There have been many people who have impacted, and influenced my life. To try to name all of them would be impractical. Not to mention the length of a novel. I wish to bring attention to a group of people. A group of people who have shaped me into who I am. The top ten influential people of my life.
First and foremost is my lovely wife Marie. She has been the glue that holds my unstable self together. When we started dating I had a beard that stretched an impressive 7 inches long. And yet, she was still able to see who I was, and fell in love with me. She is so carring, and has helped me to see the world as a wonderful place, instead of the dark, ominous, painful world I once thought it was. She revealed to me the importance of self worth, and loves me for who I am. I love her so much. She is the most influential person in my life.
The number two spot belongs to my parents. Mom showed me the urgency behind knowledge, and an education. She was my teacher from 6th – 12th grade after all. She taught me how to absorb facts and deal with my long time arch nemesis… math. She stood by me in times of uncertainty and trouble. Dad drilled into my head the importance of finding work and doing a good job at it. Nothing short of excellence was acceptable, and I commend him for that. He always wanted me to put fourth my best effort. And that showed me that he cared enough to tell me how to get the job done, and impress the man on top. my parents made sure that I was raised in the ways of the Lord, and because of there direction, I have my eternal destination secured. Thanks mom and dad.
The number 3 spot is held by my grandmother. Grandma Maude, was a very Loving lady. Sunday afternoons at her home were among the best. She taught me proper Grammer, manners, and strengthened my Christianity. She awoken the artist within, and encouraged me that I could be all I could with God as my strength. I miss you Grandma.
Next on the list comes number four. This one was so hard to call, it ended in a tie. While at Elim Bible Institue, there were two instructors who really influenced me. John Miller, and Bishop Turner. Brother John helped to show me the importance of the written word. And became a mentor for me during the Summers I spent at E.B.I. Bishop Turner was a radical teacher, he wasn’t going to spoon feed any of his students, he would make us work for the answers, and made sure that we knew what we believed, how to defend it, and not be “a bootleg Christian”.
Spot five belongs to the best man at my wedding. Kenneth McQuiller. A lively fellow with a passion for all things sports. Hearing this man preach at Elim was almost like listening to a broadcast of ESPN. He influenced and helped me in so many ways that not to many people can boast. Even in my darkest of times, this man had the compassion to give sound advice, sympathy, and prayer. When things were not so dreary I had many a fun time in his dorm room with his room mate Jordan Jewell, who coincidentally has slot number six.
Jordan Jewell is a practical man with a heart after Jesus. Perhaps one of the most devout Christians I have ever met. He was also my R.A. during my Senior year at Elim. Cadre meetings with him were challenging, he always kept me on my toes, and as soon as I dropped my guard he was there in my face with thought provoking questions about myself, and my relationship with Jesus. He made sure to keep me sharp. He has no idea how much I needed those times.
The seventh spot is held by “he, who will not be mentioned”. No, I am not talking about Lord Voldermort. When I first meet this man, he was sitting on a curb, pouting. He looked clearly annoyed, and generally in a bad mood. That was August 31st, 2008. The man who forever altered my life. Were it not for him, and the crazy and sometimes stupid things he did, I would not have become the man who I am today. Sometimes (and I stress sometimes) just being around him was a Spiritual awakening. Due to his close proximity, He helped me though the highest of good times, and the darkest of valleys. My time at Elim could have been the worst time of my life thus far were it not for the mighty prayer warrior who was my roommate.
#8 on the list breaks the rules a little. It is not held by one person, but by three. Peter Donato, Andrew (zoo) Rinaldi, and Jed Nelson. These the guys are the reason I will have a book on the best seller list one day. During the summer of 2009, I was working as a landscaper at Elim Bible Institute to help finance my school bill. Jed mentioned one day that the beard on my face made me look like the character “Quint” from Jaws. I originally fought the idea, but when Pete and Zoo joined in, I had to do something. So one night while alone in my room, I penned my greatest joke. I called it…chapter one. After I had written chapter one, a strange urge to write more washed over me. The story continued to grow over the next year, until the story was now a book. Thank you boys…thank you. Quite an influence indeed.
Number nine on the list of the top ten comes James Holt. James, or Jim to his friends, was the single greatest form of stability during my freshman year at Elim. He would pour into me every time he thought I needed it. He really drove it home to me, that my life was not about me, but rather, it was about Jesus. Jim, was there when no one else was, and to make things better, he was just down the hall. Freshman year was a scary time, and I had not yet made the already mentioned friends. Jim was always ready to help. Always willing to help. Thank you Jim, thank you.
Finishing up this list of the ten most influential people in my life, comes Watson. Daniel Watson, was perhaps the most irritating man I had ever meet. Probably because he is too much like my self. There was a time when I despised that man. My arrogance blinded me from what a valuable friend that he would eventually become. The man was always ready to drop what he was doing, and build my battered self back up after a hard day of battle. He helped me to feel with my spirit, and see with my soul. He was so influential that I was sometimes able to see into the realm of the spiritual.