Stories

Deep Roots in Nigeria

Aug 12, 2014

Claire Rogers

Daniel has an infectious smile and the rare ability to make acquaintances instantly feel as if they have known him for years. He is charismatic, upbeat and charming. Daniel’s joy is contagious, built on a personal faith that guides his heart and mind – not only forming his character but also shaping his interests. Daniel is a well-respected leader, a man of integrity in his community in Jos, Nigeria. He is trustworthy and wise – families in the community often turn to him for advice. He serves as an elder in his church, and he is deeply passionate about caring for orphans and vulnerable children and speaking truth and life into those around him.

Now, Daniel serves as the Director of Back2Back Nigeria, but before joining staff, he was working for the state government in a stable, yet unfulfilling job. He was passionate about serving children and longed for an outlet to give back to his community. “I began volunteering with Back2Back Nigeria and it was there that I discovered true purpose in serving orphans.” says Daniel.

Since Daniel joined staff, orphan care has become a family affair. Daniel visits children’s homes during the week and leads community-wide orphan care initiatives. His wife, Evelyn, leads Bible studies for the children in the evening. The family opens their home, welcoming orphans in the community to stay with them. Orphan care is not just a job for Daniel – it is a way of life.

Daniel is passionate about children – both the orphans he serves and his two sons at home. His eyes light up when he talks about five-year-old, Daniel Jr and two-year old, Nofki. Daniel’s faith and love for family has deep roots. His father was a pastor and missionary – a strong influence on him from a young age. Daniel has always had a heart to help orphaned children understand the Father’s love, but it wasn’t until the sudden loss of his father in his teens that he experienced the depth of God’s comfort and grace. As the oldest child, he was faced with the responsibility of caring for his family.

Looking back, he remembers his faith carrying him through that season of his life. “I know what it’s like go without shoes, to be hungry and in need, but I also saw God provide,” he explains. He was determined to not let obstacles prevent him from pursuing the dreams God laid on his heart. “I didn’t have money for school fees, but I found side jobs to earn money and put myself through school. I studied computer programming at university but didn’t own my own computer to practice, so instead I memorized the code and worked harder to succeed.” He can empathize with the children he serves, but also recognizes he is in a unique position to share with them about God’s provision.

Daniel’s grit and determination is evident in his hands-on approach to leadership – visiting the children at each home weekly, checking in on widows in the community and tending to those who are sick. He teaches a leadership training program and heads up a sustainable farming initiative. At one point, the locals were facing setbacks and struggling to produce crops. Daniel could be seen out in the fields helping. He is not afraid to roll up his sleeves and get his hands dirty.

Daniel is passionate about pursuing excellence in orphan care, ensuring that Back2Back Nigeria staff is living out best practices.  His overriding ambition is to see Nigerian culture advance in orphan care practices, bringing hope and change to the children he loves.

“Daniel acts as a bridge for Back2Back, bringing Nigerian caretakers to a place where they can understand orphan care ideas and implement them in a way that is culturally relevant,” shares Corrie Guckenberger, Back2Back staff member. “Daniel is invaluable because his strong Biblical worldview allows him to think big picture and then translate orphan care concepts in a way that staff can receive, believe and enact. He has a deep love for not only the children we serve, but also his community in Jos, Nigeria.”

 

 

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