I am a pastor of a church in Bloomington and one of the Campus Ministers to the students at Illinois State University. This past Monday in my church, we suffered a significant and shocking loss as an 8-year-old girl from our parish died unexpectedly. The day before, she began with a simple fever and cough as many children of her age would get. However, by lunch time she became quite lethargic and began breathing heavier than usual. Her parents immediately rushed her to Broeman Hospital in Normal, and when they got there, they found out that she become infected with a super influenza bug that had caused one lung to stop working altogether. The doctors insisted that she be transferred to Peoria to OSF Children's Hospital because she would get better care there. However, due to the high winds they could not fly her from Bloomington to Peoria but had to wait for a transport ambulance to drive her there. After waiting for almost 2 hours, the transport ambulance finally came, and her parents followed behind in their own vehicle to OSF Children's Hospital.
As they were driving there, they were reminded of one of their daughter's favorite activities, listening to WCIC on the radio. They did not turn on the radio until they were about 15 miles from the hospital. When they turned on the radio to WCIC, as the parents told me on Wednesday, the perfect trio of songs played back to back to back. The first song was, "I Could Only Imagine" by Mercy Me--that beautiful song about what Heaven will be like. Then the second song was, "Glory, Glory Alleluia He Reigns" by Newsboys, which was the little girl's favorite song of all time. And third came, "I Will Praise You In This Storm" by Casting Crowns which the parents felt was a gift from God to them directly for what was about to happen in Peoria a few short hours later. The Casting Crowns song finished as they were pulling into the parking lot at OSF Hospital.
When they got inside and the doctors performed their tests, it was revealed that one lung completely had stopped working from the influenza bug and the other one was working only 33%. The doctors then and there knew that she was not going to make it, and sure enough at 8:00 a.m. on Monday morning, February 11, little Caity went home to be with Father God and Jesus for all eternity. In just a few hours from now will be her visitation, and tomorrow will be her funeral service.
And while we are all saddened and shocked, her family and I, as their pastor, thank God for all the blessings he has granted them throughout this ordeal, including the presence of WCIC. Thanks to your radio station, the family received comfort throughout this horrific ordeal, and today at the funeral home, all of her favorite songs that she used to listen to on WCIC--from Newsboys to Toby Mac to Matthew West to Mercy Me to Jamie Grace, among others--will be played in the funeral home for all to hear at the visitation, and I have included some of the lyrics to these songs in my sermon for tomorrow's funeral service as well. So as a pastor, I thank you, WCIC, for all you do to share God's message, and on the behalf of the family as well, thank you. May God bless all of you and your listeners as well. God is truly with us, if only the world knew, how different would it be.