Alex Michel, a pastor at Encounter Church in Honolulu, died Sunday morning of injuries sustained when he was struck by an electric motorcycle in the Ewa Beach area Friday morning.
The Honolulu Police Department reported that at about 10:08 a.m., a 51-year-old man was jogging on Fort Weaver Road when he was hit by a Sur-Ron electric dirt bike ridden by a 20-year-old man. The jogger was transported to an area hospital where he later died.
In a phone call Monday evening, Wayne Cordeiro, founder of the New Hope network of churches, which includes Encounter, identified Michel as the jogger and confirmed his death.
“He was loved so much,” Cordeiro said.
“Alex had a fabulous family in his wife Jennifer (Canaya-Michel) and four children,” he said, “and he was one of our most valued teachers in New Hope’s Pacific Rim University, where he mentored and advised many young people who looked up to him. He touched thousands of lives here in Hawaii and internationally.”
The loss of Michel, Cordeiro added, was “challenging to process,” as he was “such a huge part of our lives.”
Known as “the surfing pastor,” Michel ministered in a video in which he compares surfing to living a fulfilling, devout life.
Speaking from Ala Moana Regional Park, interspersed with footage of him executing bottom turns and off-the-lips on his shortboard, pulling into a barrel and exchanging happy greetings with other oceangoers, a smiling Michel compares a wave’s power to that of God.
He urges people to give up a compulsion to control, and instead let themselves follow with the flow of the wave for a glorious ride through life.
On his Facebook page, the Los Angeles native was lauded and commemorated as a devoted family man and constant source of comfort and support to all who knew him.
“He (made) everyone he met feel like the most important person in the room,” wrote Honolulu resident Rachel Morley, adding she saw Michel by chance last week in a parking lot.
“I was having a hard day and somehow he told me exactly what I needed to hear,” she wrote, “about how he had just heard my new song and how much he loved it.”
JonCyndi Burgess of Kailua remembered shooting a video at New Hope Oahu in 2018 where Michel “led us through an authentic Passover Seder meal, this rich expression of the love of God ending up in a dance.”
In a phone call, Susan Nishida, a Honolulu internist who met Michel in an exercise boot camp four years ago, said his regular phone calls had helped her.
“I wasn’t a member of the church, but he knew I was having health issues. He said he would pray for me, and it made me feel better,” Nishida said.
“His impact has been unmeasurable,” Cordeiro said.