‘Through Deep Waters': Trusting God through the seasons of grief

Michael Miller  ·  Apr 01, 2016

Jonathan and Monique Einwechter are glorifying God through grief.

The Samaritan Ministries family lost two little ones in February 2014 when an SUV containing Monique and their four children slid off a farm lane into a pond and rolled over in the 35-degree water. Monique, 2-year-old Jon David, and 1-year-old Titus were rescued in time. Elise, 3, and Enoch, 6 weeks, were not.

Rather than cursing God, however, the Einwechters praise Him for bringing them through a dark time. They have put their gratitude into the form of a 60-minute film, Through Deep Waters, now available on DVD for a donation at throughdeepwaters.com.

“We felt the Lord did so much to bring us through all this, we really wanted to put together a concise way to tell others about it,” Jonathan says. “So many people were supportive of us and helped us that we wanted to tell them more about what happened, as well as have a good way to share what God did through it.”

The accident happened near Dayton, Tennessee, where Monique’s parents live. The Einwechters had just moved there from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. They spent the day of February 24, 2014, painting rooms in their new home on the property of Monique’s parents, Joe and Brenda Hoffman. Due to paint fumes in their new residence, though, they needed to head to a friend’s house to spend the night.

Monique and the four Einwechter children got into one SUV, and other children visiting and helping the family got into a vehicle with Jonathan. He drove ahead and soon noticed he could not see Monique’s headlights in his rear-view mirror. He then backed up, heard the honking of a horn, and saw only one headlight sticking out of a pond. In the dark, Monique had driven her SUV slightly too close to the edge of the land that led around a pond and it slid in, then rolled over.

Rescuers managed to get everyone out of the vehicle, but Elise and Enoch didn’t survive.

The Einwechters did not become isolated, however. Only a few months after the accident, they channeled their grief into a filmed testimony of God’s grace and love.

“Early on we decided that we can’t curse God, we can’t forsake Him,” Jonathan says. “We made that decision even though we don’t understand why it happened. We’re going to stick to Him and follow Him. He has been a bulwark for us.”

The Lord has helped the Einwechters “in a really close, intimate way by upholding us and sustaining us in a way we’ve never experienced before,” he adds. “It’s been huge.”

They also are thankful for the “community of believers coming around us and supporting us in such tangible and amazing ways.”

Jonathan and Monique made the film with family friends and fellow Samaritan members Ross and Julie Smithe. The Smithes’ daughter, Christianna, was with the Einwechters the night of the accident and had chosen to go in the car driven by Jonathan. The Smithes were the subjects of a 2011 Member Spotlight for their Hymns and History DVD.

Most of the filming of Through Deep Waters was done in June 2014, and editing was completed last fall. Julie Smithe served as director of photography, overseeing filming and the interviews. Ross and their son, Josiah, provided other technical expertise. Ross and Jonathan worked on the editing together.

Jonathan says he and Monique are glad they filmed the interviews when the pain was still fresh.

“At that point, we needed to hear the stories (from others involved in the rescue efforts), what happened, all the details we were longing to hear, so it’s good we did it then,” he says. “Of course it was painful. But we would not want go back and relive it now.”

Even then, it was “difficult for us emotionally and for the people being interviewed” to recount the events of that night. Also offering their memories of that night were various family members, friends, and rescue workers who were at the scene.

The film is divided into three main sections: the retelling of the accident, memories of Elise and Enoch, and spiritual lessons learned. Ross Smithe says a central theme of the film was provided by the sermon given at the children’s funeral by William Einwechter, Jonathan’s father and a pastor in Lancaster County. The elder Einwechter compared the seasons of grief presented in the story of Job with the seasons of the year. The Einwechters and Smithes decided to pattern the “lessons” section of the film after that, with considerable onscreen time for William Einwechter to present pastoral and Biblical perspective on the event.

Ross and the other Smithes were “honored to be asked” to be part of the project.

“Just knowing Jon and Monique, we were encouraged from the very beginning by their testimony of faith in God through such a horrible tragedy,” Ross says. “When they approached us about the project, hearing the way Jon articulated his vision, I was immediately onboard. We wanted it to be larger than just a graphic retelling of the tragedy. We wanted it to be about their journey of faith and discovery in the aftermath of that, and have that be an instrument in God’s hands to hopefully inspire that same kind of outlook for other families going through tragedies of various sorts.”

The Einwechters want the DVD to go “wherever the Lord wants to take it and reach as many people as possible,” so they are not asking for a fixed donation. “Any donation is fine,” Jonathan says.

He adds that he and Monique are “both doing pretty well.”

“It has affected her in a different way as far as being a mother,” Jonathan says. “The Lord has kept us both.”

One thing that has helped has been the birth of Elliot Einwechter last June 30.

“It’s definitely helpful having another baby around,” Jonathan says. “It’s good to see the numbers increasing.”