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.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

August 30,2006

“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.

We continually lift up to God Almighty the families of Laurel Erb, Betsy Smith, Brad Larson, Monica Felver and Laura VanRyn. We pray for God’s comfort and strength as you deal with the heartache of your losses. To Vicki, Connie and Michelle we pray for your continued recovery. May God grant you His peace as well.

Whitney has had quite a busy schedule over the past few days. On Thursday she met with her new therapists in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. They are as high a caliber as those she has had before. We have been very thankful for the skilled and competent people that have been a part of Whit’s recovery road. God, in His faithfulness, continues to go ahead of us. We have learned over time of His constancy, but it has definitely been engraved on our hearts and in our minds throughout this journey with Whitney. Whitney will be using her course books in her speech therapy which will be an enormous help in her actual class work. The physical therapist, a London native, will be working with her to develop strength in her hip muscles so that limp will disappear, as will the pain in her lower back caused by the limp. The occupational therapy will be a big help to her as she keeps her focus on getting her drivers licence reinstated. We never stop being thankful for the able people God has put in Whitney’s journey to full recovery.

Then it was back to Grand Rapids that same day. We stayed the night with our very good friends in Rockford. Then Friday Whitney met with Dr. Vandenberg who has been the doctor that has overseen her entire therapies. He is very pleased wit her progress adding that with continued therapy she will progress just fine. Dr. Ringler, who performed the surgery on her ankle, met with Whitney next. He took x-rays that showed how well her bones are healing. We are in awe of the miracle of Whitney’s healing, both physically and mentally. Finally, we were off to Upland, Indiana and Taylor University.

On Saturday morning, Whitney, Carly, Colleen and I met with a few Taylor administrators. They have been very concerned with Whitney’s recovery as well as her return to college. They have been gracious and accommodating making Whit feel very welcomed. Then the final move onto campus and into her room. Whitney was so excited and anxious as we all were. After connecting with her roommate, Emily, all of her things were moved in and she took charge of getting it all put away. It was fun to see her interact with all who came by to greet her. She was gracious and sweet like the Whitney we know. She spent Friday night with Carly and the girls of ‘the Abby’ just off campus. It was a great night for her, tasting the independence she has cherished. Saturday night was spent in her room with Emily and it has already done her a world of good. We met Carly and Whitney for breakfast on Sunday morning and Whit had a radiant smile, a new perkiness about her and we enjoyed the laughter and treasured the moment with them. When Colleen and I left we were satisfied she was where she belonged. Whitney said something interesting on the trip to T.U. She called T.U. home and asked if it bothered us she thought of it that way. As we drove away we were thankful she did.

We will always be thankful for all of you who have prayed to the living God on our behalf. We believe still that God has been more than evident through it all. His presence has been all that we have needed and ever needed. His power and wisdom to work in the midst of this entire past four months is beyond our understanding. We praise His name for the good that has come as a result. God has been gracious to give strength and comfort, He alone deserves our worship and adoration. Even in the time of distress, heartache, uncertainty and tragedy, He remains constant and faithful. We have been to both ends of the emotional spectrum and through it all He has been there. Even in the aftermath He lovingly holds all effected by the accident. I look forward to the day when we join our voices together and sing... ‘I stand, I stand in awe of You; I stand, I stand in awe of You; Father God to whom all praise is due, I stand in awe of You.’

“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” 2Thessalonians 2:16 NIV

In Christ alone,

Whitney’s Family

Saturday, August 19, 2006

August 18, 2006

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that his all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." 2 Corinthians 4:7

It is hard to believe that we have been home for over a week. The time has flown as Whitney feels she needs to fit her summer into two weeks.(she is doing pretty good)

A highlight for all of us was last Sunday, our first Sunday together in our home church since Easter. It was a celebration. We were all nervous and excited to share with our church family how God had met each one of our needs and how He loved us this summer. The church stood and clapped as Whitney and the family walked up to the front. We each took a moment to share God’s faithfulness. To God, who is the master physician, healer and our provider, we give him all the glory for all He has done and continues to do. It just happened to be our churches annual picnic so we had a great afternoon reconnecting and Whitney definitely got her quota of hugs and kisses.

