Widler Pierre: Pursuing the Land of Liberty at Nyack College

It’s that time of year in America when life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness might be easily taken for granted. Encounter someone like Widler Pierre, who is familiar with a deficiency in unalienable rights, then one’s attitude of entitlement is dwarfed.

An international student from Haiti, Widler’s testimony is a reminder of the words, “God shed His grace on thee, and crown thy good with brotherhood.” His desire was to pursue education in the United States and after exploring a friend’s suggestion, specifically at Nyack College.

He says, “I took a glimpse at the nyack.edu website and I fell in love. I knew Nyack was the right place for me after seeing its mission statement and the core values. However, I was still waiting on God for guidance. Knowing that I would come to a place that values diversity and my personal spiritual condition, seriously I could not ask for better. I knew God had found me a new home far from home.”

“I went to the embassy for my visa appointment and I was granted the visa…at first. I went home to my family and we were happy because it was quite a special moment. I bought my tickets to leave soon and was moving to the next step in the planning process. Well, that was the plan. I received a call from the embassy the next day. I was summoned to another interview. I went to the interview confused, knowing that it is unusual to be summoned for a second interview by the embassy after being granted a visa.”

Widler was struck with heart-stopping news. “The lady who was my interviewer promptly said, after making sure I was Widler Pierre, ‘I am sorry, but you are not eligible to go study in the U.S.A.’” A dejected Widler Pierre was given no further explanation for this sudden reversal.

“I went home covered with frustration and confusion. We sometimes forget that to surrender it all to God should always be the option. For once in my life, I could not even try to approach the idea of coming up with solutions. On my way back home, I started praying. I realized the Lord had to break me down, so I could go to Him instead of relying on myself. Even while praying, I was doubtful that the situation could be amended. I was ashamed of myself to see how my faith was destroyed by just one interview.”

Just as difficult as receiving the news was the job of telling his family about the shocking turn of events. “I did not know how to break the news to my mother (pictured above with Widler).  She was doing laundry because I had to fly soon. She quickly noticed my facial expression and instantly knew something undesirable was happening. I had even forgotten the faithful woman she is and for a moment, I thought she was losing it considering the response she gave me when I broke the news to her. She looked at me and said, ‘Son, I am just going to keep doing laundry because you don’t belong here.’”

“When I asked if she heard what I said, she said, ‘Get on your knees. Let’s pray!’  It was not until halfway through her prayer that I realized the Lord always keeps His promises. I was encouraged by her faith and I was lifted as I went to the Lord for forgiveness, because I had downgraded my God. I was encouraged to see that Nyack College did not give up on me after being denied the visa. They supported me, prayed for me and with me and stood with me during the whole process.”

“I contacted some good friends from the Congregational Church in Detroit Lakes, MN. They did what I thought was impossible. They went above and beyond to contact a congressman and a senator to help somebody who is not from the USA. Both the congressman and the senator sent letters to the embassy on my behalf.”

Widler describes the third interview as follows:

“A male interviewer called my name. He asked, ‘Are you Widler Pierre, sir?’ I said, “Yes, sir.” Then he had me waiting for a bit, as he was signing some papers and then proceeded to tell me, ‘Here is your visa, sir.’”

With the overwhelming relief of experiencing the fulfilled promise of God, a joyous Widler shares, “I went back home and tried to prank my mother to make her think that I was not granted the visa, but her faith identified the prank right away. Her reaction was, ‘Come here!’ She gave me a big hug as she prayed over me.”

Not only did this trial by fire ignite a deeper sense of gratitude in Widler, but a new depth of humility.  He says, “I owe a lot to God because of Nyack College. Nyack College has helped me become the man I am today. A man who strives to treasure God. I value excellence and am passionate about helping others for the sake of God’s Kingdom. It is unfair to narrow down the God-given experience I am having at Nyack College in just a few words, because there is a ton I am thankful for. Nyack College, being intentionally diverse is certainly one of their core values I can identify with because I am an international student. Nyack College strives to transform people like me on a personal level that manufactures, nurtures imperative responsibilities within me to just do something, as little as it can be.”

The accounting major, who will enter his senior year in the fall, hopes to become an entrepreneur and will proudly promote the gospel and share his faith. Widler says, “Today I am eager, excited and willing to position myself to allow God to work through me. I want to thank all the professors, friends who became family and the personnel of Nyack College for blessing me with lifetime opportunities. Most important of all, Nyack College has nurtured dreams and aspirations in me on a whole other level. If I used to think only about helping the needy in Haiti, I now think on a global scale.”