Eyes on the Prize

Innocent - Graduation.jpg

As I write this blog graduation is still fresh on my mind. This is why I think it’s appropriate to share with you the story of my academic journey. The main message of this story is not really about me bragging, but it is about a story of setting a long-term goal and walking towards that goal while keeping one’s eyes on the prize!

My academic seed was sowed in July of 1997 when I was with a colleague who was working with me for a road construction company.  At the time, I was a site manager and all I knew was building roads, but I was an evangelist at my Pentecostal church as well. My colleague received a phone call from his oldest brother who lived in Houston, Texas. I heard my colleague talking to his brother after they finished their conversation, he said that his brother was a Reverend Doctor! I asked him what that meant.  He told me that his brother was a pastor who had a doctorate in Ministry.

As an ambitious young evangelist who was hungry for learning I told my colleague that one day I would be trained and reach the highest degree in ministry education. Even though I was very ambitious I did not have a role model because my parents did not finish high school. My sister and I were the most educated of our nuclear family with high school diplomas! One would say that aiming for a doctorate was a wild dream since I did not have a role model, nor a mentor.

When I came to the United States, I was thirty-one years old and I knew that the opportunity of reaching the land of the free would open an opportunity to achieve my academic dream. I set my goal to reach my doctorate in ministry before my forty-fifth birthday. Since I was clear with my goal, I made sure to follow my heart and made steps that would ensure that I focused on my goal. As a result, I majored in Pastoral Ministry in undergraduate, Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry.

Many things happened as I was walking towards my goal. In life we experience pleasant and unpleasant experiences and I experienced both. Some people think that Pastors are immune to certain hardships of life but this is far from facts. When I started my academic journey, I was a married young-man with one daughter. By the time I achieved my goal I am divorced with four precious children. Even though my family endured so much heartbreak, I never gave up on my dream. When one has a big dream, circumstances may delay it, but they won't kill it. I remember working so hard on my final project proposal and when my marriage fell apart in 2016, I had to start over due to change of appointments in the midst of working on my project proposal. I started a different project and I worked harder despite the heart-wrenching situation I was experiencing.

In conclusion I would say that God does not finish with us as long as we are still breathing. There are times we experience heartbreak and setbacks, but when we chose to keep our eyes on the prize we can still achieve our dreams. We achieve dreams through hardworking, self-discipline, having a clear vision of where we are going and knowing the goal we set to achieve. I will forever be grateful to everyone who supported me on my academic journey.

~ Innocent

Innocent Justice