The small bootblack polished away with enthusiasm. He liked his work—turning a pair of scruffy leather shoes into a shining work of art. He liked the men who called him by name, sat in his chair, and buried their noses in the morning newspaper. He especially liked the little foreign man with the funny accent.

His friendly, “Today, how you are?” let him know this man really cared how he was. What the bootblack did not know was that the man with the funny accent was from Soviet Georgia and held three earned doctoral degrees. He just kept polishing away happily.

The day came when the unhappy Ph.D. could stand it no longer. Looking down at the bootblack working so cheerfully and enthusiastically on his shoes, and thinking on his own inner misery, he put down his paper.

“Why always you so happy?” he asked.

Surprised, the bootblack paused in his polishing, sat back on his heels, scratched his head thoughtfully for a moment, then said simply, “Jesus. He loves me. He died so God could forgive my badness. He makes me happy.”

The newspaper snapped up around the face of the professor and the bootblack went back to polishing his shoes.

But the brilliant professor could not escape those simple words. They were what brought him eventually to the Savior.

Years later, my husband’s college major was anthropology. His beloved and admired professor was the renowned Dr. Alexander Grigolia, who found God through the simple testimony of a bootblack those many years before.

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