Daniel’s childhood was ended at age 12. His parents were going through a divorce, and as a result, his Father committed suicide. What could a 12 year old have done? He blamed himself and decided that God did not care about him. Within months, his mother remarried and Daniel began trying to prove himself to his step-father. That was his motivation for being a football player and wrestler, and joining the Marines Corps.
In the Marine Corps on his first day on the job in Lebanon, an incident occurred that took his entire platoon out, except himself. He was wrecked with survivors’ guilt and continued believing God didn’t care about him. He said, “I wanted to be the best Marine I could be, and I was. I won a lot of awards. While in the Corps., I was able to travel to 13 different countries, and serve my country for six years.”
After the Corps, Daniel came back to Nebraska where he started his own business, met his beautiful wife, and had two children with her. However, the death of his father and Marine Corps brothers continued to cast a dark shadow, leading him to self-medicate with alcohol. His wife eventually divorced him due to his drinking habits. As a result, Daniel traded in his alcohol addiction for meth.
“I started using meth because I can’t sleep when I’m high. When I don’t sleep, I don’t have dreams.” His continued use started a spiral. “I had nice possessions, money, my own business, wife, kids, and I flushed all of that away.”
Daniel admits there were two turning points in his addiction. The first was when his first grandbaby was stillborn. Although it was another reason to believe that God did not care about him, he decided if his daughter could go through such an awful experience, he could sober up. The other half of his turning point came when Daniel’s daughter stopped allowing him to see his granddaughters, saying she didn’t want him to treat them how he treated her.
Daniel was soon arrested for drug possession and put in jail. Through a series of experiences, Daniel found the Lord. “I didn’t know what was going to happen, but I was going to be okay. Through the rest of that time, I couldn’t stop smiling.”
Daniel’s life was soon turned upside down. He was diagnosed with charcot foot (a condition that weakens the bones) at the same time that he was released from jail. He had nowhere to go and no idea how to take care of his diagnosis. He also knew that if he went to the streets, he’d start using again. The jail called Open Door Mission and soon he found a home.
“I thought the Mission would be a dirty place with a bunch of people laying around.” He goes on to say, “I was so wrong. All I had was a pair of shoes, a shirt, and sweatpants. I lost everything, but most importantly I lost my pride. I wanted to be able to look people in the eye again. The Mission has saved my life. I cannot fully say what this place has done for me. They have given me food, clothes, a home, and medical care. Most importantly, I have a relationship with God.”
At the end of last year, Daniel recognized he needed to be baptized. “I want a seat on the bus,” he said. He was baptized on December 3rd by the Mission’s own Pat McKernan. “I have never experienced anything like that. I felt lighter, and my sins were taken away.”
Since then, his left foot will soon amputated along with his right leg, knee down. Daniel had a hard time understanding why when he was unsaved he was healthy, but as soon as he was saved, he became so unhealthy. He explained his frustrations to Pat McKernan who responded “Maybe God walked you to the Mission so God could go with you on this journey.”
“Because of the Mission, I have been supported from day one. They trusted me when I doubted myself. I have earned trust and respect back. And, I can look people in the eye.” He goes on to say, “I hope and pray my story can somehow let people know there is a better way.” Thank you, Daniel for sharing your story with us.