It has been great to be home, sleep in our own beds, sit around our table for home cooked meals and laugh. Hunter(our dog) and Taylor(our cat)are so glad we are home. I do need to tell you one funny and embarrassing story. We let Hunter out Friday afternoon and he usually stays in the yard. Later on I went to the door and whistled and he didn’t come. I made dinner and still no Hunter. After dinner we went for a ride around the neighbor hood calling for him. We drove to the Animal Shelter and peeked in the window and there he was barking at us! It was after hours so he had to spend the night. Whitney got up early Saturday morning to go spring Hunter, on the way she said she wished Hunter could talk and tell us of his adventure. Our neighbors took great care of him all summer and our first night home, he gets picked up. ( he went across the street to the park with out his licence)

Whitney has enjoyed every minute with her friends. It was perfect timing as many of them are starting to head back to college. She loved being able to go to La Senoritas for “Wing Night” a special tradition for her and her friends. The weather has been great and she has had a few visits to the lake and some evening bon fires. She has been getting an hour a day of physical therapy to continue gaining back some muscles and endurance. Again we have been blessed by another great therapist.

Carly enjoyed this past week being home, relaxing and visiting with friends. She left today to head back to Taylor for her senior year. She is excited and went back a few days early to be with friends and get her house ready. She is going to have a great year living with five amazing girls.

Sandra had some great news as she found out she had been accepted to represent the “Invisable Children” on a world tour this year (Sept-May). The Invisable Children is an organization that Sandra had heard about this spring and really tugged at her heart. She came home at Easter and showed us a video explaining their mission. Carly and Whitney also got interested and were going to participate in their “Global Commute” on April 29th (Whitney’s birthday). We had chosen Invisable Children as the memorial for Whitney. Sandra is putting her passion into action as she will give a year to work for them. I love her heart and willingness to give of herself and serve God by helping others.

Newell is back to work, saying goodbye to the college students and preparing for the fall. I have been enjoying putzing around the house and yard, catching up with friends and neighbors. We were all kind of worried about coming home, not sure how the media would handle this next step in Whitney’s recovery, but it has been great and we are so appreciative on how respectful everyone has been. The Gaylord community has been so loving and gracious with us throughout.

As our lives return to normal we continue to pray for those families who are continuing to adjust to the changes. We continue to seek God and listen to what he wants us to learn from all this. Even though we long to be back to normal we don’t want to be like the Isrealites who saw God in action (Red Sea parted, manna every morning, water from a rock . . . ) and soon after each miracle they forgot and fell back into their old routines. We want to keep our dependance and desire for God as we have felt Him is such a real way and seen His love in action. This Psalm became a favorite when we thought Whitney was gone and it is still our prayer:
“O God you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live.” Psalms 63: 1-4

With love,
Whitney’s mom

Saturday, August 12, 2006

August 11, 2006 "Never will I leave you..."

“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” ...Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:5-6; and verse 8 NIV

Hi, everyone reading the blog, this is Whitney!! It feels good to finally be the person who updates you about...me! These past 3 months have been life changing for so many and everyone has had a different experience, including me.

I can clearly remember the past 18 years of my life, even up to the banquet before the accident. The next thing I can remember after that is seeing Carly, Sandra and Mom and crying a lot. I know there is a 5 week period that I do not recall. Hearing about it is weird for me because everyone else has memories about me that I do not. Some people came to visit me at the hospital, and a few of those were the VanRyns. I know they were with me constantly during the first five weeks, but their visit was all I can remember. They are very nice people and it was funny to hear how I acted when I first came out of my coma. When I found out that five other people were killed in the accident I was really sad. I can vaguely remember part of the ride back to Taylor. We were all laughing and having a good time. I feel so badly for the other families. I don’t know why this all happened, but the only good thing about all of this is that the message of God was heard in a powerful way. I know my experience is different from everyone else’s but God has taught me He is FAITHFUL because He is with us every step of the way, even in the hardest times of our lives. And it is clear that He has been with me the last few months. My recovery has been hard work, but I thank God for healing me in every way.

