Kalley Heiligenthal is a worship leader and a singer at the controversial Bethel Church in Redding, California. On December 15, Kalley shared on her popular Instagram account that she and her husband Andrew's 2-year-old daughter had tragically and suddenly died. In the very same post, she asked for prayers that her child would be raised from the dead, resurrected, brought back to life.
Her plea went viral, capturing the attention of many famous Christian influencers as well as hundreds of thousands of others. Many are reposting her call for prayers and urging others to participate. They truly believe the power of prayer might be able to bring this child back to life.
"We're asking for prayer," Kalley wrote in the now-viral post. "We believe in a Jesus who died and conclusively defeated every grave, holding the keys to resurrection power. We need it for our little Olive Alayne, who stopped breathing yesterday and has been pronounced dead by doctors. We are asking for bold, unified prayers from the global church to stand with us in belief that He will raise this little girl back to life. Her time here is not done, and it is our time to believe boldly, and with confidence wield what King Jesus paid for. It's time for her to come to life."
According to KRCR News, Kalley and Andrew immediately called 911 on the morning of December 14 when Olive stopped breathing. She was pronounced dead after being transported to a Redding hospital.
Bethel Church says that "as a church family, their hearts are with the Heiligenthals and they are both praying for Olive and walking with the family through their deep grief and sorrow." Bethel Music, the church's Christian music label, set up a GoFundMe page to raise $100,000 for the family to cover "unforeseeable expenses the Heiligenthal family will incur, medical and otherwise."
Since the announcement, Kalley has posted every day asking for more prayers, still believing that there's a chance her child will be brought back to life. "Day three is a really good day for resurrection," she wrote on Instagram on December 16 beside a carousel of pictures of Olive. "We are overwhelmed with gratitude by your outpouring of love for us and faith for Olive."
Bethel Church has a massive following on social media, and Kalley's posts have garnered tons of supportive comments and likes. "Praying with every breath we breathe for beautiful Olive," one comment reads. "We are with you, for you, behind you, believing and praying!!!! DO THE IMPOSSIBLE GOD!" another person wrote.
The hashtag #WakeUpOlive has been used by other influencers and churches to spread the movement. These are people who believe the power of prayer might bring this child back to life.
Bethel Church has hosted several public services, gatherings for people to come together to pray for Olive's resurrection. Kalley posted a video from one of these gatherings on the 17th, along with the caption, "Day 4 is a really good day for resurrection. All hail, make way for King Jesus! Thank you so much for joining your faith to ours, we feel your strength and radical belief. Keep declaring life over Olive Alayne with us... This is awakening. Come alive, Olive!"
The viral nature of this movement led Bethel Church pastor Bill Johnson to release a video on Instagram explaining what the church believes. He explains that there is a "biblical precedent" for their actions. "Jesus raised the dead," he says. "Jesus raised the dead."
Eventually, as this story gained traction, other types of comments started to appear on Kalley's Instagram posts — the recent ones about Olive, but also past posts that have nothing to do with the family's resurrection efforts. "Please let your daughter rest in peace in God's loving embrace," one person wrote. "I'm truly sorry for your loss but she isn't coming back. All you can do now is find comfort in God and in your faith knowing she's at peace in heaven."
"I’ve grown to be deeply concerned for you today Kalley," wrote another person. "I mean this in kindness, please take rest and possibly come away from social media. This is a heartbreaking thing. I pray you find comfort from the Lord. I’m increasingly becoming uneasy about this situation. I hope you have good support and advisors by your side to help guide you."
The grief a parent experiences when they lose a child is unimaginable. I can't fathom how badly Kalley and Andrew are hurting. They have another daughter, Elsie, who is a bit older than Olive was. She's no doubt sad and terrified and confused. I hope there are people in their life who will temper their expectations and help this family deal with the reality of their extremely sad situation.