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  • Post titleThis is about the 15 yr old kid that drowned last weekend inthe river...

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    11 posts, 11 voices, 863 views, started Jun 6, 2009

    Posted on Saturday, June 6, 2009 by Mary Clark

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    • This is lengthy but very good. This child lived here locally but I did not know him. The river mentioned is the Savannah River. What a great tribute to this young man.

      This is long, but worth reading about the funeral service for Stephen Fishel from one of Stephen's friends' mother.
      ***************************************************

      Dear Friends,

      I have to tell y‘all this while it is all fresh in my mind. Not all of you may know, but Tyler’s friend, Stephen Fishel,
      drowned Saturday in the Savannah River at just 15 years old. He and Tyler have been friends since 3rd grade in Sunday school and church at Curtis.  This is long, but please take time to read it.

      I’ve never attended a funeral quite like today. Honestly, out of all the church services I have ever been to,
      revivals included, I don’t think I’ve ever felt the presence of God like I did today. I’m so emotionally drained right now, but yet charged inside like never before.  I don’t usually go to funerals because I have to take off of work, but went for Tyler today. I know now that God wanted me there not only for Tyler, but for me and every path that I cross the rest of my life.

      Stephen was to be in ROTC next year at Westside and planned to go into the Marines after that. The Westside ROTC gave them a new uniform with his name on it to be buried in. He was so handsome in it. Because he planned to join the marines the military sent a representative from each branch of the armed forces to the funeral in full military dress.

      The service started with a slide show with the song “I Can Only Imagine” playing. Then the procession started with Amazing Grace being played on the bagpipes. Then at least 150 Police officers from all over the state of Georgia came in. (Stephen’s dad- Rich- has been a Georgia State Patrolman for ~2 years.  Prior to that served with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Dept. for many years.) They filled up the whole right side, part of the left side.  

      The Georgia State Patrol carried his casket in. The 9th grade Sunday School Class (Tyler’s class) were the honorary pall bearers.I will do my best to remember the exact words our pastors used, but I’ll probably be off a little in remembering all of this.

      Three of our pastors had a part in the service. Our senior pastor Mark Sterling spoke first. He said that the first
      time he met Stephen he was coming out of his office. He almost bumped into Stephen and stopped to say good morning. Stephen reached out first, shook his hand, looked him in the eye and said “Hi I’m Stephen Fishel, nice to meet you“. He said “Stephen, it’s nice to meet you and I’d love to talk to you, but I’m about to go in this room across the hall to pray with the deacons and other ministers before the service.” Mark said he stopped and looked at Stephen, asking “Stephen would you like to go pray with us“, fully
      expecting him to say “oh maybe next time“. But, Stephen said “sure“.  After that every Sunday Stephen was waiting outside his door to pray with him and the other men.  He closed with “I have never before seen a boy only 15 1/2 years old leave behind a legacy like this young man left. What a special child he was!”

      Then his parents spoke. His Mama took a few minutes to pull it together, but when she did she was wonderful.
      She smiled and thanked everyone for being there. She said that Stephen is smiling from ear to ear seeing all those people there for him. She told us stories about him that no one else would know except his family. She talked about him loving long showers, so much they had to put a timer in the bathroom. He loved to primp and look at himself in the mirror and most of all he loved to dance in front of the TV :) She said that his leaving us is no accident, it is God’s plan. His time. She then looked over at his best
      friend and said “and it is NO ONE‘S FAULT“.  His Dad tried to say a few words, but barely got out we thank you for coming and everything you all have done for us, the sadness of losing his child evident in his face and words.

      Then our youth minister, Chris Eubanks, gave his message.  He was so broken up at first he couldn’t speak.
      But, when he did he said that one day after Youth Breakaway on Wednesday night, Stephen followed him to his office. He said “Mr. Chris I have a question.” He said “Stephen I’m real busy, but if you will walk with me we will talk“. Stephen did and asked him “How do I be a disciple for Christ?” Chris said that will stop you in your tracks when a 14 year old boy asks you that. You know they are on to something special. Then every time he’d come in the church for whatever service it might be, Stephen would be waiting by the door on him, and would say “I know, we have to walk, but I have questions. He said Stephen was busy trying to witness to his neighbors or anyone. He would ask Chris what he could do next to help lead them to being saved. He asked Chris for some tracts to put on the doors. Chris gave him a box. Then the next Wednesday night there was a note on his own office door. It was “anonymous” but Chris knew it was from Stephen. The note said it was to all the youth from
      one of the youth and went on to tell them what they had to do for God. And on the back it said ” You don’t need
      to know who this is from, you just need to know what the words mean.” A 14 year old boy said that !  

      Then Chris closed by saying the last walk he took through the church with Stephen was a couple of Sundays ago.
      He said he was running late and real stressed about it. He said he came through a door he has never entered
      at Curtis before or since. He said he came hurrying in and who was waiting at that door, but Stephen. (Curtis
      has many entrances so it wasn’t by chance). He said “Mr. Chris I have questions, but I can walk with you. A boy at school asked me how I know God is real and how I know He lives in me.’ Chris said that stopped him in his tracks and his need to hurry was eased. This young man had been asked this question because he lives for Christ and non believers
      can see it in him !!!!! See, Stephen carried his Bible every day to school and always wore his promise ring. He got
      picked on and teased, but he never let that stop him. Nothing ever got in the way of God in this young mans life.

      Chris said he came in that door today and walked the same path he did with Stephen that last time, but he
      knew Stephen wouldn't be waiting with questions today because today Stephen has all the answers.

      Then our associate pastor, Sherrell Dunn, spoke. He’s our oldest(in age) pastor who is about 75+. He said Stephen
      would follow him and ask him questions in the same way. He said maybe it was because they were so close
      in age : )  He told several little stories like the others, but closed with remember this: You may read that Stephen Fishel died today, but don’t you believe it. Stephen Fishel is more alive today than he ever was. He’s just in a better place.

      The procession was so long you couldn’t see the beginning or end of the all the cars. There must have been 75-100 police
      cars there. At the cemetery the officers formed two lines and sort of arched around the grave sight at full attention.
      It was pretty awesome to see. The members of the armed forces then saluted the casket and marched up to it, each
      laying a flag on the casket. It was very moving.

      Chris, our youth minister, gave the service. He closed with “His Mama said Stephen liked to dance in front of the TV,
      but rest assured as we are here today that Stephen is dancing before his Lord today !!!

      Tyler completely came apart at the service and then at the cemetery too. He went back and hugged Stephen’s parents several times. He told me “she hugged me so tight Mama like she didn’t want to let go“. I felt so sorry for her. I know she is so proud and that she knows where he is, but nothing will take away her missing him so much. I told Tyler that Stephen would want him to honor his memory by taking up where he left off. He wasn’t here long enough to share Jesus with everyone he wanted to, but his friends and all of at that funeral can take over.

      Feel free to forward this to your friends, relatives, whoever you wish or no one.
      God put it on my heart to share this with all of you.   Remember John 3:16

      Have a blessed day !

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