It is strange to find out my family and friends had a funeral for me, but they told me God was faithful even during that time. It is so hard to believe that this story is all over the news and so many people know about me. Even though I don’t know many of you who are reading what I am writing about my life, I am so thankful to have had your prayers.

I am just so excited that I am home and going back to Taylor in a few weeks! I can’t wait to live my normal life again. So consider this the one and only blog entry from me, concluding this season of my life.


From the Family: It’s been a privilege for us to share with you this miracle God put into our life’s journey. We know for sure that only with God holding and guiding us could we have made it thus far. We all have been praying for what God wants us to do and learn from this experience. We want to get back into our ‘normal’ routine of life, but we also know that God has allowed this to happen for a reason. We plan to blog two more times; updating our experiences of our return to home and the last to be Whitney’s return and settling back into life at Taylor.
We pray for the families who continue to remain strong under the heartache and strain of their losses. Please keep the VanRyns, the Larsons, the Smiths, the Erbs, the Felvers, Connie, Vicki and Michelle covered in prayer.

Thanks for sharing this journey with us.

With love,
In Christ alone, The Ceraks

Friday, August 11, 2006

Aurgust 10,2006

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."
1 Corinthians 10:31

Today, Thursday was a great day. Each patient at Hope has a "Family Day". It is a day to go to the therapies with your family member and talk with the therapists and try the activities and have a real feel for what every day life is like. The only disappointment was that Newell was not able to join us. In each therapy the therapist explained what they were doing and we watched Whitney in action. It was so encouraging to hear the progress and to also see the progress as some showed us where she started when she came to Hope. After lunch, friends and family had a special time where therapists, workers and other patients had a chance to say something encouraging to Whitney. It was almost more than my heart could hold as I listened to the positive words and love being given. We were able to celebrate Whitney's accomplishments and encourage her efforts for the goals still to be reached. Hope is an appropriate name for the rehab center as it has given Whitney the hope of returning back to school, home and her "normal self". We were so pleased with her hard work and accomplishemnts and thankful to all who have prayed, loved and encouraged her.

Made me think of God having "Family Day" with us. He wanted to experience everything first hand so he sent his son Jesus down to the earth. He experienced everything we experience, love, pain, hurt, disapointments, friendships, family life, work and everything that comes with a physical human body. God watched as "Jesus grew in wisdom and stature"(Luke 2:52) and He said two times outloud for all the hear "This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17 and Matthew 17:5)

I am so thankful to serve a God that loves me so much that he came down to live life on earth to show me how by example and left me a guide book when I have questions. He gave me so many promises that I know He keeps true. I not only believe in God but I believe God. He promises not to give us more than we can handle (1 Corinthians 10:13), he promises never to leave us or forsake us(Hebrews 13:5) and he promises everlasting life to those who put their trust in Him (John 3:16). These promises and many more helped me and can help those still working through the grieving and loss. Not everyone has the happy ending like Whitney but we all have a happy ending with God in heaven.

" For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

With love,
Whitney's mom

Thursday, August 10, 2006

August 9, 2006

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not comsumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23

The alarm went off at 5:15 AM! We had to be at the hospital at 6AM. I slept in the room with Whitney (Carly spent the night at Spring Lake). Whitney had some wires and screws in her elbow that were close to the surface and causing some discomfort. We were lucky to get the same doctor that put the rod in her leg, remove the screws. Whitney was nervous but excited to get it done. The surgery went great and we were back at Hope by 2:30 PM. Can you believe Whitney even went to a few therapies when she returned. Whitney rested then we had a special birthday dinner celebration for Laisa (Sandras sister). Carly was also celebrated completing her internship (which she loved). The evening was filled with laughter and great conversation and I was proud to be in the great company of Carly, Whitney, Sandra and Laisa. There is something very special about sisters.

