I met Daniel Mwasa November 1994 in a crowd of young men fishing in Lake Victoria.
Daniel stood tall above the rest. If I were a college basketball recruiter, I’d have signed the twenty-five-year-old because of his physical stature. I later learned Daniel couldn’t hit the side of the Boston Garden with a basketball. What impressed me, however, was Daniel’s stature of heart. His questions outweighed his answers to life, and he was searching for something eternal.
Daniel began attending Bible studies in his village, Musima, and about a year later he committed his life to Christ. And Christ has changed Daniel’s life dramatically. “I used to visit bars at night,” Daniel said. Since becoming a Christian, Daniel stays with his family at night. Now, he often travels into town to buy his wife a new dress or a new shirt for one of his children.
He and his wife, Nabirye, walk more than two miles to every church meeting, and Daniel always comes prepared to teach in the church from the Bible.
I like Daniel’s simple and straight-forward life: he lives in a two room hut with his wife and three children (one is named Jill, after my wife). “Many people want the city life,” Daniel said. “Not me. I want to live here in the village with my family and be a farmer.”
Daniel puts his energy into caring for his family, growing a great garden, selling the produce, and telling others about Jesus. His favorite topic to speak about in the church is from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount–we are a light, a city set on a hill to shine in darkness.
One day Daniel offered me some advice about how to lose weight: “Stop eating so much,” he said. I glared at him. He smiled and shrugged then laughed the classic jolly green giant style laugh: “Huh, huh, huh.” We have always ribbed each other and enjoy it going both directions.
When I think of Daniel, I remember why I went to Uganda.