Student Spotlight: Dana Craft
Master of Arts (Biblical and Theological Studies) Student, Missionary in Guatemala
Knox MABTS student, Dana Craft, came to Knox with a passion for ministering to God’s people in Guatemala and an even bigger story of what God did in his life in triumphing over tragedy.
Born in Michigan, Dana was raised in the church by Christian parents and was baptized at the age of ten in the United Methodist Church. From a young age he has known Christ, been involved in sports at the youth and collegiate level, and says that he knew Jesus but didn’t know the grace of God. After graduating from the University of Florida, he went on to have a successful career as a book illustrator but was repeatedly frustrated with the rampant pagan idolatry that he witnessed in the advertising and publishing industries. It wasn’t until the age of 37 when he was diagnosed with bone cancer and in bed for eight months that God shook him to the core. Just before enduring a third round of a short and intense series of radiation therapy, he slipped into a coma and suffered with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. Today Dana is healthy but still needs the assistance of a cane. A blood clot threatened his recent trip to Guatemala but by the grace of God, he was medically cleared to travel the day before his team took flight.
The diagnosis of bone cancer turned his world upside down but he says that it is “the best thing that ever happened” because of what God has done through it and in him. His heart was turned towards working in God’s kingdom and meeting the needs of His people abroad. It was during this time as well that he was introduced to Knox as a place to further his ministry training and equip him for the mission field. His mentor, Bob Befeld, adopted one of the last children from Guatemala before a two-year moratorium on international adoptions was put into effect. Bob helps to raise missionary support in the United States and introduced him to Pastor Chuck Chambers of New Hope Guatemala where Dana went on his last mission trip. They run a host of ministries including a Christian school, community clinic, library, orphanage, drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, daycare center, as well as a dynamic radio and television ministry. Broadcast at an altitude of 6,500 feet in Guatemala, New Hope reaches over 100,000 people with their radio program. He said that it reminds him of the great radio and television ministry that Dr. D. James Kennedy had for so many years and believes that it can have the same impact on the people there.
Dana attends Lighthouse Community Church in Hollywood, FL. His church was instrumental in helping to get the shoes and Bibles needed for his last mission trip. Over 300 pairs of new and slightly-used shoes were donated as well as over 1,000 pounds of medical equipment like nebulizers and gear that was needed at the clinic. Dana was just overjoyed by the outpouring of support from his church and by the equipment and supplies they were able to take on this last missionary journey. He lights up when talking about the pure joy that the children in Guatemala have and how they have such a hunger for God’s word. They have nothing materially but radiate the light of God’s love and are what Dana believes is a true portrait of reliance on Him.
With faculty support, Dana desires to see Knox develop a specialty course centered on preaching in Spanish. He thanks Dr. Warren Gage and Dr. Steve Carpenter for the insights in helping him to learn how to share the love of Christ with people and is thankful to former Dean Rev. Jonathan G. Smith for spiritual formation over the course of his first semester at Knox.
Update 1/10/14: Dana and his wife Damaris are now living and ministering full time at “The Basurero” dump site in Guatemala City. They have planted a church and continue to share the love of Christ by preaching, teaching, and working to meet the basic needs of those living in abysmal poverty.
Dana’s Life Verse that he says is the key to everything:
“We love because He first loved us!” –1 JOHN 4:19
Dios te bendiga a todos! God Bless You!