by Ed Lyons
My friendship with Dan began in 2006 when I started working at Persecution Project Foundation. I soon learned that Dan had a heart the size of the state of Ohio, where he lived. He loved people. He loved children. And above everything else, He loved God!
It soon became apparent that Dan’s passion was evangelism. In 2011, Dan proposed that his church at Calvary Bible Chapel should sponsor a well in Africa. Of course, Dan wanted people to have access to clean, safe drinking water. But more importantly, he saw this as an opportunity for him to personally travel to Sudan so that he could hand a cup of cold water to someone who was thirsty and then share the love of God with that person.
Within a year, the church had raised the funds for the well drilling and there were a few other men from the church interested in going to Sudan. We ended up making that trip in the Spring of 2013, and Dan handed out his cup of cold water to a young child. But the thing that I remember most about that trip was something that came as a surprise.
We were visiting a nearby primary school and talking to the English teacher. She was from Pennsylvania and was serving as a missionary. Out of the blue, Dan asked her if she had any need for the Gospel of John books he had brought with him. The teacher immediately began crying. She told Dan that she had been praying for years that someone would bring Gospels of John so that she could use them in her class to help teach English to her students. With that announcement, Dan also began crying, which got the rest of us to tear up as well. He kept repeating, “I knew God wanted me to bring these books.”
It was at that moment that I knew I was standing in the presence of someone who had a very special relationship with the Lord. Not only did Dan hear from the Lord, but he was obedient. He may not have known why he was supposed to bring the Gospels of John, but he knew he was supposed to bring them, and that was enough.
I look forward to the day when I will see Dan again in the presence of our Lord. Until then, I will remember him whenever I hand another person a Bible or a cup of cold water in Jesus’ Name. Thank you, Dan, for your love for the persecuted and years of faithful partnership with PPF!