"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you." John 15:12

"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity." 1 Timothy 4:12

With love,
Whitney's mom

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

August 8, 2006

"You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." Psalms 16:11

Whitney had a good day but felt a little tired. She used alot of energy in physical therapy walking backwards, walking fast and even tried jogging(she told me I can beat her now, but watch out). She worked on organizing skills in speech therapy. We know she is going to need that with all that comes in college life. During occupational therapy she used fresh blueberries and made oatmeal blueberry cookies. No joke, they were delicious. I never knew you could make blueberry cookies. I think I'm loving occupational therapy and hope they continue it for a long time!

Early evening we got inspired and tried to do our own school shopping. Sandra(expert shopper) was there to help but some things dont change. We were in the first store and Whitney said she was tired of shopping(I think she is going to use this excuse forever). We lasted about an hour and found a few cute things.

We went to bed early as Whitney needs to be at the hospital at 6AM to remove some screws in her elbow. They are close to the skin and causing a little discomfort. I'm sure all will be fine and we are thankful that we could get it taken care of.

"Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge. I said to the Lord, You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing." Psalms 16:1

With love,
Whitney's mom

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

August 7, 2006

"Let the peace of Chirst rule in your heart." Colossians 3:15

Peace - how can you have peace in the middle of a busy schedule, change, planning for the unknown future? Only one way, to allow the Prince of Peace to govern your life. I can't describe the peace I felt as I sat and listed how God has been with us (really two steps ahead of us) this summer. Not the best planner could of organized and ordered how everything has played out for everyone of our family. The list filled my page. Another piece of the puzzle just that filled in was signing Whitney up for classes. We had chosen 3 classes (6 hours total) and they were all available, perfect time of the day (not 8AM) and perfect for working with Whitneys rehab schedule. The classes are all ones Whitney is excited to take. Carly is also excited because they had planned to take a golf class together this fall and that class fits perfectly into Whitneys schedule. Let's hope all those years working on the golf course will pay off. I dont know how great their game will be but I do know they will have a great time.

Whitney's days in rehab are now focusing on the goal of preparing her for back to school. Work is easier when you have a goal to work toward and this one is getting so close it is exciting.

Whitney's day had a fun twist when some Gaylord friends came to Grand Rapids to school shop (no mall in Gaylord) It was fun to visit with them. She ended the evening going to a movie then back to her roommates house for warm homemade cookies.

We thank God as he continues to fit each piece of our puzzle in place. "May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at ALL times and in EVERY way. The Lord be with all of you." 2 Thessalonians 3:16

With love,
Whitney's mom

Monday, August 07, 2006

Saturday August 5th and Sunday August 6th, 2006

“And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul...” Deuteronomy 10:12 NIV

“‘And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion, and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you...”
I Chronicles 28:9 NIV

This weekend was great. My parents and I were talking about playing tennis Saturday morning, and we were all really surprised when Whitney said she wanted to come. When we got to the courts she stood in one spot and tried to hit the balls only if they came straight to her. It was great to watch her laugh and try to work on her tennis skills. We decided that it was a good thing that she wasn't a pro at tennis before the accident so she has a good excuse. I guess it's a good thing that none of us were really great at tennis before the accident; maybe we all should use it as an excuse...

The rest of the day was a sister day. Whitney, Sandra, and I went to the beach and then saw the Coast Guard Fireworks. Whit walked the longest distance she has since she had started walking again and she was fine.

Sunday after church we had lunch at a friend's home and had a typical Sunday afternoon. We relaxed all afternoon and finished the day by playing cards and laughing.

She is almost back to fully being herself physically and mentally. I still cannot believe that just 2 months ago things were so different. It has been amazing to see God work out our faith and now to see something we once thought impossible; Whitney going back to Taylor for her sophomore year.


Saturday, August 05, 2006

August 4, 2006

“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the Lord and apart from me there is no savior.” Isaiah 43:10-11 NIV

Whitney’s day today was such a good one and I am sure it is due to the fact she is still riding the wave. The wave of extreme happiness knowing she is returning to school in the fall. Her attitude has always been a good one but there was a definite surge of energy, joy and focus running through her as a result. She had a smile as big as all outdoors throughout the entire day. We are so unbelievably excited for her. We are so amazed at how God has healed and continues to heal Whitney.

