Mistaken identity of Taylor University student

 

The Muncie Star Press ran a story today about a Taylor University student who had a unique case of mistaken identity, one that Hoosiers will never forget.  Ten years ago, a horrific crash killed five people and resulted in a case that became international news.

The Star reports, “The crash occurred on the evening of April 26, 2006, according to Fox59. Nine people were riding a Taylor University van on I-69, returning from Fort Wayne after setting up for a luncheon the following day. Just after 8 p.m., the van was a couple miles from the Marion exit at State Road 18 when a semi truck came across the median and struck the van. Investigators would later learn the driver of the semi, Robert Spencer, had fallen asleep at the wheel before running off the northbound roadway.

The crash killed Taylor University students Brad Larson, Laurel Erb, Betsy Smith, Laura Van Ryn, and university staff member Monica Felver.

In the chaos that followed, emergency workers at the scene of the crash mixed up the identities of Laura Van Ryn and Whitney Cerak. Cerak had survived the crash, but her face was covered by bandages due to a head injury. Van Ryn’s parents arrived at Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne, unaware that their daughter had died, and the injured and bandaged young woman in the hospital bed was actually Cerak. Meanwhile, Cerak’s family was told Whitney had been killed, even though she was alive and unconscious at the hospital.

The identity mix-up occurred when an emergency responder mistakenly clipped Van Ryn’s student ID to the injured Cerak. When Cerak’s family arrived at the hospital, they were told that no ID on the body was needed. Days later, about 1,400 Taylor University students attended the funeral and burial for Cerak. But it was actually the body of Van Ryn being laid to rest.

Taylor University President Eugene Habecker recalled visiting with Van Ryn’s parents, Don and Susie, at the hospital and praying for their daughter’s recovery.

“Her head was fully bandaged, and she of course was still unconscious,” Habecker said. “I asked Don if I could hold Laura’s hand and pray for her. We didn’t know it then, but I was actually holding Whitney’s hand.”

For several weeks, the world believed Cerak had died in the crash and Van Ryn had lived. But members of the Van Ryn family started to notice curious differences between their loved one and the injured young woman they were caring for. Five weeks after the crash, a therapist asked the young woman to write her name. She was able to spell out “Whitney.”

After mourning for five weeks, Whitney Cerak’s family were informed that Whitney was still alive. Laura Van Ryn’s family had to accept that Laura was gone.

Whitney’s sister, Carly later wrote:

“Soon after we saw Whitney, our family met with the Van Ryns and our joy for ourselves was pushed aside by the pain we felt for them. It is hard because our joy is their pain.”

After recovering from her injuries, Cerak returned and graduated from Taylor University a few years later. She married her longtime boyfriend, Matt Wheeler, and the couple have three children.”

Whitney Cerak (Wheeler) is expected to speak during another prayer service scheduled for Wednesday at Taylor University.  Her story was published in the book, Mistaken Identity.

If anyone knows the value of life, it would be Whitney Cerek.  As she states in her book, “I am the only person I know that has listened to her own funeral.”
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The Rats of D.C.

He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. Matthew 12:30

It was a beautiful day but the storm was moving in quickly.  We raced to leave town to avoid lock-down, the snow was predicted to start falling in a few hours but right then it was a clear cold morning.  The March for Life had been on our radar, it was the primary original reason to travel through the mountains to this busy city.  The storm warnings were the talk of the town & everyone was planning their strategy to hunker down until it cleared.

We decided to pack up and move on out early, being stuck in a bustling town with little supplies didn’t sound appealing to either of us.  As we were working towards our exit, we remembered that we had traveled a long way and not seen the White House.  What a silly thing to tell people back home, that we drove hour upon hour and failed to see the residence of our nation’s top authority figure.

We turned the corner and the famous landmark came into view but suddenly something else caught my eye…people, and lots of them!  They were walking quickly towards their destination, in large masses, racing past the presidential house and towards the same direction; people from everywhere were gathering from nowhere.  They were on every street, every corner, every road…walking towards a purpose.

We started to follow.

