Bethel Church announced on their Facebook page early Saturday that they are ceasing attempts to resurrect two-year-old Olive Heiligenthal, who died one week ago.
The girl was the daughter of a Bethel worship leader, and after her sudden and unexpected death, church leaders and members had been trying to bring back her to life through prayer, worship, ceremonies, songs, commands, and "believing God" for the miracle.
"Olive hasn't been raised," the update reads. "The breakthrough we have sought hasn't come. With the same heart of confidence in God's goodness, we receive the comfort of the Good Shepherd as Andrew, Kalley, and Olive's big sister Elsie, their family, and our church walk together through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23). And so, we are moving towards a memorial service and celebration of her life."
A GoFundMe which was launched along with their efforts to raise the child from the dead, and which has, as of Saturday morning, raised $56,000 of the $100,000 goal, now says:
We don't want the parents to have any concerns over finances throughout this situation, nor do we want to limit the generosity of those who want to support the family. GoFundMe requires a "goal" however any amount for the family will be a blessing to them. All funds will go directly to the Heiligenthal family.
In widely shared social media posts and video clips which garnered national media attention, the Bethel Church leaders and members had previously been relentlessly attempting to bring the two-year-old back to life.
The announcement that they are ceasing resurrection efforts comes exactly one week since little Olive died.
The entire statement from Bethel Church reads:
Since learning the news of two-year old Olive Heiligenthal's sudden death, we have sought a miracle from God to raise her from the dead. We realize this is out of the norm, but that's what a miracle is—it's outside the box of nature and our power. As the Bible testifies, God is the God of the reasonable & possible, as well as the God of the unreasonable & impossible.
In this process, we have been asking God to fulfill our hearts desire to see His kingdom manifested in great power. When you are a friend of God and know that He is your heavenly Father, you trust Him and ask for big, outlandish miracles. As a church, we have been contending for, singing about, and witnessing God's power to save, heal, and deliver for over fifty years. It is normal for us to ask for things, trust Him, and then glorify His name regardless of the outcome. This is what life with the King is all about.
In this situation, grief has not been avoided, as we have all been grieving from the moment we heard the news. Faith isn't denial of the facts or of our emotions, it is knowing that God cares and intervenes in the midst of them. Here is where we are: Olive hasn't been raised. The breakthrough we have sought hasn't come. With the same heart of confidence in God's goodness, we receive the comfort of the Good Shepherd as Andrew, Kalley, and Olive's big sister Elsie, their family, and our church walk together through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23). And so, we are moving towards a memorial service and celebration of her life.
Our community is being deeply impacted by the tragedy of Olive's death. As we have gone through this difficult time, we are grateful to see that faith, hope, and love have been the response. The Lord wastes nothing. He will bring beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61:3). The joy of our faith is that, though we haven't seen the miracle of Olive being raised, she is alive in the presence of God. Her mom and dad will see her again, and we too will join her in resurrection one day. Believers know that heaven is full of homecomings, reunions, celebration, worship, and joy. He is good, all the time. Thank you for your continued prayers for the Heiligenthal family.