So I have a story to tell about a man name Daniel. I do not think that was his given name at birth because he was born to a Muslim family. I think this is the Christian name he chose which is very common. I have learned that when a Muslim converts to Christianity they change their name. To me, it reminds me of the old Christian hymn that says “I have a new name written down in glory and it is mine, oh yes it is mine.”
Daniel joined the team of Sight.org in September, 2014. He is from the West African country, Liberia, where Ebola broke out March, 2014. Fortunately Daniel had already planned to leave Liberia in hopes of joining another missionary field service with Mercy Ships. The ship had announced it would come to Benin in August, 2014. So Daniel set out on his journey by faith traveling with barely enough money to eat, he crossed four countries to meet up with four other friends, who were also waiting for the floating hospital to arrive. Unfortunately due to the outbreak of Ebola to Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, the ship changed course. By the time Daniel had reached Benin he was penniless and stranded. He could not even return to his own country because of the great risk of Ebola contamination. Daniel became a refugee.
This was not the first time Daniel had been separated from his country. In fact it would be the third time. The first time was when he was two years old, during the first Liberian Civil War from 1989 to 1997. Daniel’s father was in the military so the rebel forces hunted him and his family, and the whole family had to flee or be executed. There was a false sense of security for a two-year period before the second Liberian Civil War broke out in 1999 and lasted until 2003. There were over 250,000 dead and one million people lost and displaced. This was the case of Daniel. His family managed to flee into Sierra Leone but Daniel became lost from his family as they ran. Daniel was only 12 years old.
After the war ended Daniel tried to return to Liberia in search of his family. As he wandered, he was drawn to a church where he heard the playing and singing of worship music. It was through the worship of music that Daniel converted from Islam to Christianity. He became a foster child of a school teacher. After a few years he was reunited with his mother.
In 2005, Daniel worked for Mercy Ships and quickly felt the call to service of his fellow man. It became his dream to become a missionary and share the Gospel of Christ through worship music.
Daniel’s journey is just beginning. In 2014, when Daniel was supposed to work with Mercy Ships again and the ship did not come, he was discouraged. One night, he had a dream that he was holding a broom. He woke up and knew that this was a vision of what he was supposed to do. In his culture, it is not common for a man to hold a broom, but that did not deter him. When I met him, I gave him some random jobs to do for the team, including sweeping the compound. Most men would be offended at being given this job, but Daniel remembered his dream, and swept happily. He may have missed the ship but he had faith. God lead him away from Liberia before Ebola broke out. Waiting in just the next country of Togo, was Sight.org, in need of volunteers just like Daniel, who would give up everything to follow Christ’s direction.
Daniel is also a great cook. He learned how to cook on Mercy Ships, which means he is really good at cooking American food but not African food, and that makes us laugh. He enjoys cooking and serving others. He is a humble servant who doesn’t mind holding a broom or a plate of food in order to move forward God’s work.
In many ways, I see similarities between our Daniel and Daniel in the Bible. They both lived in captivity and are both faithful men of God who have wisdom and understanding. He picked a good name.
Daniel has experienced the dark and now that he has experienced light, he is passionate about THE LIGHT. He is overflowing with God’s love.