If you have been reading this blog over the past couple of weeks you have heard about the car accident of Jack Cerreta, Jr. Jack and his family are members of LifeQuest Church where I pastor, and they have been incredible friends and partners in the past seven years that my family has known them. I want to share some things that I have been leaning through the process of walking with this family during the last two week.
Jack was in a serious wreck with major head trauma. No one knew what to expect. He had drains put into his skull to relieve pressure, had surgery to remove two blood clots, went in and out of ICU and states of consciousness. There were days when things seemed incredibly positive and others when everyone was on edge.
Jack’s sister, Casey, is in the Marine Corps and is stationed in Okinawa, Japan. She was able to get leave and buy a ticket to fly home. She spent three days traveling and finally arrived to find her brother in Intensive Care. Needless to say this family was going through one of the most difficult times it had ever experienced.
Yesterday, Jack was moved to a rehabilitation facility. He is alert, walking, eating, talking and remembers most things. He does not remember the accident. Perhaps this is God’s provision. This ordeal is in no way over for the Cerreta family, but I want to share with you some things that God has shown me through the process.
1) The ministry of presence is the most important in a time of crisis.
Far too often we place more value on our words in tough situations. I have heard people say pithy cliches during times of trials. I have heard bible passages taken out of context. Somehow we think by talking we break the tension. Over the course of time Jack was in the hospital, so many members of LifeQuest were right alongside the family. There were times where no words were spoken. It was the presence of one another that brought comfort in the midst of pain. When Christians gather together, the presence of God is there and that is enough.
2) The ministry of caring is priceless.
This is an area where most churches do very well, but LifeQuest excels. The Cerreta’s have raved about how people have brought food, desserts and sent cards and letters. This has ministered to them in so many ways. It allows them not to have to worry about necessities but to focus on the care of their son. One thing that meant a ton to the family was that a lady in our church made a Cherry pie that they were able to enjoy. Simple gestures of love in the midst of crisis are extravagant representations of the love of Jesus toward one another.
3) The ministry of generosity is often overlooked.
I received calls every day for a week asking what could be practically done for the family. So many people wanted to do something but didn’t know what. One issue that was major for the Cerreta’s was that Casey had to get a loan to buy the ticket to get home. The ticket cost $1,600.00 and she was going to have to pay it back over a long time. In two weeks, our church collected the amount of the ticket. She is able to fly back to Japan with the money to repay her loan in full.
There are so many things that could be written about this situation. I am sure that this will not be the last post about Jack on my blog. But these are a few things that we should never forget in the times of crisis. It is in these moments that the body of Christ is able to shine at its brightest.