Photos: Asheville and Seattle

As you’ve followed this story through words and prayer, here are just a few photos to put light, color, flesh, and blood to this journey of suffering, faith, hope… and such extraordinary love.

Steve intubated and sedated; shortly after the accident. Asheville, NC.

Michelle comforting Steve. Asheville, NC.

Jude with his Papa. Asheville, NC.

Steve with his brother, Mike. Asheville, NC.

Air ambulance flight to Seattle. Originating from Asheville, NC.

Sitting up in bed. Seattle, WA.

First time in the wheelchair. Seattle, WA.

First trip down the hallway. Seattle, WA.

Michelle wheeling Steve past the nurses station. Seattle, WA.

Steve and Michelle. Seattle, WA.

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  • Lisa Gustafson

    thank you for the pictures….it helps to see Steve and Michelle's faces…

  • Greg and Holly Anderson

    The leadership at Union Church Hong Kong prayed for you last night–the most important thing we accomplished at the board meeting. Thanks for the pictures and know that your cheering section knows no boundaries.

  • Allisonhenry1

    Wow, these pictures are so powerful, and through all of his pain, his inner beauty as well as Michelle's is so incredible apparent. My prayers continue for Steve's pain to disipate. All my love. Allison

  • Daphne

    May we be consistent always in our prayers for Steve. Michelle, may you always feel Gods hands guiding and comforting you during this time.

    Daphne from Hong kong ECC

  • Debbie Sund

    Hello……..My name is Debbie Sund. My son Brad Sund sang with Steve in worship. He forwarded us the story of Steve. We are praying and praying. I am an RN and I see so much progress, I have much hope that Steve will gain alot of strength and movement back. Please know that each day as I go to work I will pray for you Steve. I will pray pray pray. Debbie Sund

  • Steve Gaultne

    Dear Steve and Michelle, Thanks for the pictures, which are so powerful. Our church community is continuing to pray for the two of you, your boys and the whole family! You are literally an inspiration to thousands. Steve and Marian, Hong Kong

  • Ragamuffingirl

    continuing to pray…the pictures were a great idea…I attend church with Steve's parents but have met you two and your boys only through this part of your journey together. thanks for sharing the pics.

  • Naomi Diaz (UCM)

    Thank you very much for sharing these pictures with us. Oh, when do we stop crying? These photos are the missing links between Pastor Steve and us. Your selfless act in sharing the photos will go a long way for everyone. Now, we have a complete story board. We are committed to continue praying for Pastor Steve's SPEEDY RECOVERY. Prayers too for Michelle & the boys. That photo with Jude & Pastor Steve is a heartbreaker and at the same time joy giver. May God be glorified. Praise His name.

  • Mksolin

    THANK YOU for posting some pictures of this journey! It is great to see your face Steve and know you are still here with us, although in another state! You are NEVER far from our prayers and thoughts! Our God is BIGGER than any circumstance and I pray that He will meet you wherever you are each and every moment in your day! Your lives are real, vulnerable and genuine and I am so thankful for the encouragement/interspection you have brought my life in a new deeper way during this time! The Solins in Dayton send our love!
    Only because of Him! Marcie and Don

  • Julie & Heath

    So good to see your sweet faces!!! Thank you for the gift of the pictures…praying every day for you.

  • Christine Mantlo

    I just took a long look at pictures of a couple that I admire and love greatly. I would just love to be there in Seatle and give you both a big hug. Steve and Michelle this is my prayer for you both as I get ready for bed. Oh heavenly father, thank you for this precious family. Thank you for their love and dedication to You. Thank you Lord for your faithful and unfailing love for them. I praise you for the incredible good that you will and already are bring out of such tremendous pain and suffering. I praise you for the body of Christ that has been raised up through this great trial that is glorifying you and honoring You by supporting my dear friends. Oh Lord, please bring sweet rest to Steve's body tonight. Renew Steve's strength Father so that he can give his all to the therapy tomorrow. Please have mercy on his body father and relieve his pain. God of mercy and grace how I love you and believe that you are our God of restoration and hope. Please fill Steve tonight with hope, joy, and peace by your Holy Spirit. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

  • Linda and Thad Crowe

    Thank you for posting the photos. We have been wanting to see you and it's good to see your faces. But we can see the pain in Steve's face and are praying for it to subside. It is all so surreal for us….but you are in the midst of it all continuously. I pray for moments of joy and togetherness for you during each day…and hours of peaceful sleep at night. I just keep picturing you both nestled in God's huge hands protected, curled together and resting. For the peace that passes all understanding…
    Love you,

  • Deb_chua

    Thanks for sharing the photos. Both Jerick and I continue to pray for strength and that the pain of Pastor Steve will subside already…. also for his speedy recovery… take care…

    Jerick and Debbie Co

  • Genrideout

    wow thank you!! so awesome to see the progression of the healing as well as the tenderness of Michelle and Steve's love. Praying without ceasing for healing and pain relief and many tender and powerful moments for the whole family together.

