Sunday, January 24, 2010

Anicet's Story

I’d like to share a story which I hope will inspire you as much as it inspired me.
It is a story of courage, determination and, most of all, faith. It is the story of a man named Anicet, who came to America to follow a dream.

His family and friends in Africa had helped him gather enough money for the trip and a short stay, but with poor language skills and no references he was having a hard time securing a job. His dream was to become a Christian minister, so he was hoping to find a job in a church, and was willing to take on even the most menial job.

We agreed to meet, simply to have a meditation together and talk further. We scheduled to meet at 9:00 pm two days later.

The evening we were supposed to meet, he called me around about 8pm and asked for directions to my house from a nearby drugstore. I only live about five minutes away from the drugstore, so I expected him to show up soon. Forty-five minutes went by. Finally, I went outside on the porch to see if I could see him driving through, thinking he had probably missed the house; I was only outside for a couple of minutes before my hands were frozen stiff; it was a very cold night in January, one of those very unusual times when Father Winter notices North Carolina is on the map. I was ready to go back inside, when in the distance I spotted a little black man, walking resolutely, and realized it was him. Anicet walked in, took his hat and jacket off, and politely asked for a glass of water. When I asked him why he hadn’t parked in front of my house, he simply replied that he didn’t have a car and had walked all the way from Cary.

I was stunned! North Raleigh is a good twenty to thirty minutes drive from Cary. He explained that he had left his house that afternoon, and that he wasn’t going to miss the meeting just because he didn’t have a car. We talked that night, and then met again on a few more occasions. The last time I saw him he said that he had understood what God had wanted him to understand - his mission, he said, was to find a way to preach about the unity of all religions.

After that, I didn’t hear from him for about a year. He called me again this past summer, just to update me on his progress.

He did, finally, find a job in a church in Cary, and the gentleman who hired him also helped him enroll in several courses, including one to improve his language skills and a few theological ones. He is very happy now, and feels that he is working toward the vision that God sent him.

What truly touched me about his story are the strength of his faith and the fire of determination inside of him, as he overcame tangible obstacles to follow his dreams, and fought against all odds to achieve what he believed in.

Sometimes, when I don’t feel motivated, all I have to do is think about this little great man, about his courage and faith, and suddenly I feel like I can get a lot more accomplished in my day.