We parked the car, my heart racing.  The home to the president anchored no interest to me all of a sudden, but these people…holding signs, singing, advertising life, invoked a deep stirring in my heart.  We parked the car and raced ahead towards this emotional detour.  The closer we got, the thicker it become.  Shoulder to shoulder at times, with like-minded individuals…all with homes, families, jobs, lives that they lived somewhere else, but took the time to stand and voice the same message.

Stop killing the little ones.

The March was thought provoking and heart wrenching.  Thousands upon thousands of people came and prayed, hoped, and believed, that man would finally be done at allowing our American babies to die.  I was hopeful, I was encouraged, I swore that when I got home I would play my part in stopping abortion in our country.

Then I sat down.

I sat on a bench and looked around.  I thought about what I was seeing, the snow beginning to fall…people of all ages and abilities crying out for the unborn, Washington Monument standing proudly on the hill above them.  My mind drifted off for just a second…

Then I felt it.

Pressure on my foot, something had crawled up on top of my right shoe and started nibbling at my pants.  For just a moment it didn’t really register and so I didn’t move, then my mind caught up with my body and I peered over my knee to see just what had taken residence over my insulated winter boot.  With no regard, the face of a rat looked up at me.  Stubborn and rude.

I kicked my leg out by natural instincts and I watched the long-tailed dirty rodent race off and crawl between the crack of a building nearby.

I stood up and paced in disbelief that a rat would just have the audacity to crawl up on top of my foot and sit there like it had the right to do that.  My husband came walking over and I confessed to him that I had just been introduced to the rats of D.C.  I realized then that there really was such a thing and that in order for the March for Life to be something that is no longer needed, we needed to get rid of the rats.

The more I look around at people in political office and those that support them, I see many that remind me of that downtown bench rat.  They come along quiet and sneaky, plop themselves down like they are justified, use you for their greater gain, and then look at you strangely when you tell them to get lost.  The great thing is, many of us are not from the city, instead of looking down and shrugging you off…we kick you out and make you leave.  Many of us who are watching are not accustomed to being a tool in your popularity contest.  We see through the thick fog of downtown and discern what your real intentions are.

We see how you gain support by telling lies.  We watch you peddle money around so you can push out the new-comers, we watch you fight for bills that have no purpose so that you can gain exposure.

They waste their energy on spinning around in circles, and that’s why the rats like them.  They stick around.  They play the game.  They like hearing their own voices.

Unfortunately for them, God sees this.

You can NOT serve two masters.

You can NOT love the world and love God.

You can NOT care more about yourself then the strangers around you.

If you do…you are NOT His.

Matthew 7:21-23 says, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.

Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’

“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

Lots of people who are working in office are practicing lawlessness.  They claim they are Christians, stating they follow Christ and posts of sorts of Jesus content for others to see.  Their supporters say the same things & have the Bible lingo down-pat.  God is shifting his gears though, he is instructing His people to stop listening and start watching.

We are no longer listening to what they say, but instead watching what they do.

The message for them is clear.  Every time you support something good that has a bit of evil in it, you are forfeiting Christ.  Every time you compromise on what you know is right, to get a bit of something good..you are forfeiting Christ.  There is always a trade-off.

You will either trade your lawlessness for a Savior

or

 You will trade God in for a lie.

Luke 11:23   “He who is not with Me is against Me.”

The fervor to stopping abortion is still gaining momentum in my heart and in the heart of this country, people are tired of those in charge being complacent.  There is a whisper of victory and an anthem flies over a small remnant who are ready to kick the rats out.  It is the duty of this nation to watch and remove them as God sees fit.

The rats of D.C. are breeding, they have over-run our city streets and our country roads.  All the while, we are watching, and our instincts are kicking in.  They continue to plan, plot, and submerge themselves into individual self-gain.  Our God is much greater then this travesty and although He may allow a rat to sit down thinking he has the right to take territory, God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, he owns the hills, he owns the land and sea, sun and heavens.  He owns the territory that the rat rests, He owns it all.

And He will take back this land because of one simple point we tend to forget.

He owns the rats.

 

 

 

 

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