Those who know Daniel Robinson know him to be a loving husband, father, and friend. But perhaps few know the trials and sin struggles Daniel persevered through and overcame in his life before coming to Bellevue. His story with Jesus began in 2004, when he was 23 years old and at the lowest point of his life.
Daniel was walking the broad, well-worn road. His dad passed away when he was nine, and he ran wild outside the supervision of his mother. As he grew older, a series of choices continued to lead him down a difficult path. He burned bridges in relationships with his family and friends, leaving him with no place to live. By the time he was 23, his situation seemed hopeless.
It was then that one of Daniel’s remaining friends dropped him off at Memphis Union Mission, a ministry that tends to the physical, spiritual, and emotional needs of those who are homeless, addicted, and in crisis. Daniel knew they talk about God there and that it is run by Christians.
“I kind of had in the back of my mind that it’d be a good place to go,” Daniel shared. “I thought there might be some kind of big change that I could make in my life because I knew that what I was doing at that point was not working. But, of course, I needed a place to stay, too.”
At the mission, there are church services during lunch and dinner, so those staying there sit through Gospel messages in order to get food. “There’s a lot of Gospel being preached when you’re there,” Daniel said. “You can’t really avoid that. You’re either going to make a decision to reject God, or you’re going to make the other decision to accept God.”
For Daniel, the time for that decision came within two weeks of his being at the mission. Though he still had many questions and wrestled with making sense of the Bible, Daniel said, “I came to a point where I saw something in the other Christians there that I just really wanted. That motivated me to take a step of faith and trust the Lord with my life.”
God began the process of transforming Daniel, conforming him into the image of Jesus.
While still at the Memphis Union Mission, Daniel became a cook and found joy in serving with all his heart. Later, he went back to school to get his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting. He said having a career really helped him walk in freedom.
After finishing school, Daniel began to intentionally seek out Christian community and discipleship. And after reconnecting with the Memphis Union Mission for a time, the Lord guided him to start attending Bellevue. Since then, Daniel has been able to love and serve countless people. Considering his own background, he particularly has a heart for those whom society overlooks.
“I just always had a heart for those kinds of people that can’t fit in with society,” Daniel shared. “A lot of that comes from being at the homeless shelter because the people there are kind of outcasts. In the world’s eyes, they’re the most gone. They have the least chance, statistically, to overcome the mental health issues or the drug and alcohol addictions. But I feel like, as Christ-followers, it’s up to us to have hope where others don’t.”
God has redeemed Daniel's past. The burned bridges, the broken relationships, and the feelings of hopelessness—God is using it all. Daniel has experienced the power of Christ in his life and desires to see others who might feel hopeless come to know Jesus. He continues to have hope for, believe in, and pray for the vulnerable people in our society. He is living proof of the miracle that happens when the Church actively works to extend the hope of Christ to those who need it most.
There are currently an estimated 1,055 homeless persons in Shelby County (Source: cafth.org), and 22.6% of Memphis residents are living below the poverty line (Source: CensusReporter.org, 2021). This means there are plenty of opportunities for the Church to step up and provide resources and hope to those who are in need.
Bellevue’s 2022 Love Offering is For Life. Learn more about this initiative and how you can get involved at bellevue.org/love-offering.