Joshua Daniel

Experiencing unconditional love

Sophomore Joshua Daniel has more than memories from his Jan Term trip to the Philippines – he also has a godson.

The religion and philosophy major from Franklin said he had some expectations of what he would gain during his time in the Philippines, but he got a whole lot more.

"I was expecting to do service," he says. "And I was expecting to work with kids and to have one-on-one relationships with them, but I wasn't expecting how powerful that would be."

Joshua Daniel During the group's visit to Gilead Center in Manila, a place that houses and educates orphans, Joshua was introduced to a 12-year-old, ironically also named Josh. 

He says he bonded with young Josh while they worked in the center's garden.

"We were in charge of planting the okra. We got to the end of the row and we had seeds left. But when I tried to give the leftover seeds back, I was told that we had to plant them all."

Originally they had been told to plant the seeds five inches apart, but Joshua had an idea of what to do with the remaining seeds.

"I told Josh that where I'm from, we just put the seeds down in a row (with no spaces between)," he says. "So he drew another line in the dirt and I came along behind him to put in the seeds. We then covered them up and watered them. It was during this time that I learned about Josh."

The youngster's parents were killed in Typhoon Haidan (Yolanda) last November. His grandfather was taking care of him, but one morning when Josh woke up, his grandfather was gone. Josh was alone.

"So the Gilead Center took him in," says Joshua. "They give these children an opportunity to go to school and to further their education. Josh was the only child I talked to who has a plan for his life – he wants to be an engineer. That really impressed me."

The center also gives the orphans a chance to be adopted.

"This is very special," says Joshua. "Because so many of these children were not born in hospitals, there are no government records of them at all. No birth certificates. But if a child is baptized, his baptism certificate becomes his legal document and makes him eligible for adoption."

The night after Joshua and Josh became friends, Joshua learned that one of the orphans was to be baptized the next day.

"It was Josh," he says. "Because he and I had bonded, I was asked if I wanted to be his godfather. The certificate required an adult's signature, so that's why I was asked."

He says he knew he couldn't say no.

"This was an opportunity to help this young man know that all the adults in his life are not going to go away, that there are people in his life who love him and care for him. Even if I'm not there with him physically, he is still in my thoughts and prayers, and we still communicate."

Not surprisingly, Joshua already knows where he will be going next Jan Term.

"We're going back to the Philippines," he says. "This time we will be able to spend more time with the children at Gilead. That place had the biggest impact on me, and I know I can have a positive impact on others there. I can't wait to get back."

Joshua says he has always known he would go into the ministry. He will be licensed to preach on the last Sunday in April, and he says he's looking forward to sharing some of the things he's learned during his travels.

"I came back with a new understanding that we talk, but we don't speak; we eat but we don't dine; we feel but we don't touch; and we care but we don't love.

"While we were in the Philippines, we experienced unconditional love from everyone – and it made us understand that we have a lot to learn about real love and service."

Joshua Daniel

Friends for the Journey

LaGrange College attracts the best and the brightest from all over the world. For example, our most recent incoming class consisted of men and women from 19 states and 10 countries, and included:

  • 76 members of Beta Club or the National Honor Society
  • 71 members of service organizations
  • 51 team captains in varsity sports
  • 25 leaders involved in student government, with 11 presidents
  • Three students involved in school publications, one as editor
  • Two Eagle Scouts
  • 20 musicians in band or orchestra
  • 18 singers in choir
  • 31 entertainers in performing arts
  • 85 students in religious activities.

But you don’t have to be a star in high school to succeed at LaGrange. Here, you’re given the opportunity to discover the best in yourself and find your destiny – all in a caring and supportive environment.