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HOPE | Captain Dakarai Darby

Words of Life / Salvation Army
The Truth Network Radio
March 5, 2023 12:21 am

HOPE | Captain Dakarai Darby

Words of Life / Salvation Army

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March 5, 2023 12:21 am

Dakarai shares about how The Salvation Army’s camp experiences changed his life forever. It was at a camp that he turned his family’s faith into his own.

Series: HOPE


Hi, this is Bernie Dake. You're listening to The Salvation Army's Words of Life.

Welcome back to Words of Life. I'm Cheryl Gillum. And I'm Bernie Dake.

Hey Bernie, we're nearing the end of our series, Hope. And throughout this series, Ashley Escobar has interviewed seven people to hear their testimony and through their journey, how they define the word hope in their lives. Yeah. This week is going to be a special one because it's Captain Dakari Hashim Elijah Wan Darby. His mother, this is a true story, his mother was a very big basketball fan and she kind of did a play on the name Hakeem Elijah Wan. That's too cool.

That's for all of you basketball fans out there. Now, if you haven't had a chance to hear any of the other episodes, this is your chance. Go back and listen to these stories and be encouraged by other people's testimonies. Use it as strength for your journey.

Simply visit to get caught up. Well, thank you for taking time out of your day to share your story. It's important and there's somebody out there who is really going to be impacted by what you have to say. Before we get into that, tell us who you are. I am Captain Dakari Darby, born in California from Chattanooga, Tennessee.

I have a wife, two kids, 11 year old and seven year old. And I'm currently the DYS of Georgia. For people who may not know what DYS is. It's the Divisional Youth Secretary for the Salvation Army. Were you impacted by camp? Did you do camp growing up? I love camp. I grew up going to camp. I've been going to camp since I was six years old and it's the best, most peaceful place in the world. Getting to spend time in God's creation, getting the hustle and bustle of life kind of calms down a little bit when you get to camp. And you just literally get to be in the space where you get to really receive God's word.

So I love camp. So based off your experience just in life, how would you define the word hope? To me, hope is being able to see God's love day in and day out in every aspect of life. That provides, for me, hope. Because so many things happened in my life where you don't always see that. You don't always feel that the unconditional love that Christ gives us.

Being able to have that love of Christ day in and day out provides hope, at least for me. Tell us a little bit about that. When I was two, I lost my mother to breast cancer. No father involved in my life. So we were adopted. Me and my sisters were adopted. We bounced around from the age of two to five and then eventually got adopted by our grandmother and we moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee. I was born in California.

So you can see between two and five, I made it from California to Chattanooga, Tennessee. We lived in low income housing and we experienced everything low income housing provides in a normal society in the United States. You get gangs, violence and drugs and all of the above. I experienced all of that growing up. Camp and all those things were one of the saving graces for me because I would find every excuse to be a camp. Camp is one of those experiences that you have, what we call mountaintop experiences.

You're just at peace and you get to really relax and be who God created you to be. But then you have to go home. You have to go back to that environment. So I tell people my testimony used to be a box. I used to create a box and that was my testimony because whatever environment I was in, I was able to flip the box.

So you only saw the side of the box that you needed to see. But when I got home, I had a life that I had to live. I had an environment I had to survive in. So I would flip that box on and then I went to school.

My grandmother was graciously enough to put me in a school outside of the city. So it took me an hour to get to school every morning. But when I got to school, it was a different environment. So I had to flip the box again to fit into that environment. And so it's just my testimony became a box.

I just kept flipping it and flipping it and flipping it until God said, what are we doing with this box? Do you remember the first time you went to camp, the difference between city life to not being in the middle of nowhere? I remember one of my favorite stories to tell is I was getting ready for bed. We were getting ready to go to sleep.

And I think it was like midnight, one o'clock in the morning. I knock on our counselor's door and say, can you turn that noise down? And he was like, what are you talking about?

You're going crazy, kid. It's like, no, like you don't hear that. Like you don't hear the noise.

He's like, what noise? I was like, that right there. He said, the crickets? I was like, yeah, can you turn it off?

Like, that's not working for me right now. He's like, I can't turn off the crickets. That's nature. I was like, man.

So I, you know, find it hard to sleep in those environments. But just being at peace, man, it was such a different environment. It's so quiet. And everybody was there for one reason. And there was no animosity, really.

There was no things. And of course, I brought a lot of that baggage with me because of who I, you know, how I grew up and what I went through. So there's a lot of times where I didn't make it the whole entire week, even though I wanted to. I didn't make it because the environment would come with me and I would get in trouble and they'd send me home. Before we started this interview, you were sharing how you came to the army.

And that was through a basketball program that they had at the core. They said, you know, if you want to play, you have to sit through a Bible study. And you're like, yes, I can do that. I can sit still for five minutes.

Okay, no big deal. As long as I get to play basketball. So that was really cool that that was your introduction. But also, it served as another introduction to having a relationship with God. And that counselor easily could have been like, he's going home. He's out of my hair. But no, he, like, joined you on the court.

It was like, okay, lay it on me. I'm here. And it takes that kind of leadership and that kind of care and intentionality. And that's what saves lives. That's what brings hope. And you had mentioned this box, right, that you kept flipping over and over. What was that moment? Was it on the court with your counselor that it was like, okay, I need to open this box up and let all the sides show? Because you had to go back home, right?

