Home of Wheaton Bible Church's Quarterly Magazine
By Marie Allison
The sleepy gray sky did not reflect the hectic pace of the Moore household as they got ready for church. Seven-year-old Aiden was looking for socks; five-year-old Carson needed his face washed; three-year-old Elyse was carefully selecting her own outfit—sandals and sundress—despite the October chill; one-year-old Sophia sat happily watching the commotion from her booster seat.
Mom Rachael moved everyone along, happy to feel good now that she was in the second trimester of her pregnancy—anticipating the arrival of their fifth child. Dad Shane was in the “ready” position, responding to needs as they were served up.
Rachael and Shane were looking forward to attending church in their new community. They had been to Wheaton Bible Church six times now and triumphed in knowing where all the children’s Sunday school classes were located. They looked forward to the church being a place of friendship and spiritual guidance for years to come.
After settling the children into their classes, Shane and Rachael found seats in the balcony, anticipating a full-hour reprieve from the joyful weight of parenthood—but that wasn’t to be. About forty minutes into the worship service, Shane told his wife he felt ill and needed to step out to get some air.
Rachael followed him out the door onto the mezzanine. He told her he was getting tunnel vision. She encouraged him to keep walking to a seating area nearby.
He made it to the chairs, but shortly after he sat down, Shane lost consciousness. He was not breathing or responding. He was limp.
Rachael looked helplessly at two women nearby.
By God’s providence, in that very same area, Barb Westrate, a Wheaton Bible Church staff member, was interviewing Iglesia del Pueblo attender Norma Sida. Barb was the Volunteer Coordinator for Puente del Pueblo—WBC’s outreach ministry to the Timber Lake apartment complex—and Norma was hoping to become an ESL (English as a Second Language) tutor at Puente.
The ladies quickly came to Rachael’s aid, along with a man who had seen what was happening and helped them get Shane to the floor.
As God would have it, Norma is a CMA (Certified Medical Assistant) to a cardiologist. She immediately began CPR while a staff member retrieved an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).
Norma knew just how to use that device, opening the kit, putting on the rubber gloves, and removing the razor from the red zippered supply pouch. She quickly shaved Shane’s chest and applied the electrode pads. The AED machine assessed Shane’s heart rate and instructed Norma to deliver the life-saving shock.
Paramedics arrived ten minutes later and continued Shane’s care. He was rushed to the hospital, where the staff confirmed that the outcome for thirty-two-year-old Shane would not have been the same without the care he received in those first, critical moments.
This lovely family of six, soon to be seven, had what many would say was a very narrow escape from what would have been a tragic future—life without their father and husband.
The following January, as Rachael lay in the hospital bed cradling baby Josephine in her arms, she looked into Shane’s blue eyes and smiled. Then she whispered a prayer of thanks to God for life—both the life of her husband and the life of her new little one.
I met my husband, Shane, after his father, Mike, and I served on the same mission trip. He thought I would be a good match for his son, and he was right! We were married just six months later. We’ve now been married nine and a half years and have five precious children.
We moved to Winfield in August 2011 and thought we would give Wheaton Bible Church a try. From the moment we parked the car and walked in the front doors, we felt welcome and comfortable.
Despite the large size of the church, many people greeted us with warm smiles and answered all our questions. When we entered the Visitor Center, a bubbly young woman directed us to the Children’s Ministry area and introduced us to a volunteer who walked us to all the children’s class rooms.
During the next few weeks we got a welcome phone call inviting us to attend the BEGIN class, where we were able to meet people and, more important, get connected to an Adult Community. That class has already helped us develop strong Christian friendships here at the church.
Just six weeks after we began attending, on Sunday morning, October 16, 2011, my husband, Shane, suffered cardiac arrest while at church. It was a serious form of heart attack, the kind that is often referred to as the “widow maker,” because only one in ten survive.
That morning God worked through Wheaton Bible Church staff and volunteers who were prepared to handle such emergencies. I know He orchestrated that day, putting the right people in place so there was a good outcome to a terrible situation.
The thought of my kids losing their dad, and of me losing my partner and best friend, is heartbreaking. But, praise God, He had other plans.
Shane is currently doing well. Every day is a reminder of God’s love and goodness. We are incredibly thankful God chose to give Shane another chance and for the people who sprang into action to help us.
“My dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” —1 Corinthians 15:58
Norma Sida, her husband, Juan, and their daughter, Isabel, were not church attenders. But each time she drove past Wheaton Bible Church/Iglesia del Pueblo she felt strangely drawn to the building.
One day she pondered the idea of visiting the church with her family. Soon after that her husband’s coworker invited him to Iglesia. At the same time Norma’s friend told her the church had a good reputation and recommended that she try it out.
That was two years ago. Since then, Norma has found rich friendships and support at Iglesia del Pueblo. But even more important, Norma says, two years ago she was hopeless, but now she has found hope in Jesus Christ!
In April of last year, at the first Saturday evening Spanish/English Baptism Cele-bration, Norma was baptized—publicly declaring Jesus Christ as her Savior and Lord.
Norma continues to grow in her walk with God, spending time in His Word every day. This fall, she will begin serving as an ESL tutor at Puente del Pueblo.
She continues to work as a Certified Medical Assistant to a cardiologist at Provena St. Joseph Hospital in Elgin, and is thankful that God put her in just the right place, at just the right time, on that October Sunday morning.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marie Allison, Director of Connect Ministry at Wheaton Bible Church, supports hundreds of WBC volunteers who create a welcome, well-organized, and safe environment for fellowship, worship, and outreach. She and her husband, Lon, have been at the church for seven years.