  • Deloakley

    Just preparing to attend the 12 15 Weds serevice at Union church and wanted you to know we carry you in our hearts & prayers.

    With love to you and your lovely Family
    Brian & Del Oakley

  • Jess

    pastor Steve and Michelle '
    you are in our thoughts and prayers. keep trusting on God's healing power.
    God Bless
    pastor Marvin and Jessie Layug

  • Kristi Wolswijk

    Thank you for sharing such vulnerable photos of you both. I was fighting back the tears while looking at them all. I hope and pray that Steve's pain is decreasing more and more with each new day. I love you guys and am thinking of you continuously. xoxo– Kristi Wolswijk

  • Avedomdom

    When a while back, the closest i can be with you is through google map, outside your hospital,in front of my PC, these pictures now are so much more intimate. Again, they brought me to tears.And tearfully yet joyfully, I thank God that he has delivered you thus far. Through your weary eyes and pain and brokenness, Pastor Steve, I see the faith, the hope, the strength and the endurance that comes only from Jesus Christ. Michelle, your love and devotion for Pastor Steve and your boys are a reflection of God's everlasting grace and care for all that is His. I will continue to pray for you each morning and each night (and patiently await for more of God's wonderful and glorious miracles).

  • Barbara Kline

    Praying for endurance and hope. We send up our prayers daily that you are surrounded with the steadfast love of God. It is good to have you in Seattle and to know that we can be there when you need help in the future. We will be ready and waiting when the time is right.
    Rob and Barbara Kline

  • Debbie Simsuangco

    Thank you for sharing the photos and allowing us into your circle of hope, faith and love. Pastor Steve, even as you seek our encouragement and prayers, please know that we are the ones who are encouraged and blessed as you continue to minister to us by simpling living, breathing and bearing suffering just as Christ did. We continue to embrace you in prayers of thanksgiving for the continuing progress, and hope that the best is yet to come. You have always said in your sermons that “The kingdom of God is here and now”…and what better testament to that than to be in the company of his angels right here on earth. And one of them is named Michelle. God bless her indomitable spirit and quiet strength.
    Debbie Simsuangco, Union Church of Manila

  • Amanda Vermeulen

    Thanks for allowing us into your inner circle. Much love and continued prayers.

  • Jesse Morales

    Thank you for the photos…we miss Pastor and his family in UCM. Our continued prayers go with you.

    Jesse and Emma Morales

  • opheliatongco

    Dear Pastor Steve and Michelle,

    This is Ophelia. I saw these photos while having lunch break in my office. I had to stand and lock the door because I could not stop the tears. I cried thanking God that my pastor is able to sit. I cried because I want my pastor back to his feet, animatedly praching the Word of God, moving from one end of the stage to the other. I want to make bold prayers to God. I will pray daily that Pastor Steve will be freed from the wheel chair. Know what, I made bold prayers in the past, and His answers to those prayers have made me bolder.

    My quiet time this morning directed me to this narrative in the book of Acts.”In Lystra there sat a man crippled in his feet, who was lame from birth, and had never walked. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out 'Stand up on your feet!' At that the man jumped up and began to walk.” God is the same today, yesterday and forever.

    Pastor Steve, I pray that the hand of God will soothe your body, for the pain to go away. You are one man I know whose faith must have put a smile on God's face.

    Michelle, I pray that God's mind will be yours moment by moment. I keep you and Pastor Steve in my prayer.


  • Joanna Smith

    Hey, guys. Really appreciate the photos. Thanks for sharing. And thanks for continuing to share your lives with us. We hold you dear now, as before.
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you daily. Praying for pain relief, and for healing. Lots of love,
    Joanna & Nigel

  • Rebeccalwin

    Dear Pastor Steve and Michelle, I hardly know what to write after seeing these pictures. I feel so privileged to see into this intimate and painful part of your lives in this way. Thank you for sharing your photos. I see the pain in Steve's face and I pray continually that our loving and powerful Lord will ease it day by day. May He infuse you both daily with His strength. Your courage continues to amaze me.


    Rebecca Lwin, UCM

  • Cecille

    What a miracle! Such an encouragement to see the progress. Truly, Is there anything difficult for the Lord! Keep on hoping. We're praying and believing with you for complete restoration.

    Love you both,

    Cecille Espiritu

  • Nadine

    We prayed for Pastor Steve and his family during the 12.15 Wed contemplative service today. Thank you for sharing your pictures. Love from Rada, Nadine

  • rowena

    Amen. Amen. what an encouraging pictures of powerful moves God is showing us..His love covers all. Thank you for having this open book – your life, of imparting the such God controlled situation..we never stop praying for you.. rowena otanes

  • Diwadadap

    Dear Michelle,
    We are constantly praying for you, your strength and your courage, and most specially for pastor Steve.
    That He may win this battle. And we shall keep praying till we see pastor Steve leaping and dancing once again. God is in control!!!

