Michelle Schillewaert, the second oldest of four siblings, had completed her first year at St. Cloud Technical College, where she was studying psychology. She died in a car accident in 2010.
“Through their stories of losing their daughter Mickey, and patiently listening and counseling, Pat and Judy Misener gave us tools to help us sort through and push through our grief. We left Smile Again feeling a weight had been lifted off our shoulders.”
- Jason and Denise Schillewaert
Micah Wessman was the first child of Cory and Heather Wessman, born in 2008 - a special gift to his parents who had struggled through infertility issues and two previous miscarriages. Micah died the next year, as a result of aspirating a pea while eating.
“Micah always had a big smile on his face, especially for his mommy and daddy, and he filled our home with so much joy. Following Micah’s death, we learned of Smile Again Ministries through a friend. Judy Misener began calling frequently to provide counseling and support over the phone during those first several months of horrific grief. In November of 2009 we were the very first couple to visit Whitetail Lodge, the new home for Smile Again Ministries. During the course of five extremely fruitful days with Pat and Judy Misener, we were able to share our grief and receive the counsel and ministry of this incredibly gifted couple.”
- Cory and Heather Wessman
Aaron Sahli was the oldest of three boys. Aaron died in a boating accident when he was 10 years old.
“A friend we had met told us about Smile Again Ministries. I (Connie) contacted Judy Misener and we met. She listened and understood the pain we were going through. The Miseners had lost a 13 year old daughter years before. Their understanding of what we were going through meant the world to us. They know how simple things - like the smell of peanut butter, a song, the sound of a child riding a bike, the changing of the seasons, the beginning of another school year - all affect a grieving parent. The Miseners listened, they shared, they supported us through their words and in their prayers. It took a long time to make peace with our pain, but through Smile Again Ministries we were able to move forward.”
- Tom and Connie Sahli
Theo and Jackie Weber were typical 39 month and 22 month old children. It was their love of playing outdoors that led them to their neighbor’s swimming pool, where both of them fell in and drowned.
“Sometime later I (Michelle) fell apart, collapsing on the floor and begging for God’s help. I received a phone call from Judy Misener asking if I would like to meet and talk. I knew I needed help, so I agreed to meet Judy and her group. It took me two tries to get up the guts to meet Judy. Her group was so welcoming that I felt there was an instant connection with all of the members. After a few months, SAM had a gathering with spouses. Shawn and I walked in, and Shawn felt instantly understood by Pat Misener and the other men in the group. It has been 6½ years since the children died. Judy and the group helped me through many difficulties, and helped me answer my question: ‘What comes next?’ They were my lifeline! I still think of Theo and Jackie daily, but with thoughts of happiness, good memories and gratefulness of being their mother. Judy and the entire group hold a special place in my heart and I thank God for sending them to me in my greatest hour of darkness.”
- Shawn and Michelle Weber