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Legally blind student pursues ministry despite disease
May 04, 2004
By Ericia Boggs
Brandon Daugherty has not allowed his eye disease to keep him from pursuing the ministry at Boyce College. Photo by David Merrifield
I’m scared of rejection. I don’t have the ability. What if I fail? The excuses in ministry are abundant.
“Excuse” is not in Brandon Daugherty’s vocabulary.
And of all people, the sophomore at Boyce College might have reason to remain on the sidelines. Daugherty, a biblical studies major at Southern Seminary’s undergraduate college, was born with an eye condition called Stargardht’s Disease. It is a disorder that progressively worsens between the ages of 13 and 20.
Although the disease left Daugherty legally blind, it did not take away his desire to pursue God’s call on his life.
“The eye disease gets frustrating, especially when I read, but God still gets the glory in it,” said Daugherty, a Panama City, Fla., native. “Just like the story of Christ healing the blind man in John 9, something that might seem bad and be a burden at times, God has used it in my life to be a true blessing.”
Of course, Daugherty’s day-to-day life is not without hardship. He is prohibited from driving and doing many other things that most do not even think about in order to live a “normal” life.
But Daugherty looks at the glass half full. He said that he is still able to do many things he loves such as play golf and several other sports.
Daugherty’s focus on ministry began to blossom as a sophomore in high school after his church in Florida hired a new youth pastor.
“He is a man [who] is passionate about the things of God, and he taught the Word,” Daugherty said. “Through his teaching my heart grew for wanting to know God and the Word.”
During his junior year, he attended a conference with his youth group, and his youth pastor noticed the potential in Daugherty. Even though Daugherty wanted to be a sports physician for the Atlanta Braves, he surrendered to God’s call on his life in his senior year of high school.
“I was at Six Flags [theme park] and I stopped and sat on a rock there and looked at all the people around me,” he recalled. “I knew that God had placed a call on my life.”
Before coming to Boyce, Daugherty attended two different community colleges, but during his second year out of high school, he became ill everyday. He was not able to attend classes. During that time of physical struggles, God began to convict him about attending a Bible college in order to be “equipped to teach the saints.”
At Boyce, Daugherty says that he is learning how to equip and serve others and has seen the necessity for being humble in service.
“My main focus and prayer is that we would draw near to the cross, for there is no room for pride there,” Daugherty said. “We must also serve one another with love and kindness as Philippians 2 exhorts us.”
After he graduates from Boyce, Daugherty hopes to pursue a master of divinity degree from Southern Seminary and eventually to plant a church and pastor it.
“Maybe in Hawaii,” he said. “In all seriousness, I do feel strongly for that state because of the lax attitude the residents have toward the things of God. It would be a blessing to establish something where people want to hunger for God.”
Ultimately, Daugherty is open to what God has for him and is leaving his future up to God.
“The call God has on me is this: Come to Me. Live for My glory. Call people to My name,” Daugherty said.