In Loving Memory of Mike “Ski”

To many he was Mr. Eastern or the King of the Class of ’08, and others also knew him as “Flow-Ski,” but to all he was a great friend. There are no words to adequately express how Mike impacted the Eastern community. While I was reading many comments left by people who knew Mike, I realized that many of them appeared radically different from each other. They were different from each other to me, but not to Mike. He understood what God wants from all and what Christ desires from all of us. One day, during one of our Wednesday night Grow Group hours, Mike told us that one of his favorite scripture was John 13:34-35; “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

-Jean-Robert Désulmé, Class of ’08

Mike, I had just looked at your picture on the back of the EU magazine today, only an hour or so before I got the email about you. My parents had asked who you were and I told them you were someone that everyone at EU knows because you made a point to know everyone else. You never failed to say hello to me all my four years at Eastern and it was obvious to see who you found your joy in – Christ. Thank you for unashamedly being you and sharing your love with me and everyone at EU.

– Shannen Shadel, Class of ’08

I remember freshman move-in day, like it was yesterday, because I was greeted by a guy with a huge smile and an enthusiastic welcome. That person was Mike Skinner and soon I would know him as Mike Ski and my Residence Assistant. I remember him helping me to get to know other people by introducing them to me, no matter the setting, and this made me feel included. It seemed like every time I saw Mike, he was ridding his skateboard. However, when he saw me he would stop what he was doing and come greet me and give me a hug. Mike was the type of guy who made the effort to let people know that he loved and cared about them. I have cherished my times and friendship with Mike. His sense of humor and the warmth of his hugs, I will remember for the rest of my life.

– Greg Gibson

I met Mike in high school. He was a part of the Bible Study group with me for three years. He was well known at CAPA and always smiling and happy. Such an inspiration to others. He was like a big brother to me back then. When I was considering coming to EU and found out that Mike was here, he made sure that I was okay when I visited, and he looked out for me. He will be greatly missed. I’m just happy that his life was a testimony unto Jesus and because of it, people received Christ.

– Donielle Rodwell

Mike Ski was a friend, brother, Christ believer, educator. I was greatful to get to know him. Mike exemplified many characters in the book of the Bible.

– Karim McKenney

I remember the first time I met Mike Ski. SAB had come back late from a bowling night and we were unloading the vans. A figure dressed in all black with a ski mask on and a cape around his neck came riding down the hill on a scooter. He quickly picked up one of the orange coolers, turned around and started riding towards Gough. We had no idea what was happening, but soon realized that he was trying to help lighten our load. After asking around to find the true identity and finally meeting him, I could tell in his smile that it was Mike, though he always denied it. He had such a caring and servant heart that this world aches for, and I’m thankful for that awesome gift.

– Jean Komline, Class of ’07

Sometimes in life we lose sight of what is important. Our eyes become clouded with agendas and to-do lists. “I’ve got to be here. I’ve got to be there. I’ve got to do this. I’ve got to do that …”

Over the course of a few months, my life began to feel meaningless. I felt distant from God, from my family, and from my friends. And the really sad part was this: I did not understand what was going on.

And then Ski died.

This was like a punch in the stomach. He was my friend; he was my RA; he was my brother.

Everyone I met at Eastern had something good to say about Ski. He was loved and respected, the definition of a Godly man. Why take Ski, Father? I could not stop asking this question.

What if we all made light of Ski’s death? Just went on with life as if nothing happened? What if we forgot about him? This would be foolish. This would be a mockery. This would be a disgrace to the beautiful life of Ski.

At a time in my life when nothing made sense, Ski’s life did. He was a constant reflection of Jesus. And he showed me what life is all about: love. The love of God, and the love of people.

Let us not forget Mike Ski. Let us not make light of his death. Let us remember his legacy, and learn from his short and precious life. There is so much more than the daily grind.

Now, go. Go out and give somebody a big hug, just like Ski used to do …

– In remembrance, a friend

“My parents always told me that my arms were too small to box with God, but when I heard that you passed I thought I could give it a try. What more could I lose? For a while I’ve been upset with God because he took you from us. I’m finally starting to cope with the fact that you’re gone, but the best part is that I WILL see you one day. You lived your life for God, and everyone could see, you touched so many people with the love of God, and you truly have inspired me to do the same. God is still working on my heart, and because of you I am striving to be more like our Father. Love you so much.”

– Njeri Stevens

Mike Ski was a vessel of God’s love in a manner of grace, love, and raw authenticity. While his faith was obvious and always shone through, he was never pretentious and always maintained a real personality and presence. That balance of brokenness and faithfulness is a beautiful and rare thing to find this side of heaven. He became a spiritual brother and soul friend to me. The curiosity, joy, and adventurous sense of seeking he re-awakened in me, during a “dark night of the soul,” will always be an invaluable part of my faith journey, and for that I am eternally grateful. Mr. King, now you are at home with our King. Until the next time we stand in the court together … love and miss you!

– Steph Eft, Class of ’08

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