In the early 2000’s, my home church started a “Praise Night”, first a collection of talent from within the community to bring our community closer together, that later transformed more into an outreach program being more gospel-centric. In 2007 after I returned from college, and started serving on the leadership team there. One of my main focuses that year was that I felt the the core leadership team needed to take a step back from running admin on tons of events and giving more attention on the spiritual health of the community, and doing few things really well. At one of the monthly meetings, I announced to our youth group that unless other people are going to step up in bearing the leadership burden then we would postpone Praise Night for that year. My good friend Binil Samuel and a few others stepped up and said they’d take on the responsibility.
Shortly thereafter, on August 6, 2007, Binil was involved in a hit-and-run accident with a drunk driver and passed away. His passing shook our community greatly, and after some discussion it was decided to cancel Praise Night for that year, as many were not emotionally ready to go on with the event.
3 years later, it was finally decided to start it up again, and it was such a blessing. It was decided that all proceeds from the event would go to the Binil Samuel Memorial Fund, which helps the children in the NavJeevan Centre in Mumbai, India. Though it was the first Praise Night where I wasn’t involved in the planning or acts themselves, I was blessed enough to serve as the photographer for the event. It was great for me to just see everything for the “first time” and be entertained with the rest of the community. Here’s a little glimpse into the night, with more pictures on my personal facebook page (feel free to friend me if you can’t see them or comment! :))