Six years ago, we had our annual Church Picnic at Connie’s Parise’s home in East Moriches. This mid-July get together has always been a favorite tradition for Eastport Bible Church and that year was no exception.
That year, our youth group students (who seemed quite little at the time) had just returned from NTS Camp.
Michael and Steven (pictured in the boat below) were greatly affected by camp that year and it would help them grow a deep friendship that would truly stand the test and trials that time and the years to come would most certainly bring.
This morning, we met together as a church family at 10:00am for our summer worship service. We enjoyed a special line up of songs put together by our very own Priscilla Tuttle in honor of her upcoming two year trip to teach in South Korea. One of the songs she played was “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” The words of the last verse, rang out so poignantly as she played:
“Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!”
And the blessings truly were flowing at our church this morning. Because for the first time, in over two and a half years, our dear friend Michael Einfeldt was there to worship with us. Jeremy shared about January 7th and how he and Michael had been at the church early to practice for a skit that they were supposed to do that coming Sunday. They got their practice in, but more importantly enjoyed a good hour together, just hanging out and talking about life things.
However, the very next morning, Michael would get into a tragic car accident and suffer a very severe traumatic brain injury. He’d spend three months in the ICU at Stony Brook Hospital before being transferred to a TBI Rehab. In the two and a half years that would follow, Michael would endure a tumultuous journey, working towards as much healing and recovery as possible.
This morning, I watched my husband hold back tears as he welcomed Michael back to be present with his church family. There were many tears of rejoicing and we lovingly gave Michael a standing ovation. I watched so many people surround him and his mom Sally with so much love.
I wasn’t able to take as many pictures as my photographer’s heart would have loved. Partly because I was teaching Kids Church and partly because I was simply taking it all in. But this picture shows the beautiful smile that Michael had all morning as he worshiped and celebrated with his church family. So many have prayed for him ever since his accident and seeing him with us today was a beautiful answer to those prayers.
After our service, just like we did six years ago, we all gathered for our annual Church picnic at Connie’s home. God graciously kept the bad weather away and we were able to enjoy the most wonderful afternoon together.
In between pool time and a volleyball game, I captured a few pictures of the amazing people in our church family.
From the oldest to the youngest, it was so special to get to gather together for good food, fellowship and fun.
So many special people joined us this afternoon, from our newest grandparents (Congrats Rosados!) to some dear out-of-town friends.
But most precious to me this afternoon, was having our dear friend Michael come and celebrate at the picnic with us. And in a very special turn of events, Steven, who was there in the very beginning, after that life changing year of NTS Camp was again there today, to celebrate and support his best friend Michael.
Today, was absolutely incredible. Sally Einfeldt asked me to thank everyone for their love and support throughout these past two and a half years. She and Michael were able to enjoy Jeremy’s sermon where he spoke of how we truly are all children of God and part of the most gracious and loving family. Knowing this has given her so much peace in knowing that we are never alone.
As an extended update, Michael is currently living happily at home with his family. He’s been continuing to attend therapies to help him gain strength and continued healing. Since being home, Michael has made good progress. The best part for us though, has been seeing his beautiful smile which has been much more evident since he’s been home. Please continue to pray for Michael, but know that God truly has answered so many of our prayers in his recovery. He is happy and surrounded by so many loving friends and family and thanks to his awesome friend Danielle, will be continuing to join us at Eastport Bible Church on Sundays as he is able.