Carly and Sandra are both back with us. It has been a somewhat up and down time for us all this summer and we cherish the moments we are together. Carly is almost through with her internship. The people at Spring Lake Wesleyan Church have been so good to her. She has learned a great deal about herself and God’s direction in her life. We will be forever grateful to the folks there for their part in our summer. Sandra finished her final week at Spring Hill Camps. God used her willing spirit to minister to so many kids for which we are thankful. She is excited and praying about a possible ministry situation for herself in the near future. She has learned some great life lessons this summer as well.

In light of all God has blessed us with, each day as we marvel and look at Whitney we are quickly reminded of those whose days are accompanied with loss. Our thoughts and prayers continually go out to the others so deeply effected by the accident; the families of Brad Larson, Betsy Smith, Laurel Erb, Laura VanRyn and Monica Felver. We also pray for the healing and recovery of Vicki, Connie and Michelle. To say we understand your heartache is true but for only a moment in time. Your heartache continues and you are in our prayers. We pray for God to continually uphold you; for His Holy Spirit to comfort you; and we pray that the peace only God can give fills you. We rejoice in the knowledge of God’s promise of the coming reunion and ask for His strength to remain focused to the goal.

“Since then, we have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:1-2 NIV

Let us then set our hope in Christ Jesus the Lord. Without Him there is no hope. Our prayer is that you know this savior of ours.

In Christ alone, Whitney’s family

Friday, August 04, 2006

August 3, 2006

“Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.” Psalm 29:2

“Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together. “ Psalm 34:3

“Be exalted oh God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.” Psalm 57:5

Thursday – Whitney’s day today was an awesome day. After going through her regular schedule in the morning, we had a meeting with her entire team of therapists and neuro psychologist. It is so hard to believe only a little over 3 months have passed since the accident. The time seems to have gone by slowly. We were reminded at the meeting that Whitney’s journey from being diagnosed with a severe brain injury and several broken bones to where she is today is in no way a small miracle. It is a great miracle!! God has been good. The progress in this period of time has been so much more than was expected. Her recreational, speech, physical and occupational therapists all gave glowing reports of Whit’s progress. All were obviously very pleased at how much she improved in the 3 weeks since her last team meeting. Her neuro psychologist was truly impressed saying her recovery to this point has been remarkable at the least. There is still a ways to go but there has been awesome improvement.

The things that are still in need of her concentrated efforts are her neuro endurance and the speed of her processing information. There have been improvements in these areas for which we are thankful. We continue to pray for complete healing for Whitney.

This was all awesome news…much better than we expected. Our thoughts before had been guarded optimism that Whitney might attend Taylor in the fall. We knew without a doubt that she would be there in January. But that guarded optimism turned into more with the report. We were given the pros and cons for both situations of school. Either decision would benefit her but we felt that Taylor would be the place where she would improve the most. Whitney’s face lit up brightly as it became apparent what the decision was. She just said that this was the best day of her life and kept on smiling. We are so happy and excited for her. She will do fine at TU, taking a lighter load of classes and continuing her therapies. The setting of college will also enhance her progress being around her friends and Taylor community.

That this has happened in the timely fashion it has is all due to God’s hands. We are trusting Him, eager for Him to guide our decisions and steps. We do not want to run ahead of God, Whitney is in His care. But we are excited beyond description.

“O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things…” Isaiah 25:1

In Christ alone, Whitney’s family

Thursday, August 03, 2006

August 2, 2006

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:37-39 NIV

Wednesday – it was more of a normal day for Whitney which is really a good thing. The progress she makes has become more of the week to week improvement. Oh, she gets stronger, her endurance lasts longer, she is good at multi-tasking in most things, she walks with less of a limp. The changes are more subtle now but so welcomed to see.

