The untold story of Ervin

Ervin's fishing boat at the Kuskokwim river, Alaska. By Tony Homsy, S.J.
Ervin’s fishing boat at the Kuskokwim river, Alaska. By Tony Homsy, S.J.

Couple days ago, a small group of us was invited to spend time with a fisherman, nothing more than taking some B-rolls for our documentary. It sounds interesting, we asked for life jackets, but we were more worry about our fancy equipments than our lives, “People die in the river” said the driver who drove us into the meeting point…

Somehow, the 13th of June 2014, turned into one of the most joyful days in my life. All because of Ervin, a Yupik fisherman from Bethel. It wasn’t because of his photogenic look, neither the dramatic catch he have had. That day I met a preacher, not only a fisher for fish, but also for people (Mark 1: 17).

Ervin’s message was simple one; enjoy your life! It was so authentic,since the 12 hours we spent with him irradiated with joy, happiness and admiration. The key to experience this very moment was simple too: be open to surprises… Ready to take the ride, embracing the adventure, and take the risk to sail with anonymous man, because he has a lot to share you.

It still hard for me to describe that day, it is always hard to describe the mystical moments! I don’t believe that the evangelists were successful to describe the whole spiritual experience with Jesus, so I am with Ervin. It wasn’t about the fresh salmon we share, it all about his untold story.

When we went back, we tried to talk about him, somehow I found myself preaching about him, I wanted to transmit my own experience, but I always went out of words, speechless to describe Ervin’s generosity, openness to meet strangers by inviting them into his banquet. How I could tell about the way that he shares his gifts? His indifference toward what he has, not being afraid to lose them, for the sake of something more precious, “the accompany”, as he told us before we said goodbye.

The next day, we went to another fishing camp with the entire group, we had another lovely day, I remembered Ervin’s stories. I wanted for my friends to meet him in person, I was looking around everywhere wondering if I may cross by him, we passed by tens of fishing boats… And I looked at the tiny harbor of Kuskokwim river, the same place where we met Ervin… He wasn’t there…

Eventually, I realized that God wanted to send me a message by my new friend Ervin, he wants me to enjoy my life, and embrace it as Ervin does. I will always remember my friend, and the unforgettable day, the day I forgot to post my daily Instagram post, and to share my dairies of this trip on Facebook, maybe because I found a deeper source of joy in the 13th of June and then…

Tony Homsy S.J.

About Tony Homsy S.J.

Tony is a Syrian Jesuit from the Middle East Province, he is 29 years old and is the webmaster for his Province's website. After he graduated from University of Aleppo in Bio-chemistry department, he joined the Society, spending two years Cairo, Egypt, after which he studied philosophy and Arab Civilization in Beirut, Lebanon. He is currently a student at Creighton University in Omaha where he studies Digital Journalism and Computer Science. Besides studying, Tony spends time on photography translating to and from Arabic.

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