And it's not like your problems went away. So tell me about that moment. So oddly enough, on that court, I just knew I had a box at that time. I didn't realize I had a box until that moment. And then after that, I kept flipping the boxes.

I got older as a teenager. It was oddly enough, I was told to give my testimony. And I said, well, how do I express like who I am and like what I'm currently going through at the moment?

And the box idea came, I was like, oh, that's when I, okay, so yeah, I could use a box to explain, because I was trying to figure out how can I explain to the world that I have to be different for everybody. It's just, it was one of those experiences where it took some time to realize, okay, I have these different sides. But God's like, you are my child.

That's the only side you need to show. I knew Jesus after that encounter. I just think that it's really awesome that you, the ministry that you are doing right now is what you experienced. That's, you don't understand how rewarding it is to be able to have received all of this growing up and understanding that like this is, this is, this is what God really has for me. I know I'm going through this at home and I know I'm going through this environment, but this is what God has for me. And I'm now being able to return that experience and that, I won't say that favor, but that experience that I'm having, I had as a kid, I'm being able to return that to somebody and being able to take the blessing that I receive and give it back to somebody else.

It's the most rewarding thing I could have, I could never experience. What would you say to someone who is maybe a young person who is in that space where they're like, I can't get out of this. This is how I grew up. I'm stuck in this place.

I've always run into kids, younger people who have that, man, look, this is life. This is the way it's going to be. And I said, well, tomorrow, are you going to, do you expect to wake up? And like, yeah, I expect to wake up. Well, that's hope. You have hope in the fact that you're going to wake up tomorrow. You expect to eat tomorrow?

Yeah, I expect to eat. Well, that's hope. You have hope in the fact that you're going to expect to eat. So you have hope. Now we just have to get you to the level of hope that is in Christ Jesus. I just, I feel like if we can, if we can continue to wake up the next day, there's always hope. If you can continue to strive and say, all right, I know it's not, this is not great. This is where I'm at. It's not great, but I want to, I'm going to do stuff today to make tomorrow better.

And what does that look like? That looks like, all right, today I'm going to, I'm going to actually get out of the bed. Well, you've made a step today.

You've gotten out of bed. Tomorrow is we're going to get out of bed and take a shower. I know it sounds like minimal, but we're going to keep making it. Today I'm going to do something today better than yesterday that's going to make me better for tomorrow. And then just keep building on that. And then as we get farther along and we've built on top of that, you look back and go, man, I've come a long way. I've come a long way with the help of Christ. I've done a lot.

I've done a lot. And I used to, I used to get down on my own self about that. Like, man, I'm still here. Like I'm still stuck, especially as a teenager. I was like, man, I'm still in this situation. You'll never know where you're going until you know where you came from. So I began to look back, like, where do I come from? Man, I've come a long way. I've gotten through a lot of things that have, a lot of people haven't made it through. And I just, I continue to look at that.

Okay. There's hope that tomorrow is going to be better than yesterday because I can see it from the past. So I tell anybody, any young person, like, look, just look back. You were 10 minutes ago.

You didn't even know me or whatever. Now you know somebody who's been through what you've been through. Now let's walk through this together.

So it's gotten better from even 10 minutes ago. Now we can move forward. It's those like tiny steps that we often discount. But when we look back, it was those tiny steps that were required to like get to where we are now.

And I think that's so important. What is God doing in your life today? Right now, God is allowing me, I think as we said earlier, is allowing me to be able to return the favor, return the blessing that He's placed in my life to others. And I feel blessed to be able to get to do that. I feel blessed to be able to have the opportunity to bring 250, 300 kids to a summer camp. And they get to experience God's creation and get to experience the love of Christ from everybody around them and their friends and have a great and awesome time for it. At least even if it's just for a week, you got to experience that.

Because those weeks turn in the years and those years turn into DYSs. So I just, I am grateful. God is working in my heart to just allowing me to understand the blessing that I have received to be able to do what I'm doing.

That's incredible. Your past is not a waste. It's not every experience that you've gone through. All of the challenges and the hardships can be used for His glory and it is actively happening.

Not on your own accord and not on your own strength, but like God is using you to return hope to somebody else. So that is incredible. Thank you for sharing your story with us. It is so necessary. And the work that you're doing with youth in the Georgia division is incredible. It's not easy.

You know, returning, being able to do this kind of work is very rewarding, but it is, it can be difficult. And so I think that's something important for us to remember. But when God calls us to something, He gives us the strength necessary to, and the skills necessary to endure and to finish strong. So thank you for sharing your story with us.

You're welcome. It's always a blessing to be able to share what God has done. The Salvation Army's mission, Doing the Most Good, means helping people with material and spiritual needs. You become a part of this mission every time you give to the Salvation Army. Visit to offer your support. And we'd love to hear from you. Call 1-800-229-9965 or visit to connect.

Tell us how we can help. Share prayer requests or your testimony. With your permission, we would love to use your story on the show. You can also subscribe to Words of Life on your favorite podcast store or visit to learn about more programs produced by the Salvation Army. And if you don't have a church home, we invite you to visit your local Salvation Army worship center. They'll be glad to see you. Join us next time for the Salvation Army's Words of Life.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-05 02:18:58 / 2023-03-05 02:25:14 / 6

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