


9:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank the Lord above! It is amazing to hear how well Whitney is doing, she truly is a mirical! I have never met her, I live in Pennsylvania, but I am truly inspired by Whitney, Matt, and your family's strength and hope at this time. I will continue to keep you all in my thoughts and prayers.

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My eyes are filled with tears of joy and happiness as I sit at my computer and read of Whitney's amazing accomplishment! I can't imagine the joy y'all must have felt watching Whitney take those first steps. :) God is absolutely amazing!! Thank you for continually sharing God's amazing work with us. Ceraks and VanRyn's you continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. Whitney you are an inspiration. :)
- Frisco, TX

7:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an Asbury College alum I know the incredible power of a praying Christian college community, and have been following your progress since learning of the accident. I rejoice with you all today, as you reach another milestone in Whitney's recovery. The victory is already won! I continue to pray for you to return to Taylor, as well as for the other families dealing with slow recoveries or loss. God bless~
Lexington, KY

8:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hallelujah!!Once again you have brought me to tears reading your reports of each day of Whitney's recovery. I am so happy for Whitney and for you,her family, on such a huge accomplishment for her. I am thankful God has given her such a strong and determined spirit. I know that her toughness has aided her tremendously in her recovery, and will continue to aid her in complete healing. Thank you for sharing such special news with all of us.

-Heather Bush

8:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whitney can walk! Praise God! Praise God! It's so amazing! And you know what...the passage you chose for this day means something extra special to those of us who were in Intro to Christian Ed. with Whit last spring because We did a full, on-our-own inductive Bible study on the armor passage. It's wonderful how God points specific truths out to us over and over again until we get it. I love Him for that!

8:49 PM  

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