Whitney went with us at lunch time to visit some very dear and special friends. She walked into Spectrum Continuing Care Center, where she spent about 5 weeks of her recovery time. Each person was amazed to se her standing up so tall and so happy for her progress. She carried on very pleasant conversation with them; it was so great to witness. Whitney was so excited to see them and her dimpled smile proved that. It made us thankful for those in this profession, so thankful for the folks at Spectrum and Hope. It made us remember the road Whitney has traveled so quickly. It is people like these that have made it a possibility. We know it is their job, but they all do it so well and with such love and caring. We will be forever thankful to you all. This was definitely the highlight of the day for Whitney.

We continue to be humbled as we read and hear of people praying for Whitney. We know God is working in her body and in her brain. And He uses this situation still to touch so many. He is using this to teach us. We thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. God has given us strength and comfort through the prayers of fellow Christians.
Today as we pray for one another, we want to lift up those who do not know our Lord Jesus Christ. We pray they would know the comfort, strength, and deliverance that come from a life given and committed to Him.

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature reaps destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Galatians 6:7-10 NIV

Today we pray to make the most of every opportunity.

In Christ alone, Whitney’s family

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

August 1,2006

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Saints.” Ephesians 6:18 NIV

For Whitney, today was a quiet, typical day. She was into her routine; rising, therapies in the morning, lunch and then therapies in the afternoon till about 5 pm. Her ankle showed some signs of swelling today so it was wrapped with an ace bandage. She still moves about with little pain and a limp. Her therapist keeps working on her elbow range of motion, which improves ever so slowly. Her voice is not up to full volume as of yet but maybe that is a blessing in disguise.

We did get a treat from her today. Whitney made lunch for Colleen and me. She fried up three hamburgers, toasted the burger buns for Colleen, and opened up some salsa and chips and of course Pepsi. It was delicious! I said it was so good and that when Whit gets home she can do the same thing for us again. She replied, “Not likely.” I realized then that the therapies were not going as well as we had hoped. All kidding aside, she did a great job!

She enjoyed an evening with her college roommate and a very close friend, talking about college past and college future. It was a good day.

Colleen was able to speak with Susie VanRyn today. The family continues to minister at the Christian camp in the U.P. They are surrounded by good friends sharing God’s love. With God’s help and strength they are doing well. We pray for them. Continue to pray for all in need of God’s comfort, strength, mercy and grace. Wait, that sounds like all of God’s children! Then let’s be faithful to pray for one another, lifting each other up to God Almighty.

Ephesians 6:19-20 says: “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the Gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare if fearlessly, as I should.” Oh, that we would pray for boldness to share God’s truth. The only truth in this world, there is no other. Our prayer is that many come to know this truth through our boldness to live and share Jesus Christ. Be fearless…if God be for us…who can be against us?

In Christ alone, Whitney’s family

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

July 31, 2006 "Be strong and courageous..."

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 18:8 NIV

“He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:17 NIV

Monday was one more good day for Whitney. She moves ahead on her road to total recovery, still not as quickly as she would like, but moving ahead. She went grocery shopping which is one of those things that was never really an enjoyable moment for her. She is going to use the stove to make a meal and she will do that with utmost ease. Swimming was part of her day and a great choice on such an oppressively hot day. She bumped into an old friend at the pool which added another bright spot in her day. Then out to eat some wings…after devouring those we sat and enjoyed each other’s company.

Returning we listened as each shared about their day and how God had impacted us in it. God continues His work in us all…Whitney shared that she is so aware of how our plans for this summer were changed so drastically. Then she said how comforting it is to know that God hasn’t changed, that what He was in the past…He is still today and will be forever. It was awesome and gratifying to hear because it is so true for all of us, but more so because Whitney finds peace in this knowledge.

Carly continues to have a great experience at her internship, learning more and more. While it has not been what was planned she is very aware of how God has gone before her, directing and blessing.

Colleen and I count our blessings each day. We are amazed at God’s love and faithfulness. Oh, we knew about it before, but the depth and the vastness of it we are still in the process of comprehending.

We continue in prayer for the VanRyns, the Erbs, the Larsons, the Smiths and the Felvers. We pray for each to remain strong in God, finding comfort and peace in His promises.

In Christ alone, the Ceraks