Dan’s Heritage

My heritage takes me to the heart of Africa in the country known today as the Congo.

My father and mother, Arthur and Florence, were among several single pioneer missionaries who followed their love for God and their passion to help the less fortunate, and traveled by freighter to the Belgian Congo, Africa in the mid 1930’s.

Congo
Dad had grown up on a farm in rural Minnesota. The early death of his father caused him to drop out of school and work the family farm. Dad later trained to be a minister, and when the opportunity came to volunteer for a new challenge, Dad responded with a “yes, I’ll go”. A builder, a hunter and an overall adventurer, my father loved the challenge of the life and work of a missionary. Before automobiles were readily available, Dad used his bicycle to travel from one area in the Congo to the next seeking to establish churches, schools and hospitals.

Mom was born in Nebraska, trained as a teacher and nurse and had originally wanted to be a medical missionary in China. The political unrest in the 1930’s prohibited my mother from going there. When the missionary work in the Belgian Congo began, with the Evangelical Covenant Church of America, she traveled first to Belgium to learn to speak French and study tropical medicine. She arrived in the Congo in 1936. She initially traveled into Congolese villages and set up medical clinics with the use of a “pous-pous”, a flat bed balanced on a single wheel that was pushed and pulled by Congolese. She fell in love with mothers and their babies. She brought physical and spiritual healing into many lives.

In 1938 she met my father; they fell in love and eventually returned to the United States to be married in May of 1941. I am the last of three children born to Arthur and Florence. We grew up in a world of nature……beauty……excitement……wonder……adventure……where we had to create our own fun as there wasn’t anything that resembled “modern” for hundreds of miles. Every four years we would pack our suitcases and travel to the United States for one year, to raise financial support for the missionary work, and to purchase clothing and food supplies for the following four years.

I watched my father and mother care for the physical and spiritual needs of the Congolese who became our “family”. My father became a coach to Congolese pastors. My mother became a coach to the wives of the pastors, teaching them how to read and care for their children.

After completing high school in Chicago, I spent a year in Brussels, Belgium where I studied French in order to attend the Free University of the Congo for my first year of university. As the only white, male student living in the dormitory I learned to appreciate the intellect of the African student in a way I had never been exposed to before.

After completing a Masters Degree in Social Work at the University of Connecticut in 1975, I have had many opportunities to companion men, women, and children in their journey of recovery from past hurts. Click here to view Dan’s professional resume.) As my father lived out his passion before me, I have had the unique privilege of:

  • envisioning and developing a Vibrant Program for single adults in a local church
  • establishing and expanding a Successful Private Practice in counseling during the past 19 years
  • establishing a Specialized Non-profit Program for low income one-parent families in our Blue Water Area
  • developing a mentoring program for boys being raised without a father
  • pursuing my passion for baking bread by developing a licensed bakery to be a source of revenue for the non-profit Ministry
  • assisting in the development of a mentoring program for single moms
Presently, my coaching practice allows me to also work with individuals who don’t necessarily need healing in their lives. Author Gary R. Collins states; these people “are ready to expand their vision, build their confidence, unlock their potential, increase their skills, and take practical steps toward their goals”.
I can remember as a child playing in the deep foundations that my father dug for each of the houses he built. It was like running in an underground labyrinth where we would play tag. He would say “you have to make the foundation secure before you can start building your house upon it”. In Central Africa the concern was the infestation of termites that would eat away at the wood in the house. Today we face multiple barriers to the establishment of abundant lives. Busy schedules and demands that drain precious energy at home and work can rob us of the joy we would like to celebrate in life.

Two passages from the Bible that address the importance of God as the builder and architect of our lives are:

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to build upon the foundation my parents established for me. I have always sought out the wisdom of older men and women to strengthen my foundation in order to be prepared to meet the challenges in each season of my life. Today, with coaching tools such as effective listening, powerful questioning and direct communication, I am able to help interested clients reach life goals that up to the present time may have felt unattainable.