    Diwa & Lyn, Shyna and Desi Dadap

  • Jana

    WE LOVE YOU!! Hugs to all – Jana and the boys!!

  • Lindsay

    Pictures really are worth a thousand words, Michelle. Seeing them from right after the accident to the beginnings of recovery brought tears of joy at God's faithfulness coupled with sadness re: the journey ahead. May God continue to be victorious in this situation. Continuing thoughts and prayers for you. Lindsay in Arkadelphia, AR

  • joy aromin

    “I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:19-23
    We love you Pastor Steve and Michelle … praying and hoping to the God of miracles!

    Benjie, Joy & Joshua Aromin

  • David and Kathy Smith

    Dear Steve and Michelle,
    We daily read your updates and pray continually for you. As others have said our hearts break to see the pictures you posted, yet we can praise God for His faithfulness and the progress that we see.
    Psalms 55: 22 Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.
    It was always Gods word that brought comfort and hope into our lives when we had little. His words are true! We pray that God will sustain you both today.
    David and Kathy

  • Margotowen

    Our dear dear friends,

    So good to see your faces.

    We have these for you today:
    Tears of sorrow and tears of joy
    Thanksgiving for a life spared
    Hope for sensation and movement
    Prayers for strength in the midst of trial.
    Prayers for comfort in the pain.

    We love you so much.
    Matt and Margot

  • Roger and Jerri Oliver

    Dear Steve and Michelle…The entire Ruetschle Family,

    The extrordinary love, faith and perserverance of your family has touched all of us in ways we cannot express fully.
    Steve, we know the way is hard. You have been strong in the faith of our Lord. He will continue to guide and protect you. We lift you up in our prayers, unceasingly, for pain management and freedom from pain, for peaceful, healing sleep, and for positive signs of healing each day.

    Michelle, blessed is the man who loves a strong and faithful wife…Steve is truly blessed to have you by his side.
    We lift you up in prayer, unceasingly, for continued wisdom and strength and courage in the face of the unknown.

    John and Darlene, while this has been a critical time for your family, what a beautiful testimony to all of us in the close and unswerving love of a family faithful to our loving Jesus. We lift you up in our prayers, unceasingly, for continued strength, peaceful, healing sleep, and constant hope.

    Mark and Laura, Kim and Greg, Mike and Heather, Steve is blessed to have siblings like you.
    We lift you up in our prayers in thanksgiving for your love and duty to a much loved brother. Your individual and collective expertise and connections have made all the difference in Steve's ability to come this far. The peace of mind that his children were loved and well cared for, the ability to interpret and convey the medical terms and procedures, the encouragement and dedication through critical hours, are in no small measure major ccontributors to Steve's and Michelle's ability to handle this situation as they have. God bless you all.

    We love you,
    Roger and Jerri Oliver

  • Celinekhong

    It is so so good to see your faces. You are in my thought and prayer every day.

  • Justinasumathi

    Dear Michelle ,thankyou for sharing your life with us.I had tears in my eyes when i saw the photographs.What a miracle to see Pastor Steve in the wheelchair.I have always been moved by the love you have for each other.Praying for you continously.Love,Justina,Bangalore

  • Jgchua

    Steve and Michelle,
    We are with you in our love and in our prayer.
    jeanne & lowry chua

  • Deb (Talley) Thompson

    Thank you for posting these photos. My heart is aching for you both with groans that words cannot express. God's richest blessings on you and on your family.

  • Jody

    Pastor Steve! Its so good to see you! You just dont know how happy I am to see your progress in these photos — being attended to by Michelle, sitting, resting your hand on Jude's head, even looking bored at the camera. Haha. I know you will be well. I continue to pray for you to get better and better as the days pass. God loves you.


  • Vdadap

    Dear Pastor Steve and Michelle,
    We will continue on this journey with you..hoping and praying with you..and to dear Michelle, will continue to pray for you,for God to continue to give you strength and courage as you take care of our dear pastor steve and the kids..we thank you so much for being so brave thru all these and we praise God for all the things to come…God is in control indeed! We love you..Godbless..


  • Kim Smelser – Stanwood, WA

    Thank you for sharing the photos! It helps so much to SEE the progress and pray with you for strength and joy in every day. Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers everyday… You Steve (El Guapo), your beautiful wife Michelle, and those adorable boys. Not to mention the army that is surrounding you and supporting you! Jesus will fill those gaps where you feel weak and unable.
    Love & Blessings –
    Kim Smelser “Mickey” (worked @ Firwood with Steve) & my family too… Brian and our kids… Wyatt (6), Makenna (4), and Luke (2)

  • gunawan

    Get well soon Ps Steve.

  • Jon Las (GCF)

    Steve, Michelle, the boys– thousands have been praying for you, and we are seeing how God's been answering. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

  • Micah

    Steve, you are in my prayers. Thank you for being a friend in my time of need.
    -Micah (Jib) and family (Payson, AZ)
    Matt 24:35