How One Man's Life Has Shaped Many Others

 Written by Stephanie Eitzen

Written by Stephanie Eitzen

Over the course of our life, we are marked by pivotal moments, big and small. We all have pivotal moments, even if we don’t realize it at the time. These are times that we can look back on and see how our lives are different from that moment on. But what we don't normally talk about are pivotal people. 

Pivotal people are those who bring about pivotal moments. They come into your life and open a door of opportunity for you or help change the direction of your life. Things begin to change and progress in amazing ways that, without that pivotal person, would not be possible. And I don't know about you, but if I think back on my life I can think of my own pivotal people who have made sacrifices for me, who have helped me, and who have supported me. We all have pivotal people in our lives and we all have the chance to be a pivotal person for someone else. 

For me, a man named Kenneth has been a pivotal person in my life. However, that did not happen by chance. Rather, he was influenced by pivotal people in his life and the seeds that they sewed have blessed mine. Kenneth was born and raised in Cameroon, West Africa. At the age of five, Kenneth had big dreams. He wanted to become a doctor to heal the sick, he wanted to get married and provide for his own family, and he wanted to help others improve their lives... but there was one problem…or rather a number of problems. As a child, Kenneth did not have the opportunities that you and I inherently have in America. He grew up in a poor village and his family’s resources were stretched thin between him and his five siblings. When Kenneth was only nine-years-old, his father died, and his family plunged into poverty. His mom could not support the entire family and he had to drop out of grade school because they couldn’t pay his tuition. He couldn't get needed medical care, and although he was just a young boy, he had to start working to help his family make ends meet. 

For many years, Kenneth was unsure of what would happen to those dreams that he once had. Through the help of different sponsors, things began to change for him and he was given another chance at life. I’m not talking about sponsors through an organization, you see, these sponsors were people he knew who saw his need and said"I want to help this child. I want to be a pivotal person in his life," and because of them Kenneth's basic needs were provided for. 

Kenneth did not just love learning, he knew the importance of education and how it would help him break out of the cycle of poverty and fulfill his dreams. After having to drop out of school, Kenneth would sit outside the classrooms and try to listen to the lectures through the windows. He was soon discovered by a school teacher who had compassion on him and took him into his home (which was much closer to school) and paid his tuition. If Kenneth got sick, he had a family friend who made sure he was taken to the doctor. One of his uncles saw how Kenneth was succeeding in school and sponsored him to come to the U.S. so he could pursue his dreams of becoming a doctor. Kenneth had an old childhood friend who saw the talent he had and she didn't want his life wasting away. So, even though she herself was struggling, she helped to get him into a university in Texas by paying the application fee, filling out the form for him, and acting as an advocate, as a pivotal person, to help open the door of opportunity for him.

All of these people drastically impacted Kenneth’s life in different ways which led him down a path where he became a Christian, founded Shaping Destiny and finished medical school in Texas. He is now a practicing medical doctor in the US and is actively involved with Shaping Destiny. Shaping Destiny is an orphan care and leadership development organization in Cameroon, Africa created to inspire and empower people to shape their destinies. Kenneth continues to seek out ways to be a pivotal person in the lives of others and to give back to those who are still living the difficult life he once lived.

Dr. Kenneth Acha is a product of his sponsorship, leadership development, and of pivotal people stepping in and changing his life. Kenneth's life wasn't the only life transformed, many other's have been changed, including mine. Kenneth has poured into my life and mentored me through the work we do with Shaping Destiny.  As a result of his experiences and how he’s seen the importance of education, leadership, and family, we get to care for orphans in a more holistic way. This enables us to get to the root of the orphan crisis and inspire and empower people to shape their destinies and the destinies of those around them.

To learn more about Shaping Destiny and their work to educate and empower vulnerable children and families, check out their website here!